RAJAR Results for Radio: The Detail


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It was another very strong quarter for radio. Carat’s Mike Wood, Monica Rodrigues and Nadia Khashem round up the results from today’s RAJAR report.


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

  1. BBC Radio 2; 15.5m (+ 2.8%
  2. BBC Radio 4; 10.6m (-2.9%)
  3. BBC Radio 1; 9.9 (+2.1)
  4. BBC Radio 5 Live; 5.7m (+0.3%)
  5. BBC 6 Music; 2.2m (+8.3%)

The BBC reigns once again claiming back its throne, with weekly listening over taking that of commercial radio by 1% this quarter. However, the last three months have actually seen a small decline of 0.2% in revenue; not only across the BBC - commercial radio has also seen a decline in revenue over this quarter of 2.4%.

Radio 2 goes from strength to strength with an increase of 2.8% YoY and 0.3% QoQ, growing its audience to 15.5m weekly listeners.

Although Radio 1 has dropped below 10 million listeners nationally, the station’s social media channels continue to flourish with Radio 1 and 1Xtra accumulating an audience of 8 million across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

BBC Radio 3 achieves its highest reach in three years this quarter seeing its audience reach 2.12 million. The station saw an 8% QoQ increase in share with its flagship mid-morning show Essential Classics contributing towards this rise with a record reach of 909k listeners.

BBC Radio 5 live posted a reach of 5.77 million listeners up 3% QoQ) and a share of 3.9% up 5% YoY.

BBC Radio 6 Music also achieved yet another record this quarter with weekly audience figures reaching a massive 2.24 million listeners, and both BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 1Xtra reporting stronger listener figures.

National Stations/Networks

Top 10 commercial national brands – Reach (000s) and YoY performance (%):

  1. Heart Network; 9.0m (+0.3%)
  2. Capital Brand; 8.2m (+7.5%)
  3. Bauer City Network (ex Orion); 5.7m (-4.2%)
  4. Smooth Brand; 5.4m (+0.6%)
  5. Kiss Network; 5.4m (+9.9%)
  6. Classic FM; 5.1m (-7.3%)
  7. Absolute Radio Network; 4.4m (+11.9%)
  8. Magic Network; 3.4m (-4.7%)
  9. talkSPORT;3.1m (-4.9%)
  10. Radio X Network; 1.2m (+40.1%)

During the last round of results Global Radio were keen to caveat that Radio X’s results were not a true reflection of the rebrand with the figures reflecting a six-month period which included the final months of XFM.

This quarter’s figures are based purely on Radio X. The local regions (London and Manchester where XFM/Radio X has held an FM frequency for years) have not seen impressive figures. As an overall national network the station has seen a 40% increase in reach year on year to 1.2m with hours up 92%. Decent numbers but bear in mind that the station had a big marketing push and is now nationally available via DAB unlike this time last year…

Elsewhere, Absolute has seen its best results since its rebrand from Virgin Radio (the relaunched Virgin Radio will see its first set of RAJAR results in next quarter’s release). Absolute’s reach has increased 9.3% year on year to 2.2m while hours are up 8.4%. Some credit for these figures should go to the station being made available on FM in the West Midlands but these are still impressive figures especially given the push of Radio X. The Absolute Network of stations as a whole has seen an 11.9% year-on-year increase in reach to 4.4m with the London station being the only one in the portfolio to see a drop.

Some other interesting figures include the Capital brand (Capital + Capital Xtra) achieving its highest ever reach level of 8.2m. LBC has also achieve record reach levels of 1.5m. Classic FM has a weekly reach of 5.1m which is massive, especially compared to its closest competitor, BBC Radio 3, which reaches 2.1m.


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

  1. Absolute 80’s; 1.7m (+18.8%)
  2. Kisstory; 1.4m (+27.4%)
  3. Planet Rock; 1.3m (+14.9%)
  4. Smooth Extra; 0.9m (+0.7%)
  5. Heat; 0.9m (-2.7%)
  6. Kerrang!; 0.8m (-14.5%)
  7. The Hits; 0.7m (+1.8%)
  8. Absolute 90’s; 0.7m (+16.6%)
  9. Absolute Classic Rock; 0.6m (+9.7%)
  10. Kiss Fresh; 0.5m (+29.9%)

Digital listening has hit another milestone – it now represents 51.5% of all in-home radio listening (the first time it’s ever gone over 50%). Digital also represents a record 44.1% of all radio listening, edging it towards the 50% mark which is considered the minimum point at which to begin a possible move toward shutting down analogue frequencies.

DAB ownership now stands at 55.7% of the UK population, with an increase of 14% year-on-year whilst in-car digital listening has increased 32.5% year-on-year driven by many new cars being fitted with DAB radios as standard.

Absolute 80s remains the biggest commercial station with a record reach of 1.7m (up 19% year-on-year). However, it may see a slight drop in the next set of results owing to it moving between digital multiplexes which may mean some listeners are now unable to receive it.

Next quarter will see the first set of results for the 16 new digital stations launched in March, including Virgin and talkRADIO, and are likely to reveal yet more positive news for digital listening.


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

  1. Capital London; 2.286m (+27.5%)
  2. Kiss 100; 2.011m (+6.8%)
  3. Magic 105.4; 1.745m (-8.7%)
  4. Heart 106.2; 1.547m (+0.9%)
  5. Classic FM; 1.243m (-16.2%)
  6. LBC 97.3; 1.001m (+12.9%)
  7. Smooth Radio London; 0.779m (+24.2%)
  8. Absolute Radio London; 0.812m (-17.7%)
  9. Capital XTRA London; 0.548m (+76.2%)
  10. Radio X London; 0.337m (-7.2%)

After a few quarters of battling it out for the number one commercial London station, Capital widens the gap from Kiss by adding an additional 200,000 listeners since Q4 2014, and also overtakes BBC Radio 2. Whilst Kiss lost a few listeners since the last quarter, year-on-year they are still up 6.8%.

There are no position changes since last quarter across the Top 10 Commercial London stations but some stations performed better than others. Magic remains in third place but lost listeners having previously recorded 1.921m listeners last quarter, whilst Heart drops significantly from 1.8m to 1.54m QoQ. However, other stations such as LBC saw an increase in listeners to just over 1m and Capital Xtra London is up a 76.2% versus last year.

London Breakfast Shows

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

  1. Capital FM; 1.08m (+33.5%)
  2. Kiss 100; 1.043m (+18.7%)
  3. Magic 105.4; 0.74m (-1.1%)
  4. LBC 97.3; 0.62m (+12.6%)
  5. Heart 106.2; 0.61m (-2.6%)

Capital continues to be the station of choice for breakfast listeners despite the departure of Lisa Snowden. Dave Berry, now joined by George and Lilah, brings in almost 1.2m listeners per week. Bauer’s Kiss London overtakes its sister station Magic to be the second choice for breakfast with 852,000 listeners per week. Magic recorded a 21% decrease in listeners since the last quarter.

Other breakfast shows saw increases year-on-year. Chris Moyles on Radio X may not be pleased to see that his weekly listeners have dropped by 43.4% since his first RAJAR last quarter, although YoY he has given the station (previously Xfm) a 44.1% boost to 776,000 listeners.

Capital Xtra is down -9% since the last quarter but boosts a massive 177.8% increase YoY, although this is likely due to the breakfast show now running an extra hour until 10am.

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