Amal EL-Haddaoui, Becky Middleton, Rosie Money and Sophia Menelaou round up the results from this quarter’s RAJAR report.


Overall Summary

Commercial Radio

Commercial Radio reigns supreme as it celebrates its eleventh consecutive quarter ahead with 36m weekly listeners vs the BBC’s 33m.

Overall Global continues to lead the UK commercial Radio market taking a record 24% share in listenership. 

The Heart Network has released healthy figures, it now has 9.8m weekly reach compared with 9.6m last year. The Heart Network has increased its overall weekly reach since introducing a networked breakfast show, a gamble well played by the station. LBC similarly reports its best figures in 46 years on the air – its audience is up 23% across the UK to 2.574m listeners a week. The LBC Nick Ferrari at breakfast breaks another record for the show, with 1.5m listeners tuning in and is now the no.1 breakfast show in London! Radio X has had a good Q3/19 across the UK, with reach, hours and shares all up. 116k extra listeners this quarter and 20k year on year increase the total audience to 1.737m. 

Bauer’s regional brand Greatest Hits Radio has seen an overall increase this quarter. The network has 1.2m listeners compared with 1.1m three months ago. KISSTORY remains the UK’s biggest digital-only station, with its audience up 18.4% YoY. Magic Radio Network up 3.6% YoY to now reach 4.2m. This was helped by good growth for DAB stations Mellow Magic and Magic Chilled.

The latest RAJAR results for Wireless Q3 showed that The Chris Evans Breakfast Show was still a success after launching in January with an ad-free format. Virgin Radio is now reaching an impressive 1.64 million across digital-only (303% YoY). TalkSport had an impressive 3.1 million listeners tuning into the station in Q3, the station also saw an increase in female listenership during the Women’s Fifa World Cup. It’s great that TalkSport is becoming more gender-neutral, and hopefully, the results will see an overall increased listenership. TalkSport is imminently releasing the TalkSport app which will make it easier for listeners to tune into the station on the go. Hopefully, the app will launch with digital targeting capabilities will allow us to reach niche audiences in 2020

The latest RAJAR results haven’t performed so well for the non-commercial stations, BBC Radio listening has dropped from 34m weekly listeners to 33.4m weekly listeners from Q2 to Q3. One of the reasons for this could be the drop of listeners on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show which has recorded it’s lowest number in decades – the lowest being Terry Wogan in 2009 with 7.7m weekly listeners. Zoe Ball took over from Chris Evans in January, after he left to join Virgin radio

This quarter's RAJAR figures are robust, overall figures are down but this is marginal, especially when comparing to other traditional media. However, this minor fall is attributed to increased listening across audio media channels which are not included within the RAJAR results such as podcasts. The fact that the audio market is so stable could be a way to sell into clients that wouldn’t normally include audio within their offline media plans. 

It also could be worth noting whilst there is a constant discussion around HFSS regulation for video and OOH ads, there are still currently no HFSS restrictions on audio. 

Finally, there is notable growth within speech radio which is reflected in LBC’s Nick Ferrari claiming the top breakfast show in London. 

As we draw closer to Brexit political uncertainty across the UK current affairs is becoming a lead reason to tune into the radio for this quarter, this should be taken into consideration when planning radio. Considering this new trend for current affairs and speech radio Global have announced the launch of LBC News – a 24-hour national rolling news station. 


Looking more broadly at the audio market, we are seeing a continuing shift towards Digital radio, which now constitutes 56.8% of Listening due to the rise in App, digital in-car listening and smart speakers. Purchases of smart speakers are still rising with penetration of smart speakers in homes now at 28%. 

Podcasts listening is still rising, reaching 9.4m people per week (rising from 9 million last quarter), 70% of podcasts are listened to via Mobile and 88% of downloaded podcasts, have a 100% listen-through rate. Podcasts airtime is available through your Acast, Global and Spotify reps. 

As the digital market becomes more fragmented due to more streaming services commercializing and new podcast opportunities popping up weekly, we need to implement a test-and-learn strategy to see how to optimise spend best for our clients and monitor what produces the best results.  

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