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Commercial Rajar round up: Bauer, GMG, UTV, Global, TalkSport, Jazz FM,


By The Drum Team, Editorial

August 4, 2011 | 9 min read

The latest Rajar results for the second quarter of 2011 have found a total increase in radio listening hours of 1,076 million a week, while listening through online and mobile phones has also increased. Here is a roundup of reaction from the media companies and radio stations to their own results.

Bauer Media, which owns Magic 105.4 (London) and Kiss FM (National) among others, announced a reach to 13.8m listeners in the UK, an year-on-year increase of 800,000 listeners across its network. The Bauer Place Portfolio of local stations saw an increase in reach by 4.5% from 8.7m to 9.1m with local stations such as Radio City 96.7 in Liverpool growing its reach by 12.7%, Metro Radio increasing its reach by 1.6% and Clyde 1 in Glasgow growing by 8.5%.

Kiss FM, which headlines the Bauer Passion Portfolio also increased in reach from 6.4m to 6.6m listeners, a rise of 3.4%.

The company highlights its ‘strong focus on social media’ as one of the reasons for increasing its listener engagement, with 1.8m people visiting its radio websites, while its total app downloads have now reached 1.5m, with over 1.2m following its stations through Facebook.

Steve Parkinson, managing director of Bauer Radio London, said: “Our London team is rightly celebrating today’s figures – with both Magic and Kiss enjoying their highest audiences ever. Quite an achievement. Magic is playing the BBC at their own game by using other Bauer platforms such as magazines and TV to promote our service, and Kiss continues to connect with millions of young consumers across radio, and via a huge increase in app downloads and online listening.”

Dee Ford, group managing director radio, Bauer Media said: “I am very pleased to see that the strategy behind Bauer Place Portfolio and Bauer Passion Portfolio is continuing to pay dividends, as we return another strong set of results. I am particularly pleased to see Magic 105.4 return to number one spot in London, with the largest reach of all music stations, including the BBC. Commercial radio as a whole is performing very well and listening hours are up across the board. The rise in digital radio listening hours and reach is also a great story as The Hits and Smash Hits have a positive quarter under the Bauer Passion Portfolio. The Bauer Place Portfolio continues to focus on local programming and we are thrilled to see our hours continue to grow, reflecting our ambition to be ‘big in all the right places’. The results make Bauer commercial market leader for reach and share in each of our 21 markets.”

Meanwhile, GMG Radio reported a record reach of 5.5m adult listeners across the group’s radio stations, which include Smooth Radio and Real Radio, a rise of almost 600,000 on last year.

Smooth Radio UK delivered its highest reach of 3.2m adults each week, an increase of 400,000 on 2010, with increased listening recorded by the North West, and the East and West Midland’s stations.

Sister station Real Radio also delivered record numbers, exceeding over 2.5m nationwide for the first time. This included the recently extended coverage of Real Radio Wales to include bother north and mid Wales, which found its latest reach to be 472,000 adult listeners.

In the North East of England, Real Radio also so an increase of 60,000 adult listeners a week, reaching 369,000 in total, while Real Radio Yorkshire also benefited with an increase of 62,000 adult weekly listeners within a year.

Stuart Taylor, chief executive of GMG Radio said: “Simply, these are the best ever figures for GMG Radio. I’m particularly delighted with the increases for Smooth Radio UK which less than a year ago went through a huge transformation becoming a UK service. The station has a fantastic line-up of well know presenters and soulful music, which is really proving to be a success with the target audience. The brand retains its position as the third biggest national commercial station in the UK and will continue to provide its listeners and commercial partners with a great platform to engage with. At a regional level the strength of Real Radio is cause for further celebration, confirming the popularity of our two key brands.”

UTV Media was also celebrating, claiming that all 12 local music radio station, which include Liverpool’s Juice 107.6, The Wave, Swansea Sound and 107.2 Wire FM had posted annual and monthly increased.

In total the company’s stations grew their audience by 14% to reach 1.3m listeners.

Calum Macaulay, director of local radio at UTV, said: “I'm delighted with progress year on year which reflects the hard work from all stations. This is proof positive that our commitment to localness in our output and our investment back into local sport appeals to our audience.”

