RAJAR Q2 2012 – Headlines and Comment

A few headlines from this quarter’s RAJAR results…

  • 46% of the population listen to Digital Radio every week
  • Capital hold on to the number one spot in London, with their breakfast show also finishing on top
  • Bauer take the top two digital only commercial station spots in terms of reach with Smash Hits and The Hits

And here is some comment…

The Digital Radio community are going to be very pleased with these RAJAR results as listening hours are up, now accounting for 31.5% of all hours listened. The listening reach is also up – 46% of adults listen every week. Digital only stations Planet Rock and Jazz FM both deserve a mention after posting reach increases and strong listening hours from Planet Rock see them crowned ‘the UKs most listened to commercial digital only station’. Whilst we’re talking about Digital, Absolute deserve a pat on the back as a massive 71% of the Absolute Radio Network listening is via a digital platform.

Overall growth for the Absolute Radio Network should be something the recently rebranded Free Radio stations can take heart from. Although it has been a difficult first quarter for the Free Radio stations they can look to the experience of Absolute who, after rebranding from Virgin Radio, took a while to rebuild their reach. So far the listener and advertiser feedback on Free Radio has been positive so now could be a good time for clients to explore the possibilities offered by these stations.

(Source: RAJAR Q2 2012)

Simon Pearce is Head of Insight at radio advertising specialists RadioWorks and Maple Street Studios


RAJAR Q2 2012

Hi All,

Here’s my full RAJAR update for Quarter 1 2012 – if this is a little too much, check out my comments which I will be posting shortly.


It’s been another good quarter for digital listening! This quarter saw an increase, with 326 million listening hours, and 46% of the population tuning in to the radio via any digital platform up from 45% last quarter.

RAJAR, the radio audience survey, shows that 89% of people in the UK listen to the radio every week. Commercial radio reaches over 33 million listeners and achieves an increased listener share of 43.3% versus the BBC’s 54.3%. On a local level commercial radio completely dominates the BBC, delivering 26.3 million listeners compared to the BBC’s 8.9 million for local and regional services.

LONDON LISTENING: In the London marketplace Capital London has held on to the number one spot in terms of reach; despite a drop in listener numbers they still deliver a reach of 2,072,000 adult listeners.  However, in terms of listening share it is Heart London which has shown strong quarter on quarter growth to take the top position with 5.3%.  Going back to the reach table, Magic 105.4 have maintained their reach from the previous quarter delivering 1,951,000, and Heart London (1,798,000) has held off Kiss 100 (1,740,000) to take third position. A 22.2% quarter on quarter growth to 974,000 from Total Absolute Radio (London) has seen them take fifth position in terms of reach with LBC (809,000) dropping to sixth. Note: It is possible to measure Classic FM by its London only transmitter, which delivers 1,269,000.

LONDON BREAKFAST: The much talked about ‘battle of the breakfast shows’ has again been won by Capital Radio London, with 1,156,000 listeners to their show from 6-10am. This is the second set of results for Capital Radio since a change to the line-up saw Dave Berry replace Johnny Vaughan as Lisa Snowdon’s co-host on the breakfast show, and although their reach has dropped slightly, they will no doubt be happy to retain the number one spot.  Neil Fox’s Magic Breakfast Show (5-9am) has retained second place with 760,000 listeners, whilst Kiss Breakfast with Rickie, Melvin & Charlie (6-9am) have managed to achieve third position with 735,000 weekly listeners – beating Jamie and Harriet on Heart London (6-9am) who achieved 734,000 listeners.

NEW STATIONS: This is the first RAJAR for a number of rebranded stations, with the biggest change being the Orion Media owned, Midlands based, Free Radio stations. Previously reporting as BRMB, Mercia, Wyvern and Beacon, the stations are now part of the Free Radio Network. We often see poor results when stations first rebrand, with listeners getting used to the new name and station and Free Radio has proved no different, dropping from a combined reach of 801,000 to 708,000. Exeter FM also dropped slightly in reach after their rebrand to Radio Exe,but going from 28,000 to 25,000 won’t phase them too much. Eagle Extra, previously County Sound, appears to have bucked the trend, increasing their weekly reach from 6,000 to 13,000. As have Heart Cornwall – previously 105-107 Atlantic FM – who joined the massive Heart Network and increased their weekly reach from 66,000 to 68,000.

