Blog Post

More People Listening To Radio Than Ever Before

More people are listening to the radio than ever before.   In fact we listened for over one billion hours in the first three months of 2024.

That’s according to RAJAR, the organisation that measures radio audiences in the UK.   It’s latest quarterly figures  (for Q1 2024)shows that 49.9 million people tune into radio each week – that’s 88.6% of the adult population in the UK.  Therefore incorporating radio into any PR campaign has never been more important!

The way audiences listen to the radio has changed too.  Online listening, via browsers, apps or smart speakers has now overtaken FM and AM platforms for the first time.    77% of the population tune in to digital radio every week.   And on average we’re listening to radio for 20.5 hours a week.

Key takeaways from RAJAR Q1 2024

First of all, brands owned by Global, News UK and Nation Broadcasting are celebrating some of their highest ever listening figures.  Global for instance, remains the UK’s leading commercial radio company after they reported a record 27.6 million weekly listeners.  They also own the top three commercial breakfast shows in London through Heart, LBC and Capital – that’s no mean feat!

Heart has an impressive new record of 12.4 million weekly listeners making it the largest commercial radio brand in the country, while Capital now goes over 8 million listeners. LBC, which is a firm favourite for harder Broadcast PR stories has also grown in listenership, adding 270,000 listeners, and now reaching 3.3 million people per week.

The talkSPORT network are also winners in the ratings battle and delivered their largest ever audience of 3.7m listeners, an increase of 4.2% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the team at Nation Radio Wales celebrate a record of 202,000 listeners, and News UK, who operate Talk and Times Radio, report a record 6.6 million listeners.




Commercial Vs BBC Radio

There is always much competition between commercial radio and the BBC when it comes to audience figures. This time around, commercial radio has set a new record with its highest ever audience reach of 39.7 million.   The BBC in comparison commands 31.3 million.

The figures might be a reflection of big changes that have been happening at the BBC over the last couple of years, including big names like Radio 2’s Ken Bruce, leaving the corporation.   BBC regional radio has also had a massive shakeup; with less local and more regional and national shows being implemented, it’s been a mixed bag.

23 of the 43 BBC local radio stations have lost audience, while 18 have increased.  The biggest changes seem to be at BBC Radio Bristol, which has lost 40% of their audience, BBC Radio Suffolk which has lost 22% and BBC Radio Wiltshire which is down 22%.  It’s not bad news everywhere though, BBC Radio Humberside saw their audience increase by up to 31%.

Chris Burns, Controller, Local Audio Commissioning, who recently spoke at one of our Small Talks commented “The latest RAJAR survey – covering the six month period from Oct 2023 to March 2024 – has been published today.  It shows that Local Radio listening in England is now at 4.8 million, down 90k on the quarter, and our reach is at 10.4% compared to 10.6% last quarter.  Clearly any audience losses are disappointing, but with an unprecedented number of programme changes in this period, perhaps it shouldn’t be wholly surprising to see some volatility”.

What does this mean for broadcast PR opportunities?

Put simply, it’s never been a better time to consider broadcast PR as part of your campaign strategy.  Sure, audiences are now consuming radio in different ways, but with change comes opportunity, highlighted in the fact that there are more people listening than ever before.  We’ve said it before, but no other medium connects and puts your stories in front of mass audiences as intimately as radio does.

However, to land broadcast PR coverage, you need the right stories with the right angles at the right time. Whilst listenership is going from strength to strength, the same can be said for competition. Producers, presenters, and journalists have further upped their game. This is a new era of radio and to make the cut you really must know what you are doing.

Why choose Shout! Communications for your Broadcast PR Campaign?

We’re a team of broadcast PR professionals with decades of experience creating and leading broadcast content for national radio and TV. As well as being broadcast PR experts, we think like the broadcast producers we used to be. We know what broadcasters want, and more importantly, what they don’t want. To learn more about how we can help you with radio and TV media relations, contact us today.

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