Rajar results - an in-depth analysis by our experts


The Q2 2015 RAJAR results show listener numbers continuing to grow - here our radio experts take a close look at the stats. For a chance to win comedy tickets (courtesy of Global), please tweet @CaratUK a comment with a key takeout from the Q2 2015 RAJAR results using the hashtag #CaratRajarBlog. The comments with the most retweets and favourites will win so get all your colleagues involved!

rajar Radio digital radio radio advertising RAB

Radio listening remains high this quarter with listener numbers continuing to grow with 90% of the UK population tuning in to the radio every week, at an average of 21.7 hours per week.

Commercial radio continues strongly this quarter with 34.6m listeners tuning in weekly, a 0.6% YoY and a 2.1% increase since the last quarter,

Digital listening continues to grow in this RAJAR period. 39.9% of all radio listening is via a digital platform and 55% of the population are tuning into digital radio every week.

National Market

Top 10 commercial stations – Reach (000s) and YoY performance (%)

  1. Heart Network (UK); 8.8m (-2.3%)
  2. Capital Network (UK); 7.1m (-3.0%)
  3. Bauer City Network; 6.9m (-6.6%)
  4. Classic FM; 5.2m (-3.0%)
  5. Kiss Network; 5.2m (+13.1%)
  6. Smooth Radio Network (UK); 4.6m (+0.7%)
  7. Absolute Radio Network; 4.0m (+7.5%)
  8. Magic Network; 3.6m (+26.6%)
  9. TalkSPORT; 3.0m (-10.2%)
  10. LBC Network (UK); 1.5m (+10.4%)

Q1 2015 sees Total Global Radio maintain its No.1 position in the national radio market with a stable 21.1m listeners followed closely by Bauer with 17.4m listeners.

Bauer are on a high as Kiss reaches above 5million weekly listeners for the first time, up 13.1% YoY. 

Further to this Absolute Radio and Magic both see strong results this quarter with both stations seeing YoY increases of 7.5% and 26.6% respectively. This is good news for Bauer who are currently preparing to launch new digital stations in 2016.

Heart Network continues to be the most popular commercial station, reaching 8.8m listeners. Despite seeing a small decline of 2.3% YoY this is the sixth consecutive quarter that Heart has held onto the top spot.

Capital Network reach is also slightly down YoY but climbs back to second place since the last quarter, reaching 7.1m listeners.

Classic FM reports a decrease in listeners (down -3.0% YoY) but continues to hold its place as the fifth top commercial station. Smooth Radio Network follows closely which sees a 0.7% increase YoY.

TalkSPORT had a decline of 10.2% YoY but this was to be expected due to their 2014 World Cup coverage. However it is closing the gap between 5 Live to 2.3m, as 5 Live see a bigger decline YoY. This is good news for TalkSPORT as they also prepare to launch for new digital stations next year following the awarding of the new digital multiplex to TalkSPORT and Bauer.


Top 10 digital commercial stations – Reach (000s) and YoY performance (%):

  1. Absolute 80s; 1.6m (+28.8%)
  2. Kisstory; 1.5m (+32.9%)
  3. Kerrang!; 0.84m (-5.6%)
  4. Heat; 0.83m (+15.6%)
  5. The Hits; 0.78m (+0.4%)
  6. Kiss Fresh; 0.58m (+19.0%)
  7. Jazz FM; 0.56m (+2%)
  8. Absolute Classic Rock; 0.54m (+14.2%)
  9. Absolute Radio 90s; 0.54m (-3.8%)
  10. Absolute Radio 70s; 0.26m (+63.1%)

The growth in digital radio listening continues this RAJAR, with weekly reach now at 55%. 29.5 million people now tune in digitally each week, with the share of all radio listening via digital platforms up 8.4% YoY, now at 39.9%.

The DAB platform continues to post strong results, with share of listening up 13% YoY to 26.7% of all listening. DAB is the most popular device, accounting for 67% of all digital hours. Listening via TV currently represents 12% and listening online 16%.

Mobile listening also continues to grow, rising 13% YoY, with 25% of adults now listening to radio via tablet or mobile at least once a month.