REGIONAL REVIEW: Briefly looking around the regions; Isle of Wight Radio, recent winner of the Arqiva Station of the Year (for under 300,000 TSA), have posted strong weekly reach figures of 36,000 listeners, 30% of the available population. In Harrogate (North Yorkshire), Stray FM has seen positive quarter on quarter growth, delivering 47,000 listeners (33%) up 3,000 listeners on the previous results. And, if you’re heading down to Weymouth to see the Olympic Sailing, why not tune in to Wessex FM who have posted a weekly reach of 40% (47,000 weekly listeners).

NATIONAL STATIONS: Classic FM remains the most listened to (single) commercial radio station in the UK. The station has maintained its reach of 5.4 million adults with listeners tuning in for an average of 6.4 hours. Keeping a focus on the national analogue stations – talkSPORT held on to second place despite not being able to continue their record reach of previous quarters, achieving 2.9 million weekly listeners. While Absolute Radio (National + London) managed improved results, up 9.4% quarter on quarter to 1,763,000. Note: Kiss UK, who broadcast across the UK via online, digital TV and on a number of DAB transmitters plus three regional FM licenses have achieved 4.3 million listeners, while Smooth Radio, who also broadcast nationally on DAB and have several regional licences (with local content in Scotland), has delivered figures of 3.2 million weekly adult listeners.

NETWORK STATIONS: The network radio stations which have become a feature of the UK radio industry over the past couple of years have again delivered some big numbers this quarter. The largest commercial radio network in the country is Global’s Heart Network which delivers almost 7.4 million listeners, closely followed by the Capital Network on just under 7 million listeners. Kiss UK has delivered 4.3 million, Magic UK 3.7 million, Smooth Radio UK 3.2 million, and Real Radio UK 2.4 million.

Note: As the UK radio marketplace changes there is some convergence between national and network stations. Whilst the lines are becoming blurred, RadioWorks define network stations as those which have locally produced content, whilst national stations have the same output right across the country and are also available on a mainstream national transmitter (Analogue Radio or Digital Radio).

DIGITAL RADIO: Digital listening has grown to account for a 31.5% share of all radio listening, with 46% of people now listening to digital radio, either through DAB, DTV, the internet or ‘other’. The latest RAJAR figures recorded that 21.8 million adults (41.7%) claim to live in a household which has a DAB receiver. The number one commercial, digital only radio station in the UK is now Smash Hits Radio, with over one million listeners (1,011,000). Also owned by Bauer, The Hits has dropped to second place with 973,000. Planet Rock increased their reach again by 10.1% quarter on quarter to take third position with a reach figure of 948,000. Absolute Radio 80s delivered 864,000 listeners to achieve fourth place with Heat Radio delivering 713,000.

GROUP PERFORMANCE: The UK’s largest commercial radio group is Global Radio (delivering a total of 19.3 million listeners), thanks in part to the strength of its three core brands Classic FM, Heart and Capital. Bauer Radio with their Place and Passion Portfolios is the second largest commercial group, with a total reach of 13.3 million adults. GMG Radio, who are now a part of Global Radio (subject to confirmation from the competitions commission)has delivered a 5.5 million weekly reach, whilst UTV Radio, owners of talkSPORT, reaches 4.3 million listeners.

TARGETED STATIONS: Premier Christian Radio, broadcasting in London on analogue and across the UK via digital (online and DAB) have improved their quarter on quarter reach and now deliver 172,000 listeners every week. There has also been quarter on quarter increases for Sunrise Radio (London) who reach 286,000 weekly listeners.

MOBILE LISTENING: RAJAR shows that 18% of adults and 35% of 15-24’s now claim to listen to radio on their mobile phone. Nearly all the UK’s radio stations are providing smartphone apps to enhance the mobile listening experience, and providing advertisers with an additional point of contact. A recent RAB / Other Lines Of Enquiries study into mobile radio listening showed 32% of 16-34 year olds have listened to radio via mobile (at some stage), and 20% listen at least once a week.

That’s it from me for now. If you have any questions on RAJAR, or if you would like any further information, please feel free to contact your RadioWorks representative or alternatively email meSimon@RadioWorks.co.uk


Simon Pearce is Head of Insight at radio advertising specialists RadioWorks and Maple Street Studios