Here is a round up of some of the reaction to the Rajar figures for the final quarter of 2010 which saw a significant rise in digital radio listening.
Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital Radio UK, said: “The achievements of 25% of listening to digital platforms, and nearly 45% of listeners listening to digital each week, represent key milestones as digital radio moves into the mainstream of UK radio listening. Following a strong start to 2011we look forward to seeing the Q1 listening figures in May, when we will see the benefit of listening to the 750,000 digital radios which were sold in the last quarter of 2010.”
Talk Sport claimed a year-on-year increase of 24 per cent – growth of 3.1 million listeners – and a quarter-on-quarter increase of 4 per cent.
Scott Taunton, chief executive for talkSPORT, said: “These figures show that our investment in content and talent continues to pay dividends. Our team of presenters and programmers are unrivaled in their ability to deliver opinionated speech radio to men across the UK. The Barclay’s Premier League packages that we secured earlier last year have also helped cement our success, and we look forward to our exclusive coverage Rugby World Cup in 2011.”
Moz Dee, talkSPORT’s programme director, added: “I’m very proud of our programming team, who have not just maintained the astonishing figures we saw last quarter, but actually improved on them by continuing to build credibility in sports journalism. With live rights, talkSPORT is becoming a default listen for sports fans.”
Commenting on its rise by 17 per cent in listening figures, Calum Macaulay, director of Local Radio for UTV Media, said: “These figures are really encouraging and are a result of the dedication and hard work of our programming and presentation team. As other groups are pushing towards more networking, we are proud to be local and are constantly investing to improve our local content and local engagement. We have brought back live Premier League football commentary onto our stations in Wigan and Bolton and are ramping up our local rugby league coverage with live commentary for the Wigan Warriors, The Saints and Warrington Wolves.”
With Smooth Radio now reaching almost 24 million listeners a week, and steady digital listening figures, GMG Radio chief executive Stuart Taylor said: “The Smooth Radio figures are highly encouraging with increases in reach, hours and market share. So we’re looking forward to receiving our first pure set of Smooth Radio UK results, incorporating the new Simon Bates breakfast show for Q1 in May.”
Graham Bryce, managing director of Scotland Radio, Bauer Media, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to announce another strong set of results and an increase of more than 50,000 listeners across the Bauer Radio Scotland portfolio.
“Our teams continue to ensure they are the most relevant stations in their market place and this decision to localise content continues to be a winning formula.
“I’m especially proud of the prominence that Clyde 1 continues to demonstrate in Glasgow and the West. A clear indication that the recent changes to the line up and attention to detail across each show has really paid off.
“In a tough and ever changing marketplace we remain confident that our strategy remains the most pertinent to radio listeners looking for great music, entertainment and engaging relevant local content.”
Meanwhile, Sean Duffy, head of technology, media and telecoms for Barclays Corporate said that despite the positive reaction by the industry, ‘a mood of caution’ remained within the radio industry due to budget cuts beginning to impact on the BBC and ‘little sign’ of major investment among commercial stations appearing.
“What is accelerating is the number of networks looking to further leverage their brand in order to diversify their income streams, with stations including London’s Capital FM staging major events such as the Jingle Bell Ball,” continued Duffy.
“Conversely the BBC looks to be shifting away from subsidiary events, such as the Electric Proms. With the BBC also reviewing a range of services including 5 Live, the commercial market will be watching closely for gaps in the provision of certain services they may be able to fill.”