RAJAR results Q3 2015 - our expert in-depth analysis


The Q3 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 Madonna tickets (courtesy of Global) plus some other great goodies please tweet @CaratUK a comment with a key takeout from the Q3 2015 RAJAR using the hashtag #CaratRajarBlog. Each comment gets entered into the draw, so the more you tweet, the more likely you are to win!


Radio listening remains high this quarter with listener numbers continuing to grow with 89.3% of the UK population tuning in to the radio every week, at an average of 21 hours and 36 minutes per week.

Commercial radio continues strongly this quarter with 34.7m listeners tuning in weekly, up 2% YoY. This increase in listeners means the gap between Commercial and BBC is now only 368,000 listeners. This gap continues to tighten since the start of the year which was 956,000 in Q1.

Digital listening continues to grow in this RAJAR period. 41.9% of all radio listening is via a digital platform and 56% of the population are tuning into digital radio every week.

National Market

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

  1. Heart Network (UK); 9.1m (+0.8%)
  2. Capital Network (UK); 7.4m (+1.5%)
  3. Classic FM; 5.4m (+5.5%)
  4. Kiss Network; 5.4m (+12.3)
  5. Smooth Radio Network (UK); 4.8m (+3.3%)
  6. Absolute Radio Network; 4.2m (+4.5)
  7. Magic Network; 3.4m (+19.9%)
  8. talkSPORT; 3.1m (+0.1%)
  9. LBC Network; (UK) 1.5m (+15.4%)
  10. XFM Network (Will be Radio X); 1m (+6.2)

Total Global Radio continues to dominate the total share of listening seeing a QoQ uplift of 1.1%. Bauer radio maintains its 2nd place position in the market with a share of 14.1%, though only up a mere 0.2% since Q2. 

Q3 2015 also sees Total Global radio remain the best performing nation network in terms of reach, now reaching 22 million listeners weekly,  following a 4.3% quarterly increase. Meanwhile, the Total Bauer portfolio is hot on Global’s heels as the second best performing network with its reach up 1.1% QoQ.

Heart Network remains on top as the UK’s number 1 commercial radio brand with 9.1million listeners tuning in each week, up 0.8% YoY. Capital Network reaches its highest ever figures with more than 8million listeners each week while Classic FM is up 5.5% YoY now reaching 5.5 million people weekly.

Elsewhere, Bauer's Absolute Radio Network grows to a record 4.1million listeners boosted by its ‘No repeat Guarantee’ and popularity of the Christian O’Connell breakfast show. The group's ‘Bauer City Network’ also shows strong figures of 7.3million listeners reaching major towns and cities in the UK every week.

TalkSPORT also sees a good quarterly performance with its highest ever recorded audience figures at 3.1millon listeners and a 17% YoY increase in listening hours. It’s important to note that the RWC and the champion’s league were both on during this period which could have contributed to talk Sport’s record numbers.


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

  1. Absolute 80s; 1.5m (+9.7%)
  2. Kisstory; 1.3m (+34.3%)
  3. Heat; 0.91m (-5.5%)
  4. The Hits; 0.86m (-9.4%)
  5. Kerrang!; 0.82m (-6.6%)
  6. Absolute Radio 90s; 0.62m (-5.4%)
  7. Absolute Classic Rock; 0.58m (+17.3%)
  8. Kiss Fresh; 0.53m (-5.8%)
  9. Jazz FM; 0.50m (-8%)
  10. Absolute Radio 70s; 0.28m (+70.7%)

The growth in digital radio listening continues this RAJAR, with weekly reach now at 56%. 30 million people now tune in digitally each week, with the share of all radio listening via digital platforms up 4.1% YoY, now at 41.9%.

The DAB platform continues to post strong results, with share of listening up 14% YoY to 27.7% of all listening from 24.5%. DAB is the most popular device, accounting for 66% of all digital hours. Listening via TV currently represents 12% and listening online 16%.

Mobile listening also continues to grow, rising 21% YoY, with 26% of adults now listening to radio via tablet or mobile at least once a month.

30% of adult social media users claim to receive updates about their favourite radio station and/or presenter whilst 42% of 15-24 year old users of social media claim to receive updates from their favourite radio station and/or presenter. 

