Over 48 million people listened to radio in the first quarter of 2014. That's according to new Rajar figures which show the BBC still ruling the roost in terms of listening figures and Global retaining top spot in the commercial radio market.
BBC Radio 2 is heralding Chris Evans' Breakfast Show as the reason the station has 15.57 million listeners every week, as the latest Rajar figures come out.The figures, for 30 December to 30 March, show that all BBC Radio has a weekly reach of 35.31 million, down from last quarter’s record 36.22 million.
Helen Boaden, director of BBC Radio, said: “I am delighted to see Radio 2 gaining both accolades and audiences. The station never fails to surprise and amaze with the diversity of its output, which includes an unrivalled breadth of music alongside news, current affairs, documentaries, religion, arts, comedy and readings.”Radio 1 attracted 10.53 million listeners aged 15+ during the period, compared to 10.26 million last year, while Radio 3 has a weekly audience of 2.09 million listeners.Among digital-only stations, Radio 1Xtra posted a reach of 1.10 million weekly listeners (from 1.00 million last year and 1.09 million last quarter), Radio 6 Music drew 1.93 million listeners (from 1.81 million last year and 1.96 million last quarter)However, BBC Local / Regional radio saw a fall to 9.26 million weekly visitors, from 9.32 million last quarter and 9.53 million last year.
Global Radio strengthened its position as the UK’s number one commercial radio company with 23.1 million people now tuning into one of Global’s brands which include Capital and Heart each week. According to the Rajar figures Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon remain top in London for breakfast radio with the Heart London brand seeing a surge in reach, total hours and share in the last quarter. The Heart Network was found to reach 9.1 million listeners each week with a share of 6.2 per cent, and on LBC Nick Ferrari leads share increasing from 5.3 per cent to 6.1 per cent in the last quarter. Founder and executive president at Global, Ashley Tabor, said: “This is already proving to be one of the biggest years in Global’s history, and it’s fantastic to see audience figures that reflect the great work the team put in across our brands.”Richard Park, group executive director and director of broadcasting for Global, added: “I’m particularly proud of our success in London – but also many of our regional stations have seen impressive growth. In the West Midlands for example, Global now occupies the top three commercial slots with Heart, Capital and Smooth.”
Bauer Radio’s results instead focussed on the group’s digital listening figures citing that 49.1 per cent of the UK were listening to Bauer stations through digital (compared to 36.6 per cent industry average). The Passion Portfolio, which consists of national brands, reached 9.5 million adults each week, a rise of 4.6 per cent year on year, with Kiss up 12 per cent to reach 4.6 million adults per week. In London the Kiss FM brand reached 1.84 million listeners each week and Kisstory recorded its highest-ever audience of 933,000. Absolute Radio Network reached 291,000 new listeners with weekly figures of 3.5m listeners and Absolute Radio 80s reached 1.1 million listeners, a rise of eight per cent year on year. Steve Parkinson, MD at Bauer Radio London, said: “The big news for the Passion portfolio this quarter is the strong performance of our digital-only stations, which now command the top six most popular commercial slots in the UK.”Bauer’s Place Portfolio, its local programming arm in premier towns and cities across the UK, saw strong performances from Magic 105.4, up 4.4 per cent to 1.94 million listeners; Key 103 (Manchester) up 34.4 per cent to a 10 year high reaching 660,000 listeners and Radio City 96.7 (Liverpool), reaching almost half a million listeners at 447,000. Graham Bryce, group managing director, Place, Northern England and Scotland, said: “We’ve seen some phenomenal growth across the portfolio this quarter. We are reaping the benefits of balancing our brilliant local content with our portfolio-wide Your Music, Your Life positioning, introducing shows such as ‘Old Skool & Anthems’ and the refreshed ‘In:Demand’ into the line-up.”