Go Compare My Radio

So, this week I’ve had the joy of renewing my car insurance for the year. I received my renewal documents in the post and found that they wanted to put my insurance up even though I’ve had no crashes or claims. Of course I went along to the many comparison websites to see if I could get a better deal and sure enough I managed to save myself quite a few quid. Being on these sites reminded me of a website that the techy team over at The OGS Labs (Absolute Radio) developed a while back called Compare My Radio.

Compare My Radio, compares radio stations’ music output and allows users to find out where they are most likely to hear their favourite artists, or how to avoid those really annoying songs. By clicking on my local station, Eagle FM, I can see that over the last 30 days the most played artists are Olly Murs and Bruno Mars, with ‘Stay’ by Rihanna being the most played song. I can also search by artist, so if I really wanted to listen to some Ben Howard I can see that XFM Manchester and XFM London play his tracks the most. The same can also be done for specific tracks. For me, things get really interesting when you start comparing radio stations. Recently Bauer radio bought digital only station Planet Rock and at the time there were a few discussions about its cross-over with their current station Kerrang!. The below chart, taken from Compare My Radio, shows that actually there is very little cross-over between the stations…

Planet Rock v Kerrang

In fact, in the last 30 days, the top ten songs that each station played have been completely different…

Planet Rock v Kerrang 2

There was also talk of potential cross-over between Planet Rock and Q, but a quick search shows that there are only 209 shared tracks between the stations – less than there currently are between Q and Kerrang (348 shared tracks). With this in mind it stands to reason that Planet Rock will sit alongside Q and Kerrang in Bauer’s stable of rock-focused digital stations.

So, the moral to this story is two-fold: Never just renew your car insurance without searching around first and if you want to find out about a radio station’s current playlist before you buy it (or listen to it) you can by going to CompareMyRadio.com

Simon Pearce is the Client Insight Director at audio and radio advertising specialist RadioWorks


My comment on the latest radio listening figures – RAJAR Q4 2012

This quarter’s RAJAR results have been a mixed bag as we see losses on some stations, but big gains on others. In London the top five stations all dropped down quarter on quarter, whilst Choice FM, Smooth and XFM all showed really positive increases. In particular, XFM increased their reach almost 20% to deliver 445,000 weekly adults – and with a whole host of new names, including Jon Holmes taking over the Breakfast Show, there is a real positive buzz around the station.

After flat figures last time around, digital radio listening has fared better this quarter, with 33% of all radio listening now via a digital platform. These figures have been helped by strong performances from a number of stations on digital radio including Jazz FM, who delivered their highest ever hours of 3 million. The BBC’s digital only station, 6 Music, added 1.9 million to the digital listening figures. Bauer’s Heat Radio also helped, by increasing their reach 18% year on year to 767,000, whilst the Absolute Radio and Smooth Radio networks delivered 76% and 45% (respectively) of all their listening via digital platforms.

And I have to say a big well done to Absolute Radio who have improved results across both their main station and the network as a whole, helping them achieve an impressive 11-year high of 3.3 million listeners. It’s not easy to pin down the exact reason for the improvement from a programming point of view but listening figures for the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show have massively improved, whilst their decade stations Absolute Radio 80s, 90s and 00s have also shown year on year improvements. With a potential sale on the horizon, these figures could well increase Absolute’s value.

Here’s a final thought for you: Global Radio’s purchase of Real and Smooth Ltd looks all set to go through later on in the year. When it does, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Real Radio stations rebranded into the Heart network. If that were to happen we could be looking at a reach of almost 10 million weekly listeners!

If you’d like to read my full report on this quarter’s RAJAR it’s available here on the RadioWorks website. And I even got a little bit in MediaWeek / Brand Republic.

Thanks for reading


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

New Year, New Voices on my Radio

It’s the start of a new year and while listening to the radio in London I’ve heard a whole raft of new voices, so I thought I’d give you a quick run-down of a few of them…

Emma Bunton is ‘spicing up’ (please forgive me for that) the Heart London breakfast show alongside Jamie Theakston and after listening in on a few occasions I can report that she is fitting in really well. It’s clear that Emma and Jamie have known each other for a while and there’s good chemistry there. Importantly, Emma doesn’t sound like a pop star who is giving radio a go – unsurprising really as she already has a couple of years of experience from her weekend show. Personally I think getting Emma on board is a great thing for Commercial Radio; she’s a massive name in the world of entertainment and I’m sure advertisers will be clambering to get involved.

