Chris Evans, named as the BBC’s highest paid star, is spluttering into his cornflakes this morning with the publication of the latest batch of Rajar figures which make for unwelcome listening for the Radio 2 breakfast show host.
Over the past year the flagship early morning slot has hemorrhaged close to half a million listeners, dropping to 9.01m listeners between April and June versus 9.47m over the same period a year earlier.
Many of these listeners appear to be flitting over to Nick Grimshaw’s Radio 1 which has seen a rise in its weekly audience share of 350,000 over the last quarter to reach 5.5m – up on the 5.43m who tuned in during the equivalent period of 2016.
It was Radio1Xtra which posted the biggest gains over the second quarter with an impressive 9.8% jump in audience reach in just three months illustrating the growing appeal of urban music. Other beneficiaries include Global-owned Radio X which recorded a weekly audience of 1.39m listeners, a rise of 17% year-on-year.
The slow transition to digital listening was also reflected in the Rajar stats after the sector reached a new record share of 48.7%, within touching distance of the psychologically important 50% barrier after jumping from a share of just 45.3% one year ago.
The figures represent a welcome turnaround for Radio 1 having suffered a painful audience slide last year.