RAJAR Q4 2016 Analysis


RAJAR analysis by Monica Rodrigues, Jerome Nichols, Lyndsey Terrill and Rebecca Middleton on the AV Planning Team

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Top 10 National stations – Reach and YoY performance (%):

  1. Heart Network 8.949m (-2.2%)
  2. Capital Network 7.791m (+3.9%)
  3. Bauer City Network 6.947m (N/A)
  4. Classic FM 5.365m   (-2. 8%)
  5. Kiss Network 5.237m (N/A)
  6. Smooth Radio Network 4.751m (-2.4%)
  7. Wireless Group 4.549m   (N/A)
  8. Absolute Radio Network 4.530m (N/A)
  9. Magic Network 3.648m (N/A)
  10. LBC Network 1.686m (+17.2%)


Overall the Rajar results for this quarter are the second highest ever recorded, with 48.68 million people tuning in every week.  Despite the continuing rise in popularity of digital streaming services, radio is as popular as ever. 

Global are still the leading Radio network in the UK with 22.7 million with a lead of more than 5 million against second best network Bauer whose reach was verified at 17.6 million. Even though both groups are down QoQ (Global at -1.2% and Bauer at -1.5%) looking at a YoY view both networks see a growth in reach of 1.3% and 6.8% respectively.

Looking specifically at Global, Reach QoQ for Classic FM has increased at 1.6% and Smooth radio 0.04%. However, there has been some falls on flagship stations Heart at -3.3% to 9.2m and Capital at -3.1% to 8.4m. Overall they were pleased with the results still owning the top four radio brands Heart, capital, Smooth and Classic FM.

Bauer Media claims both first & second place with largest reaching national commercial breakfast shows. Kiss breakfast currently holds 2.2m listeners while The Chris O’Connell breakfast show on Absolute saw a growth in reach to 2m listeners across the network. Overall Bauer’s Absolute 80s saw an increase in reach of 4.9% to 1.5 mil listeners while Classic Rock’s reach grew to 8.8% to 703K. 

After seeing a large decline in weekly reach last quarter, newly relaunched Virgin Radio seems to have settled showing a much smaller decline of -6.1% averaging listening figures at 324k.


Top 10 Digital Only stations – Reach and YoY performance (%):

  1. Absolute 80s 1.529m (-3.5%)
  2. Kisstory 1.402m (-0.1%)
  3. Planet Rock 0.958m (-16.5%)
  4. Smooth Extra 0.810m (-10.4%)
  5. Kerrang! 0.739m (-15.1%)
  6. Absolute Radio 90s 0.727m (+11.8%)
  7. Heat 0.720m   (-24.2%)
  8. The Hits 0.605m (-25.5%)
  9. Kiss Fresh 0.492m (-11%)
  10. Mellow Magic 0.446 m (N/A)


Digital radio listening has increased YoY to a 45.2% share of audience which is up from 41.7% in Q4 2015. This boost in impressive levels of DAB digital listening helped to improve audience share by a massive 51.3 million hours. This equates to an increase of 12%. DAB digital radio now accounts for a third of all radio listening.

Digital radio listening now consists of almost 6 in 10 adults aged 15+ listening to radio via a digital platform with 31 million adults owning a DAB radio, up 6% YoY. Plus, the number of adults listening to radio via a mobile phone or tablet at least once a month has continued to grow YoY by 1.2%.

This provides us with a great opportunity for our clients to invest in non-traditional platforms as adults are increasingly adapting their means of listening to radio.

The most popular digital-only station is BBC 6 Music, registering 2.33 million listeners weekly closely followed by BBC Radio 4 Extra (2.18 million weekly listeners). Commercially though, Absolute 80s re-emerged as the most popular commercial digital-only station with 1.53 weekly million listeners, with Kisstory claiming the runners-up spot, averaging 1.4 weekly million listeners.

National commercial listening hours have also continued to grow YoY, increasing 21% accounting for almost three quarters of all national commercial listening. This is following the launch of the second national DAB commercial network broadcasting 19 national commercial stations last March.


Top 10 BBC Stations


YoY performance (%)

BBC Radio 2



BBC Radio 4



BBC Radio 1



BBC Radio 5 live



BBC 6 Music



BBC Radio 4 Extra



BBC Radio 3



BBC World Service



BBC Radio 5 live sports extra



BBC Radio Scotland




The live radio audience is at its second highest ever seeing 48.68 million listeners tuning in every week with the BBC claiming 53.5% of that.

BBC radio 2 remains the top performing station across their portfolio although this has dipped ever so slightly by -0.6%.  The biggest growth across the top 10 stations was on BBC 3 which celebrated its 70th birthday last year and is up by 7.2% with its audience up 2.12m from the previous quarter. 

With listening figures down to 9.56 million, BBC Radio 1 fell by -3.2% compared to Q3 and -7.4% compared to Q4 2015. Nick Grimshaw’s breakfast show see’s listeners grow to 5.37m this quarter.

However, saying that there is still growth across other stations. BBC Radio 4 and BBC radio 5 are both up.  Radio 4 grew 0.9% on the previous quarter and 3.7% YoY whilst Radio 5 was up 3.2% and 7.4% YoY.

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra drops -27.1% - This is purely due to there being a high volume of sporting events on in Q3 (Euros, Olympics, Wimbledon) and not an actual overall decline on listeners.


Top 10 London Stations             Reach    YoY performance (%)

  1. Kiss 100; 1.860m         (-7.7%)
    Capital London;   1.730m (-16.7%)
    Magic 105.4; 1.723m (-10.3%)
    Heart London; 1.362m (-24.5%)
    LBC 97.3;   1.055m (1.4%)
    Absolute Radio London;   0.750m (-7.6%)
    Smooth Radio London;   0.750m (-6.5%)
    Capital Xtra London;   0.505m (-11.2%)
    Radio X London;   0.430m (-16.8%)
    LBC London News; 0.367m (-24.9%)

The London stations have had quite a challenging quarter with the exception of LBC which is up 1.4% YoY. The station sees continuous success; up 16.2% QoQ with 725,000 listeners. This could be attributed to the topical, economic and political talk shows which are at the height of public interest at the moment.

Although there have been some declines in listenership this quarter across the London Breakfast shows, some stations have seen a significant rise in listening. Kiss London reigns supreme at the top of the chart with an increase in listening of 15.2% QoQ taking its audience to just under a million (983,000). Similarly to Kiss, Magic London was also up, boasting a 5% increase in listeners QoQ.

Meanwhile, Capital Breakfast London has seen a decline in listeners this year, bringing it down to 881,000 listeners this quarter. Despite the decline, Capital Breakfast London still remains in second place which shows the resilience and strength of the station. With the announcement of Dave Berry leaving the breakfast show, it will be interesting to see how his replacement host will affect future listening figures.

Despite Heart London seeing a decline QoQ, Global brands still stand firm in the top 10 with Capital XTRA London up more than 38% QoQ and up almost 16% YoY.

Premier Christian radio has also seen significant increases QoQ (up 40.3%) with 101,000 listeners.


Although there has a been a downward turn in listening figures across the London breakfast shows, these stations will come back fighting next quarter.


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