It’s RAJAR day! The RAJAR Q2 2019 results are out and there are some major changes across national and regional radio in the UK. We’re taking a look at those changes to see who’s come out on top this quarter…
The breakfast battle
Straight to the national radio breakfast shows, where Zoe Ball has lost a staggering 781,000 weekly listeners on Radio 2. It’s just over six months since she took over from Chris Evans, after he left the BBC to go to Virgin Radio. While Zoe’s breakfast show on Radio 2 is still the most popular in the UK, this quarter’s figures show radio enthusiasts are changing their listening preferences – leaving the BBC for the likes of Chris Evans on Virgin Radio and Nick Ferrari on LBC who has just posted a record 1.4 million listeners. Evans’ breakfast show now attracts 1,111,000 listeners each week. Virgin Radio’s investment is paying off, with the station’s total weekly reach now sitting at 1.545 million.
The dip in BBC Radio 2’s breakfast audience doesn’t only affect Zoe Ball, but the whole station. They’ve lost 763,000 this quarter, with Ken Bruce’s mid-morning show now the most popular on the station at a weekly average of just under 8.5 million listeners. Looking at the BBC’s other national stations, and ratings remain pretty much the same for Radio 4, but the station which has seen the most growth is Radio 1. Yep, Greg James is still thriving! He’s posted his highest figures since taking over from Grimmy on the breakfast show, attracting 5.69 million listeners every Monday – Thursday.
Rise of classical
It’s great news for classical music this quarter – new station Scala Radio, which Simon Mayo joined earlier this year from the BBC, reached a quarter of a million listeners (250,000). Classic FM’s popularity also seems to have increased, up 300,000 since last quarter to 5.6 million weekly listeners. In more niche music station news, Bauer’s new Country Hits Radio recorded 208,000 listeners after its first three months.
Regional holds firm…overall
BBC Local Radio has dropped slightly from 5.8m to 5.5m. Some of the most notable changes include BBC Radio Merseyside, which is down 45,000, BBC Radio Sheffield down 43,000, BBC Radio Leeds down 26,000 and BBC Radio Nottingham which is down 25,000 listeners. It begs the question, where have these listeners gone? Particularly seeing as many of the commercial local stations have lost listeners too. After this quarter’s major increases seen for national radio, are people turning to national rather than local radio?
Change for the better or worse?
Bauer Media and Global’s national stations are also reaping the benefits after some major changes and takeovers earlier this year. If we take a look at Bauer specifically, the group’s combined weekly reach is 18.1 million. Its Greatest Hits Radio offering has increased its listenership by more than 150,000, now up to 715,000 pairs of ears each week. The Greatest Hits Networks totals 1.1 million listeners. But it’s not all good… some of Bauer’s local stations such as Hits Radio Manchester (formerly known as Key 103) and Greatest Hits Radio in Liverpool (previously Radio City 2) have lost a significant number of listeners. In fact, some individual stations have seen up to a 50% drop in their weekly reach.
Global now reaches almost 26 million listeners each week across its radio brands. Heart has held onto the top spot as the UK’s biggest commercial radio brand, attracting 9.7 million listeners every week. Capital breakfast with Roman Kemp, Vick Hope & Sonny Jay now reaches 3.7 million people –an increase on Q1, but a drop of over 164,000 compared to a year ago when they were presented regionally.
A challenge to the two main commercial brands?
But lookout Global and Bauer… your other commercial competitor Wireless Group has just posted its best ever results! TalkRADIO has increased its listenership to 386,000 (up 31% year on year) and talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 has seen its figures rise with a combined weekly audience of 3.55 million. Watch this space… let’s see what surprises Q3 has in store! All we can say for now is radio most certainly is NOT dead with 89% of the population still tuning into radio each week. With so many still tuning into radio why not reach them with a radio day? For more information call us on 0207 240 7373