The latest RAJAR figures are just out, reflecting the first 3 months of this year, and there are some surprising outcomes to say the least. As a quick reminder, RAJAR stands for Radio Joint Audience Research – the official body in charge of measuring radio audiences in the UK,which is jointly owned by the BBC and the Radiocentre on behalf of the commercial sector.
So, let’s get into these results… The main headline is that 50% of listening is now digital. In a way, that was inevitable wasn’t it? But, we’ll come back to that in a moment. Overall, for the very first time, Heart overtook BBC Radio 1 for weekly reach, up to 9.5m across Heart, Heart 80s and Heart extra. It’s a record breaker – the very first commercial radio brand to have more adult listeners than Radio 1. This means Radio 1 saw it’s reach drop from 9.8m to 9.4m this quarter. Looking specifically at Nick Grimshaw’s Breakfast Show, it dropped from 5.72m listeners last quarter to 5.10m.
In fact, there were slight drops in weekly listening figures across the board for BBC National Radio:
BBC Radio 2 – 15.41m vs. 15.49m last quarter
BBC Radio 3 – 1.93m vs. 1.95m last quarter
BBC Radio 4 – 10.91m vs. 11.25m last quarter
BBC Radio 5 – 5.14m vs. 5.45m last quarter
In other results, it was a great first quarter for the Wireless Group’s national stations – talkRADIO saw its audience increase by 30% to 316,000, with talkSPORT back to over 3m weekly listeners across the UK. Global station LBC saw the highest number in its 45 years, with a record 2.2 million weekly listeners. In fact, if we look at London specifically, Global stations are completely dominating radio, with Capital and Heart, along with LBC, taking the top 3 spots for commercial stations in terms of hours and share.
Overall, digital listening is more popular than ever, with a new record share of 50.9%. As well as being an interesting result and a win for digital platforms, this also now means the Government is likely to review the digital radio progress and discuss the future of DAB.
For the digital specific station results, BBC 6 Music, Kisstory, and Heart 80s all broke records for their audiences this quarter. BBC Radio 5 live, Absolute Radio and talkSPORT now all apparently see the majority of their listening via digital platforms too.
Enjoying the blog? Read how 2017 closed here.
Ford Ennals, who’s CEO of Digital Radio UK, was quoted in RadioToday saying: “This is a landmark moment for the radio industry and for listeners alike. Digital platforms now account for the majority of all radio listening for the first time. The digital transition is good news for radio and is helping our industry compete more effectively in a digital age. We look forward to continuing to work with broadcasters, the supply chain and Government on delivering radio’s digital future and the upcoming digital radio review.”
So, what does this all mean for broadcast PR? Well, to be honest it means there are still great opportunities to be seized within you broadcast campaign. While listeners are switching to digital, they’re still listening in their millions! Nine out of ten of British adults said they tune in to the radio at least once a week, and the average number of hours listened to radio each week is 1.026 billion – wow! Broken down per listener, the average person tunes in for roughly 20.8 hours of live radio per week. This surely proves radio is still a significant force to be reckoned with.
If you want to turn those great audience reach opportunities into success for you or your client, we can give advice on any upcoming broadcast campaigns. Whether you’ve got all your ideas ready to go, or have no idea where to start, you can give us a call for expert consultancy to help your campaign reach millions through the power of radio! drop me an email, email@example.com or call on 02072408852.