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Rajar reaction roundup: Bauer Media, GMG Radio, UTV, Global Radio

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By Stephen Lepitak, -

October 27, 2011 | 6 min read

A round up to the reaction of some of the UK’s biggest commercial radio stations to the latest Rajar figures for Q3 2011.

Bauer increased its reach to 13.6m listeners across the UK, a growth of 2.3% on last year, with both Bauer Place and Passion portfolios increasing their reach to 9m and 6.2m listeners respectively.

Bauer Place includes Key 103 Manchester (reach up by 5.9% year-on-year), Clyde 1 in Glasgow (reach up by 7.9% yoy), Forth One in Edinburgh (reach up by 15.2%), Hallam FM in Sheffield (reach up 4.3%) and flagship station Magic 105.4 (reaching 2m each week), while the Passion brands include Kiss FM (reach up by 2.5% yoy) and Heat (reach up by 9.2%).

The company also highlighted its investment in social media engagement, claiming that around 2m fans are visiting its radio websites each month.

Dee Ford, group managing director radio, Bauer Media said: “Bauer believes strongly in the power of personal relationships with our listeners, whether that be through a station totally in tune with their local place, or with their passions and lifestyle. A year ago we made a pledge to invest and further grow engagement with listeners as our insight clearly showed the benefits this would give commercial partners. I am delighted that this is clearly working and serves as testament to the great work by our radio teams across the country.”

Graham Bryce, managing director of Bauer Radio Scotland, added: “In a highly crowded and fiercely competitive media marketplace, the Bauer Radio Scotland Portfolio continues to deliver growth by consistently increasing listening hours across the country.

“Our strategy of ensuring the most potent mix of compelling and engaging content, more hit music, showbiz and entertainment, that is locally focused and driven by the best personalities is proving once more, to connect with audiences better than our competitors as we continue to extend our lead in every marketplace across Scotland.

“We put our listeners at the centre of everything we do. By tailoring content for our individual marketplaces we ensure a deeper, more relevant connection with our local audiences.

“In the central belt, where audience choice is at its greatest, both FM stations have more listeners, listening longer. Our flagship station Clyde 1 has increased listening hours by a fantastic 15.5% and has added 41,000 weekly listeners since this time last year. Sister station Forth 1 has clocked up an additional 45,000 listeners since this time last year. This means Radio Clyde & Radio Forth together reach well over 1m people each week, and their combined audiences spend over 11.1 million hours each week tuned in.

“We will continue to invest in our brands, drive innovation in our multi-media environment and provide an unrivalled proposition for our commercial partners and advertisers.”

Meanwhile GMG Radio claimed a record reach for Smooth Radio, with over 3.3m adults listening to the station each week (up by 9% on 2010.) Real Radio also enjoyed a record reach of 2.6m adults, with recently launched Real Radio Wales nearing the half-a-million listener mark at 495,000.

The number of listeners turning in through digital platforms with almost 1m adults (951,000) listening to Smooth and 549,000 listening to Real digitally each week.

Stuart Taylor, chief executive of GMG Radio, said: “With the ever increasing pull on people’s time I’m really pleased that a record number are choosing to tune into both Smooth and Real. The GMG Radio stations are now attracting more listening time than ever before. Smooth’s transformation to a national station has proven a huge success and I have no doubt there is more growth to come.”

Regionally, GMG Radio North West claimed that Real Radio had received its highest reach since its rebrand two years ago, now attracting 587,000 adult listeners each week, while Smooth attracted 873,000 adult listeners.

Smooth Radio Midlands stations in both the East and West combined drew 774,000 adult listeners each week, while GMG Radio Scotland saw Smooth attract 255,000 adult listeners a week, and GMG Radio North East attract 418,000 adult listeners to Smooth Radio.

Real Radio Yorkshire had 371,000 listeners tuning in for a total of 3,56m hours a week.

Meanwhile UTV claims that collectively, its 13 local music radio stations, including 96.4 The Wave and Swansea Sound, posted an increase in audience of 14% yoy, with a reach of 1.3m listeners.

Calum Macaulay, director of Local Radio for UTV, said: “These are a great set of numbers with the growth reflecting the success of our Proud to Be Local positioning and our clear programme strategy to broadcast live local sport alongside great music. In the 2011/2012 season we will broadcast over 228 hours of live Premier League football from Swansea City, Stoke City, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic, and next year we will broadcast live commentary from over 90 Super League matches in rugby league's heartland on Wish FM and Wire FM.”

Global Radio said that its Capital Network had broken through the 7m listener mark as it saw an increase from the previous quarter by 157,000 listerners. This included a weekly audience for 95.8 Capital FM of 2.18m.

The Heart Network also attracted 7.65m listeners each week, while Gold had 1.55m tunring in on a weekly basis.

Ashley Tabor, founder and executive president of Global, said: “It’s a good day for Global – Capital at number 1 in London, our Capital Network breaking through the 7m listener barrier and the Heart Networks’ significant increase in hours. Today’s figures show our strategy of national brands delivered locally is working very well for listeners and customers alike.”

Richard Park, director of broadcasting at Global Radio, added: “It’s great to see cities and regions across the UK enjoying the output of the Heart and Capital networks, and to be number 1 and 2 in London is a fantastic achievement.”

Meanwhile, with the news that Capital FM Scotland increased it’s listening figures by around 33,000 in the last three months, Stuart Barrie, programme controller 105-106, said: “We’re extremely pleased with our RAJAR results and the overwhelming support from everyone who tunes into Capital FM. The whole team remains passionate about Scotland and ensuring our listeners have their own number one hit music station and 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.”

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