XFM have parted company with Danny Wallace and handed the reins of their breakfast show over to Jon Holmes. His name may not be that familiar to some of you, but when I mention he has eight Sony-Awards, two BAFTA’s and three British Comedy awards to his name – as well as co-writing credits on Horrible Histories and Dead Ringers – you’ll probably agree he’s worth trying out. Add in to the mix that he’s also been sacked a couple of times in his career for taking things too far, and it could make for an interesting listening experience!

Also over at XFM, comedian Josh Widdicombe (off TV shows like Mock the Week and 8 out of 10 Cats) started this Saturday 19th January and is on air from 10am-1pm.

If you’ve not heard already, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is bravely/stupidly (delete as appropriate) facing questions from the public on LBC every Thursday morning from 9-9.30am. In The Guardian last week (Thursday 17th January) Steve Bell summed it up like this…

Steve Bell's If ... 17.01.2013

(If you’d like to read more about Clegg on LBC see the RadioWorks news stories)

And finally, a reminder that the next radio listening data results (RAJAR) are being released on Thursday 31st January. RadioWorks will be giving you a full update on the radio marketplace along with any trends or changes that you need to be aware of.


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

RAJAR Q3 2012 – Headlines and Comment

A few headlines from this quarter’s RAJAR results…

  • Magic 105.4 take number one spot in London, recording both the highest reach and the best audience share
  • New digital only station Smooth 70s performs well in its first set of results
  • Capital is the number one breakfast show in London, delivering higher reach than Chris Moyles in his final figures

And here is some comment…

The headlines this RAJAR are no doubt going to  Bauer Radio and Magic 105.4 in particular – and rightly so. Magic 105.4 in London have regained the number one spot in terms of reach, going above 2 million weekly listeners, and a huge increase in listening hours has seen them deliver an impressive market share of 7.3%. Given that this RAJAR period covered the Queen’s Jubilee and Olympics Games, could it be that people were tuning in to the station with its “more music, less talk” policy, to escape the hype?

The National Commercial radio breakfast shows also deserve a mention, after posting some strong figures. Simon Bates’ move from Classic FM to Smooth Radio UK (including Smooth 70s) has helped them post a strong audience, whilst John Suchet who took over the Classic FM morning show has maintained their figures. As they would say, “a big shout out goes to Rickie, Melvin and Charlie on Kiss” as they also posted some strong figures, showing that their show is just as popular outside of London as in it. (Unfortunately the shows are all at different times so it’s unfair to make a direct comparison but if you’d like the figures please do get in touch).

In regards to digital radio, this quarter has seen positive figures for commercial radio, with a record share of 30.7% of listening being via a digital platform – but overall there has been little change. New station Smooth 70s had a great first RAJAR and Jazz FM helped commercial radio’s figures with their highest ever reach (624,000), while Planet Rock retained their high listening hours to be named the ‘most listened to digital commercial station’.

And here is a final thought for you. Global Radio’s purchase of Real and Smooth Ltd looks all set to go through. If / when it does, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Real Radio stations rebranded into the Heart network – if that were to happen we could be looking at a reach of almost 10 million weekly listeners!

(Source: RAJAR Q3 2012)

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

RAJAR Q3 2012 Review

Hi All,

Here’s my full RAJAR update for Quarter 3 2012 – if this is a little too much, check out my comments which I will be posting shortly.


Magic 105.4 becomes the most listened to commercial radio station in London, whilst digital listening figures remain static.

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 a listener share of 43.3% versus the BBC’s 54.2%. On a local level, commercial radio completely dominates the BBC, delivering 26.4 million listeners compared to the BBC’s 8.9 million for local and regional services.

LONDON LISTENING: In the London marketplace the big news is that Magic 105.4 has taken over the number one spot in terms of reach, delivering over 2.1 million weekly listeners. Magic have also delivered in terms of listening share, showing strong quarter on quarter growth to take the top position with a massive 7.3%.  Going back to the reach table, Capital London have dropped to second position after a poor set of results, delivering 1,999,000.  A 12.2% quarter on quarter growth to 1,952,000 from Kiss 100 has helped them jump above Heart London (1,826,000), with LBC (927,000) also up 14% quarter on quarter taking fifth place, whilst poor results for Absolute Radio in London (832,000) saw them drop to sixth. Note: It is possible to measure Classic FM by its London only transmitter, which delivers 1,287,000.

