RAJAR Q1 10 – Comment

The headlines this quarter have to go to Chris Evans for his performance on the Radio 2 breakfast show but as for the commercial sector 95.8 Capital FM should be commended as they secured the number one spot in London and their breakfast show, hosted by Johnny and Lisa, delivered over 1 million listeners. Although overall Absolute has not performed as well as they would have liked the station group deserve praise for what they have been doing in the digital radio marketplace. Absolute Classic Rock has increased its reach by 37% over the last year and Absolute 80s has had a brilliant first RAJAR, delivering over a quarter of a million adults. Whilst fellow digital radio station NME has also performed well, up 27.7% quarter on quarter.  LBC’s continued strong performance deserves a pat on the back as does Kiss 100 in London – number one against that all important 15-44 year old market across the whole of London, even beating the BBC!



Commercial Radio has had a good RAJAR with listening increasing year on year and quarter on quarter, with 32.1 million people now tuning in to commercial radio every week.

In the London marketplace Capital Radio and Magic 105.4 have battled it out for the top spot. Magic have achieved the highest reach (2,005,000) whilst Capital have delivered a higher share of the hours with 6%, so watch out for those conflicting stories on who is number one. Magic have come a close second to Capital in terms of share, delivering 5.9%. Strong hours again from LBC, along with an improved reach, have helped the station to achieve 5.1% share pushing it into third position. Heart is fourth with 4.7% share, and Kiss fifth on 4.1%

Commercial Radio as a whole will be very happy with this quarter’s set of figures, particularly on a local level where 26 million listeners tune in to commercial services compared to just 9.9 million for the BBC local and regional services. Across all stations, the ‘Chris Evans effect’ has helped the BBC to slightly improve on their share, with the figures now at 41.3% for Commercial Radio and 56.5% for the BBC. Note: Chris Evans has added a further 1.1 million listeners (13.1%) to the Radio 2 breakfast show he took over from Terry Wogan, helping Radio 2 to their highest ever reach of 14.6 million listeners.

Talking of breakfast the 95.8 Capital FM breakfast show has again retained its position as the number one commercial radio breakfast show in London, with Johnny and Lisa reaching 1,182,000 listeners (6-10am). Jamie and Harriet on Heart (6-9am) remain slightly ahead of Neil Fox on Magic (6-9am) with figures of 798,000 and 785,000 respectively. Rickie and Melvin on Kiss 100 (6-9am) came in fourth 656,000, and Nick Ferrari on LBC (7-10am) delivered a year on year increase of 37.4% to reach 597,000 listeners with his breakfast show.

Briefly looking around the regions… in Carlisle, CFM reached 99,000 adults (40% of all available adults in their TSA – Total Survey Area). In Hull the micro station KC FM delivered 76,000 listeners (18%). Broadcasting across South Wales the regional station Real Radio pulled in 406,000 (18%) and the East Midlands station, Heart 106, achieved 350,000 listeners (16%).

Focusing on Scotland, the success story there again comes from Galaxy Scotland (formerly XFM). Galaxy now reaches a total of 391,000 listeners, a 100% increase year on year! This quarter has been better for Total Clyde Radio (Clyde 1 and Clyde 2) in Glasgow as the two stations managed a combined increase on their reach, now delivering 664,000 adults (36%). Smooth Radio in Glasgow also had a little resurgence with its performance figures improving quarter on quarter, up 2.3% to now achieve 220,00 listeners (12%). There was also some good news for Radio Borders, which covers the Selkirk, Berwick, Peebles and Eyemouth areas, as the station increased their reach by 12.2% year on year to now reach 52% of its TSA (total survey area). Real Radio suffered in their performance a little with listener numbers dropping 5.1% year on year.

Classic FM remains the most listened to commercial radio station in the UK with a reach of 5.5 million adults, showing a quarter on quarter increase of 7.4%. Listening figures for talkSPORT have fallen off in the last quarter, dropping 5.1% quarter on quarter, now delivering a reach of 2,368,000 across the UK. Absolute Radio has again lost out on listeners dropping down 6.5% quarter on quarter to reach 1,396,000 adults 15+ across the UK. It’s not all bad news for Absolute though as their total hours across the whole network of stations (including Classic Rock) is up 12.1% quarter on quarter to 14 million. Absolute, always one to be ahead of the game in terms of technology, are to be the first radio station to publish the total number of hours of on-demand content served to listeners on a monthly basis (not via RAJAR) – in April the figure was 744,000.

Digital listening has grown to account for a 24% share of all radio listening, with 38.5% of people claiming to listen to digital radio, either through DAB, DTV, the internet or ‘other’ (e.g. smartphone applications). The latest RAJAR figures recorded 34.5% of adults claiming to live in a household which has a DAB receiver, up from 32% last year. Bauer’s digital stations continue to remain strong in the digital only UK market. The Hits achieves just over 1 million listeners and Smash Hits Radio 853,000 listeners, making them the two most listened to commercial digital only stations. The independently owned, Sony Digital Radio Station of the Year, Planet Rock takes third position achieving year on year growth of 3% and now reaching 694,000 listeners.

The UK’s largest commercial radio group is Global Radio (18.5 million listeners), the owners of the Heart Network of 33 stations which delivers 7.3 million listeners across the UK. Bauer Radio is the second largest commercial group, with 12.3 million reach, GMG Radio reach just short of 5 million people and UTV Radio, including talkSPORT, delivers almost 3.6 million reach.

This will also be the first RAJAR for some new stations… the digital only 80s music radio station, Absolute 80s, is reporting on RAJAR for the very first time and has managed a very respectable reach of 264,000 adults. Star North East, the station created as Durham, Northallerton Radio and Alpha came together, achieved a reach of 52,000 (14%). In Bristol Jack FM, formerly known as Original, achieved a reach of 21,000 (4%) and Peterborough’s Connect FM, formerly Lite FM, achieved a reach of 18,000 (10%).

Sunrise Radio, which broadcasts in London on analogue and across the UK via digital (online and DAB) has shown a year on year decrease of 6.1% to achieve a reach of 444,000. In their first RAJAR reporting as a national DAB radio station Panjab Radio delivered 172,000 listeners.

Finally, listening to the radio via a mobile phone should also be mentioned as 12.6% of adults and over 30% of 15-24s claim to listen in this way. Many radio stations are now providing smartphone apps to enhance the mobile phone listening experience. While podcasts are also proving very popular – Absolute Radio alone had 1.8 million podcasts downloaded in April.