Absolute 80s holds its position as the best commercial digital only station, growing YoY by 9.7% to 1.57m listeners. Sister station Kisstory grew YoY by 34% to 1.3m listeners ahead of its national expansion on the second national commercial digital radio multiplex in early 2016.

The latest RAJAR results highlight that listeners love listening digitally and there will be a time in the very near future where the majority of radio listening will be digital. With digital streaming performing strong, and Spotify leading the way it will be interesting to see the trends of digital listening in 2016.


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

  1. Kiss 100; 2.0m (+15.7%)
  2. Capital London; 2.0m (+4.4%)
  3. Magic 105.4; 1.7m (-12.7%)
  4. Heart 106.2; 1.6m (+14.7%)
  5. LBC 97.3; 0.9m (-3.8%)

Q3 sees a very close battle for the top spot in London as Bauer’s Kiss pips Capital to the post with only 3,000 more listeners. Kiss London reach increases 15.7% YoY with Capital London up 4.4% YoY, however down 5.2% QoQ.

Magic, Heart and LBC all remain in the same position as the previous quarter with Heart seeing a 14.7% increase in listeners YoY.

London Breakfast Shows

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

1.Capital FM; 0.98m (-2.8%)

2.Magic 105.4; 0.77m (-1.3%)

3.Kiss 100; 0.75m (+9.6%)

4.LBC 97.3; 0.59m (+6.1%)

5.Heart 106.2; 0.51m (-2.3%)

London breakfast shows see a decline QoQ however this is line with Q3 2014 as the summer holidays tend to have an effect, so YoY results give a clearer picture.

Whilst Capital may have lost out to second place across London, Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon are the number one choice at breakfast. Their show remains a firm favourite with 980,000 weekly listeners, although this is down 2.8% YoY. Magic then follow in second place, down YoY 1.3%. Followed by trio Rickie, Melvin and Charlie on Kiss, with an audience of 755,000 weekly listeners, up +9.6% YoY.


Top BBC Station - Reach (000s) and YoY performance (%):

  1. BBC Radio 2; 15.3m (+2.4%)
  2. BBC Radio 4; 10.7m (+1.4%)
  3. BBC Radio 1; 10.5m (+0.1%)
  4. BBC Radio 5 Live; 5.5m (-4.8%)
  5. BBC Radio 4 Extra; 2.2m (+35.1%)
  6. BBC 6 Music; 2.1m (+9.7%)
  7. BBC Radio 3; 2.0m (+8.2%)
  8. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra; 1.7m (+42.0%)
  9. BBC Radio World Service; 1.5m (+15.3%)
  10. 1Xtra from the BBC; 1.1m (+8.7%)

Radio 2 remains the UK’s largest radio station with 15.4m listeners. Chris Evans’ breakfast show sees a 2.8% drop in listeners since last quarter however still reaches 9.4m listeners every week which is 39% more than the next biggest breakfast show (Radio 4’s Today Show).

Radio 1 has shown a small YoY increase in reach and now stands at 10.6m, although actual listening hours are down with the average listener tuning in for 6.3 hours per week. There are talks that this is a cause for concern, although it’s exactly where they were 2 years ago and not all that low when compared to other stations focussed towards the younger audience (Kiss is at 4.9 hours, Capital brand is at 5.8). Mandatory mention for Nick Grimshaw whose show has seen a small drop in reach (-0.8%).

Radio 1, having come under regular attack for the age of its audience, have also released impressive digital engagement statistics seemingly to put forward the argument that radio alone should not be used to judge the performance of the station and their strategy of ‘listen, watch, share’.

Elsewhere Radio 5 is the only analogue BBC station to show a year on year drop in reach (-4.8%) – its sister station 5 Live Sports Extra however has shown a 42% year on year increase to reach a record level of 1.7m assisted by exclusive coverage of the Ashes in the summer.

Radio 4 Extra has also increased its reach (+35.1%) to a record level of 2.201m listeners and is now the highest reaching digital station, overtaking 6Music which itself showed a +9.7% increase year on year and a new record reach (2.188m). However 6 Music’s average listening of 9.4 hours per week to Radio 4 Extra’s 5.5 means it has a significantly higher number of hours.

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