Radio Listening in the UK: Rajar Q1 2018

The latest set of figures from radio industry body RAJAR has revealed that digital radio has become more popular than listening over FM and AM for the first time ever.  Over half (50.9%) of all listening in the UK was digital between January – March this year, that’s up from 47.2% since last year and marks the first time digital has accounted for more than half of radio listening.

Great Gains for Digital Radio

BBC Radio 6 Music has a record 2.5m weekly listeners and Capital Xtra has added half a million listeners nationally in the last 12 months – and nearly doubled its reach in a year in London, jumping from 380,000 to 709,000 listeners every week. Big name signings like Eamonn Holmes, have proved a success for talkRADIO, as the audience increases 30% to 316,000 listeners. At talkSPORT, the station is back over 3m weekly listeners nationally.

BBC Radio 1 Losing Relevance?

Heart has overtaken BBC Radio 1 in terms of weekly reach for the very first time – making it the first commercial radio brand to ever have more adult listeners than the historic BBC station.

BBC Radio 1 has dropped from 9.8m to 9.4m in reach this quarter (15+) whilst the Heart brand is up to 9.5m across Heart, Heart 80s and Heart extra. The increase for the brand is helped by Heart 80s – now reaching 1.4 million people every week just a year after it was launched.

The cabbie’s favourite…

LBC is now reaching a record 2.2 million listeners every week, adding 382,000 listeners in the past year – the highest number in its 45-year history. In London, LBC now reaches 1.3 million listeners every week up 183,000 year-on-year.

Things Not Looking Bright for the BBC

Radio 1 Breakfast Show With Nick Grimshaw now attracts 5.10 million listeners per week, compared to 5.72m last quarter and 5.14m last year

BBC Radio 2’s weekly audience was 15.41 million (from 15.49m last quarter and 15.02m last year

BBC Radio 4 posted a weekly reach of 10.91 million during the quarter (11.25m last quarter and 11.11m last year) and a share of 12% (11.8% last quarter and 12.5% last year). The Today programme has 7.22 million listeners each week (Monday – Saturday), from 7.27m last quarter and 7.35m last year.

BBC Radio 5 live posted a reach of 5.14 million listeners (5.45m last quarter and 5.34m last year) and a share of 3.1% (3.4% last quarter and 3.6% last year).

BBC Asian Network drew 628,000 listeners, compared to 661,000 listeners last quarter and 623,000 last year.

BBC World Service posted a weekly UK audience of 1.43 million (from 1.51m last quarter and 1.33m last year).

Local Radio Landscape

BBC Local Radio in England had a mixed quarter, with 18 losing reach and 20 adding listeners (the other – Radio Oxford – stayed the same!). Overall reach for BBC Local in England is down 106,000 quarter on quarter though, not helped by the 120k drop at BBC Radio London which has gone from 574,000 to 454,000. BBC Local Radio now reaches a total 8.57 million listeners per week, up from 8.30m last quarter and 8.26m this time last year. Local Radio in England has an audience of 6.191m, down from 6.297m in Q4/2017. BBC Radio Manchester is up year on year and quarter on quarter.

Yorkshire Coast Radio has recorded its biggest ever audience. 54,200 adults its biggest weekly reach ever.

Central FM is on a downward trend at the moment – from 50,000 listeners 12 months ago to 38,000 today.

The Breeze South Devon had added 10,000 listeners in the last 12 months.

Q Radio Belfast is down to 113,000 weekly reach – also its lowest since 2012. Last year it recorded 135,000 listeners.

Touch FM Coventry has more than twice the audience it had 12 months ago – going from 10,000 listeners in Q1, 2017 to 23,000 this time round.

The main BBC nations services for Wales, Ulster and Scotland all added audience – Radio Wales is up 30,000; Radio Ulster up 44,000 and Radio Scotland up 71,000 compared with Q4/2017. BBC Radio Cymru dropped 5,000 listeners though.

Check out our infographic below: 

Rajar Info q1 2018 4media.png