Juice 107.6 FM posted an overall increase in listener reach of 28% and an increase in weekly hours by 118% on last year.

Graham Sarath, director for 107.6 Juice FM, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with these numbers – to post increases in both reach and hours for seven consecutive quarters is a fantastic achievement. We remain proud of our commitment to be the local station for Liverpool, and this has clearly paid off for both the audience and advertisers.”

TalkSPORT grew its weekly reach by 3.2m listeners (28%) compared with last year, a growth of 32% in London alone. Nationally, the reach is 600,000 listeners higher than its previous recorded high, when the station broadcast official World Cup commentary in 1998.

The new programme with Richard Keys and Andy Grey had also lifted the mid-morning slot on the station by 17%.

Scott Taunton, chief executive of talkSPORT, said: “These results are very impressive and show that our investment in talent and programming continues to pay dividends. The Barclays Premier League packages we secured early last year have helped to build our success, and these numbers show that we are able to maintain a strong male audience throughout the year as the appetite for quality speech radio continues to grow. We look forward to next month as our exclusive coverage of the IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 kicks off.”

Moz Dee, talkSPORT’s programme director, added: “I’m very pleased with these results as they show strong growth despite the football season ending five weeks before the quarter, and I’m proud of everyone in the programming team as they have worked hard to ensure that we deliver credible and reliable sports news journalism.”

Global Radio, which owns XFM, Capital and Heart networks, recorded over 20 million listeners in the UK for the first time. Captial gained 163,000 listeners on the previous quarter, up from 6.7m, while Capital London gained 156,000 listeners to reach a weekly total of 2.1m in comparison with 2010.

The Heart Network now attract 7.7m listeners a week, a rise of 250,000 on the previous quarter, while XFM also gained 80,000 listeners since Q1, with over 1m tuning in each week.

Gold also increase its reach with 1.5m tuning in on a weekly basis, while Classic FM found another 51,000, rising from 5,68m from the same period last year.

Richard Park, director of broadcasting at Global Radio, said: “The Heart and Capital Networks have secured excellent results this quarter showing further consolidation of the networks – it’s been another great quarter for us!”

In the last year, Capital FM in Scotland also found an increase in listenership of 38,000 in the last 12 months, with 467,000 people tuning into the station.

Stuart Barrie, programme controller for Capital GM Scotland, said: “We’re extremely pleased with our RAJAR results and the continued support from everyone who tunes into Capital Scotland. The whole team is passionate about Capital and giving our listeners their own number one hit music station - it’s great that our figures demonstrate this. We look forward to seeing continued growth in our audience, building on the latest figures we’ve achieved.”

Jazz FM’s listening figures also rose by 100,000 over the last quarter, reaching 600,000 listeners.

Richard Wheatly, CEO of Jazz FM, commented: “we could not be more delighted with the recent RAJAR figures. The Jazz FM teams have been working incredibly hard this year on launching the station nationally and continuing to introduce high quality programming. In the last three months we launched the Peppermint Candy swing show with Broken Hearts DJs and the Ronnie Scott’s show with Jumoke Fashola, both of which have introduced Jazz FM to new audiences and the figures reflect that perfectly.”

In reaction to the growth of digital listenership, which now accounts for 26.9% of all listening hours, a rise of 14.3% on last year, Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital Radio UK, said: “Digital radio is showing solid and sustained progress overall, with a strong performance from DAB and digital radios now in 40% of homes. People love the new digital content, as evidenced by the response to BBC Radio 4 Extra and Jazz FM, and the healthy growth in digital-only stations such as Absolute 80s and Planet Rock.”

Of all radio listeners it was found that 46% now listen through a digital platform on a weekly basis, an increase of 2.1m (10.7%) on last year, while ownership of DAB digital radios in the home has increased by 2m adults (38.9%) since last year.

Digital television listening has also increased to 4.8% of all listening while internet listening now stands at 3.2%, rising from 2.9% in Q2 2010, although this is a fall from 3.6% in Q1 2011.

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