London continues to be the most digital region, with digital listening widening its lead over analogue in the region with a 47.3% share vs 45.9%, again highlighting a future trend across the UK.

Absolute 80s is the best performing commercial digital only station, growing by 29% to a new record of 1.6 million listeners, closely followed by sister station Kisstory, which grew by 33% to 1.5 million listeners. The latest RAJAR results highlight that listeners love listening on DAB and that’s why it’s the key long term radio broadcasting platform for the future.


Top 5 London Commercial stations – Reach (000s) and YoY performance (%):

  1. Capital FM; 2.2m (+0.1%)
  2. Kiss 100; 2.1m (+14.0%)
  3. Magic 105.4; 2.0m (+3.6%)
  4. Heart 106.2; 2.0m (+8.1%)
  5. LBC 97.3; 1.1m (+15.8%)

After a bit of a blip in the last quarter, listening in London has increased by 9.4% with the biggest growth coming from commercial radio. In fact, in contrast to national listening, commercial radio actually has a higher listening share in London (51%) than the BBC.

Global have had an excellent quarter in London – Capital’s reach jumped 22.7% on the quarter to take the top spot just ahead of Kiss. In fact all 8 of their London stations have increased reach on last quarter.

In terms of time spent listening however, Capital is down in 5th place behind Kiss, LBC, Heart and Magic.

London Breakfast Shows

Top 5 London Commercial Breakfast stations – Reach (000s) and YoY performance (%):

  1. Capital FM: 1.1m
  2. Magic 105.4: 922k
  3. Heart 106.2: 867k
  4. Kiss 100: 766k
  5. LBC 97.3: 719k

Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon’s Capital breakfast show showed a 31.4% reach increase against the first quarter lifting it back up to first place. Kiss 100’s breakfast show displayed the biggest drop of any in London (with the exception of Sunrise) and drops from 1st to 4th.


Top 10 BBC stations – Reach (000s) and YoY performance (%):

  1. BBC Radio 2; 15.1m (-2.3%)
  2. BBC Radio 4; 10.6m (+0.4%)
  3. BBC Radio 1; 10.4m (-3.3%)
  4. BBC Radio 5 Live; 5.3m (-15.2%)
  5. BBC 6 Music; 2.1m (+8.7%)
  6. BBC Radio 4 Extra; 2.0m (+24.5%)
  7. BBC Radio; 3: 1.9m (+0.5%)
  8. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra; 1.6m (+76.8%)
  9. BBC World Service; 1.5m (+12.8%)
  10. BBC 1 Xtra; 1.0m (+2.2%)

Overall BBC reach has shown a very slight drop in reach year on year with 35m listeners listening on average for 15.8 hours each week.

Radio 1 has shown some strong improvement on the previous quarter with an increase in reach of 7.6% taking it back over 10m listeners per week. Nick Grimshaw’s listening has seen an increase of 6.2% to 5.8m which is the highest the Radio 1 breakfast show listening has been since early 2012.

Radio 2 remains the biggest station in the UK with over 15m listeners per week while Chris Evans’ breakfast show reaches 9.7m listeners each week. Not quite record levels but still 45% more than its nearest rival (Radio 4) and meaning that 1 in 5 radio listeners in the UK listen to his show at some point each week.

It’s too early at this stage to show whether Nick Grimshaw’s presence on the X Factor or Chris Evans’ announcement as the new host of Top Gear have any bearing on their figures but it’s certainly something to look out for on the next set of results.

Five Live has dropped 7.6% in reach on the quarter (only 2.4% in hours though) and, with the exception of The Ashes, do not have a strong summer of sport to help boost them for the next quarter.

Despite showing a rare drop in reach on the quarter (-0.4%) 6 Music has regained its title as the BBC’s biggest digital station after the previous leader Radio 4 Extra dropped -10% and, despite the drop on 5 Live, its sister station 5 Live Sports Extra continues to perform very well, with reach up 76.8% yoy.

rajar Radio digital radio radio advertising RAB
^Back to Top