Rajar Q4 2016 Analysis


RAJAR released their latest figures on Thursday 9th February and announced that 48.7 million adults or 90% of the adult (15+) UK population tuned in to their selected radio stations each week during Q4 2016. This is up by approximately 445,000 adults year on year. On average a listener tunes into 21 hours and 30 minutes of live radio per week.

El Long El Long Associate Director - Radio Leeds RAJAR Radio DAB FM

Main headlines include;

  • Almost 6 in 10 adults aged 15+ are listening to radio via a digital platform. With 31 million people now tuning in to radio via a digitally enabled receiver (DAB, DTV, Online) each week.
  • The share of all radio listening via a digital platform now stands at 45.2 % - up 3.5% from last year. With this comprising of 32.9% listening via a DAB radio, 4.9% through DTV and 7.4% online or through an app
  • Rajar also updated the share of location listening hours, with 61% listening in the home, 23% listening in the car and 16% at work
  • Listeners are also interacting more with their stations with 42% of 15-24 year olds (31% of all adults) claiming to receive social updates about their favourite radio station/presenter


Station and Group Results

A 1.2% decrease in weekly reach over the final quarter of 2016 was not enough to overthrow Global Radio as the best performing UK radio network.

With 22.7 Million listeners, the network has a lead of more than 5 million over second-place Bauer Radio – which recorded a reach of almost 17.6 million (down 1.5% quarter to quarter.)

Over the last year, however, both networks have boosted reach, with Global up 1.3% and Bauer up 6.8%.

Around Global‘s regional and local services, Q4 2016 saw good performances for Capital in the East Midlands (up 52k year on year), Liverpool (up 37k), Manchester (up 32k) and Yorkshire (up 105k over the year, giving a reach now of 1.092m). The audience decline in London (347k listeners a week have left in the last 12 months) also happened in the North East (down 23k) and Scotland (down 27k).

Heart did well in 2016 in the North West, adding 40,000 weekly listeners over the year. But audiences were down 50k in East Anglia, 35k in South Wales, 34k in the West Midlands and 41k in the Thames Valley. In London, Heart has lost 442,000 in the last 12 months.

Smooth‘s AM and DAB services in the West Country and Cambridgeshire saw the best annual increases in audience, with the best regional performances for Smooth coming in the North East and North West.

Bauer’s City Network now has a total reach of 6.9m listeners. Liverpool provided some cheer for Bauer in this RAJAR release, with Radio City up 27,000 year on year (7.6%). Radio City 2’s reach rose 89k during 2016 following the move from AM to FM, while City Talk lost nearly half its audience by moving off the FM frequency (down 29k year on year from 59,000 to 30,000 weekly listeners).

Not particularly good results in Q4 2016 for the former Orion stations. Free Radio Birmingham lost 52,000 of its 401,000 from this time last year, giving a new reach of 349k per week. The other Free Radio FM services were all down too (Coventry down 33k year on year; Hereford & Worcester down 20k and Shropshire down 14k). Gem 106 also dropped 18,000 listeners to leave a new weekly reach of 478,000.

Virgin Radio, which was revived last year, recorded one of the bigger declines in weekly reach of all recorded stations in the last quarter (Q3 2016). However Q4 saw a much smaller decline as the station settled with a decline of only 6.1%, the station now has 324,000 listeners. 

Finally talkSPORT boosted its reach by 5.3% to over 3m.


It’s clear from these figures that radio’s popularity is still strong and growing. With 90% of us tuning in to a live radio station at some point during any given week it remains an integral part of our media day.

It’s encouraging to see that the share of people listening on digital (DAB sets, Phones, Laptops and TV) has risen 8% across 2016 to 45.2%. In 2010 only 25% accessed radio through a digital platform.

With many listeners now accessing their radio through several platforms it’s even more key for radio planners to consider their target audience radio habits when reaching out and consider new and creative ways to exploit these platforms in the future.

El Long El Long Associate Director - Radio Leeds RAJAR Radio DAB FM
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