LONDON BREAKFAST: The much talked about ‘battle of the breakfast shows’ has again been won by Capital Radio London, with 1,165,000 listeners to their show from 6-10am. This is the third 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 they will no doubt be proud of their continued reign at the top. Neil Fox’s Magic Breakfast Show (5-9am) has retained second place with improved figures up to 822,000 listeners, whilst Kiss Breakfast with Rickie, Melvin & Charlie (6-9am) have achieved third position with 717,000 weekly listeners – again beating Jamie and Harriet on Heart London (6-9am) who delivered 611,000 listeners.

NEW STATIONS: This is the first RAJAR for one new station and also a number of rebranded stations. Following the lead of Absolute Radio, decade-based stations are in vogue at present, with all the new stations carrying this theme. Smooth 70s, the National digital radio station owned by Real and Smooth Ltd, has delivered 749,000 listeners in its first set of results. Whilst Orion Media has taken the step of rebranding their Midlands-based Gold stations to Free Radio 80s. Previously reporting as Gold Birmingham & Black Country; Coventry & Warwickshire; Shropshire and West Midlands, the stations are now part of the Free Radio 80s Network. Whilst some stations struggle when they go through a rebrand, the Free Radio 80s stations have all had positive results. Covering Swansea and Port Talbot, 102.1 Bay Radio has also become an 80s station – extending the brand of its sister station Nation Radio to become Nation 80s – delivering a reach of 39,000, only slightly down on their previous reach of 40,000.

REGIONAL REVIEW: Briefly looking around the regions; in Norfolk, Norwich 99.9 FM have posted weekly reach figures of 54,000 listeners – 16% of the available population (slightly down from 57,000). In Doncaster (South Yorkshire), Trax FM has seen positive quarter on quarter growth, delivering 98,000 listeners (27%), up from 96,000 listeners (26%) previously, and in South West Wales Radio Pembrokeshire have posted a massive weekly reach of 50% (48,000 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 6.5 hours. Keeping a focus on the national analogue stations: talkSPORT held on to second place recording a reach of 3 million weekly listeners. While Absolute Radio (National + London) delivered results down 12.4% quarter on quarter to 1,544,000. 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 3.19 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 7.3 million listeners, closely followed by the Capital Network on 6.8 million listeners. Kiss UK has delivered 4.3 million, Magic UK 3.8 million, Smooth Radio UK 3.2 million, and Real Radio UK 2.3 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 remained static dropping down slightly to account for a 31.3% share of all radio listening, with 45.6% of people now listening to digital radio, either through DAB, DTV, the internet or ‘other’. The latest RAJAR figures recorded that 22 million adults (42%) claim to live in a household which has a DAB receiver. The number one commercial, digital only radio station in the UK remains Smash Hits Radio, with almost one million listeners (970,000). Absolute  80s have jumped up to second place with 895,000 weekly reach, going above The Hits which has dropped down to 893,000. Planet Rock also dropped off slightly reaching 864,000 listeners whilst in their first RAJAR Smooth 70s delivered impressive results of 749,000.

GROUP PERFORMANCE: The UK’s largest commercial radio group is Global Radio (delivering a total of 19.2 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. Real and Smooth Ltd. (previously GMG Radio), who are now a part of Global Radio (subject to confirmation from the Competitions Commission) has delivered a 5.8 million weekly reach, whilst UTV Radio, owners of talkSPORT, reaches 4.2 million listeners.  Absolute Radio, and its network of decade-based stations, have dropped off slightly after their record listening figures of the previous quarter, and now deliver 2.9 million weekly reach figures. It is also worth noting that when Global’s purchase of Real and Smooth Ltd goes through, the group could be posting figures in the region of up to 25 million listeners.

TARGETED STATIONS: Premier Christian Radio, broadcasting in London on analogue and across the UK via digital (online and DAB) have dropped off slightly on last quarter’s reach, now delivering 164,000 listeners every week. There has also been a slight drop quarter on quarter for Sunrise Radio (London) who reach 282,000 weekly listeners.

MOBILE LISTENING: RAJAR shows that 18% of adults and 34% of 15-24’s now claim to listen to radio on their mobile phone, and nearly all the UK’s radio stations are providing smartphone apps to enhance the mobile listening experience. The UK’s online radio consolidation platform, RadioPlayer, has also released an iPhone app, with versions for other formats to follow. .

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 email me Simon@RadioWorks.co.uk


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

Radio Stations and Social Media

Here’s my first attempt at an Infographic… check it out…

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

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