RAJAR Q1 13 – Opinion Piece

Hi All

This quarter I gave my opinion on the latest radio listening figures through a number of ways, including; a live twitter Q&A (#SimonSays), an opinion piece in MediaWeek, and, by answering the questions below…

1. What will RAJAR Q1 2013 be remembered for?
A poor set of results for Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1 whose results were down 1.3 million listeners compared to Chris Moyles’ results for the corresponding quarter last year.

2. Which radio station is your RAJAR hero?
XFM London! The station is up a massive 40% Year on Year and 29% Quarter on Quarter in a very competitive marketplace to now deliver 574,000 weekly listeners. The new breakfast show host Jon Holmes has also performed well in his first set of figures for the stations with features such as ‘Miles Away’ obviously going down well with listeners.

3. What station really surprised you this quarter?
Well, if I’m allowed to have more than one I’d go for Capital Yorkshire who recorded their highest ever reach of 1.13 million, and, 106 Jack FM in Bristol who recorded their strongest hours (724,000) and reach (125,000).

4. How would you describe digital radios results?
It’s been another good RAJAR for digital listening with increases in both reach and share. Half of the country’s population (49.6%) are now tuning in to radio via digital means every week, and with 23 million adults having access to a DAB receiver it’s no surprise that this is the most popular way of listening to digital. In terms of share of listening hours, digital has reached an all-time high and now accounts for 34.3% of all listening. And, it’s also good to see listening via online/apps grow to a 5% share. This growth is no doubt as a result of initiatives like UK RadioPlayer, Absolute’s Instream and the many radio station apps which can all provide advertisers with additional opportunities to reach listeners.

5. How did the London breakfast shows compare?
When considering the London marketplace for commercial radio it is Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon on Capital that take the crown as King and Queen, delivering over 1 million listeners to their show which airs between 6-10am – even beating Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw in London (but he didn’t have the best of times). Another Global owned radio station, Heart London, stormed in to second place with their first set of figures since introducing Emma Bunton as co-host for Jamie Theakstone adding a whopping 120,000 listeners to their previous quarter’s results now delivering 768,000 (6-9am). Close behind is Neil Fox’s Magic 105.4 breakfast show on 765,000 (5-9am). Poor results for the Kiss breakfast show team of Rickie, Melvin and Charlie have seen them drop down to fourth position on 651,000 listeners (6-9am), whilst the Christian O’Connell breakfast show on Absolute Radio performed well increasing to 636,000 listeners (6-10am)

6. What’s your favourite fact this quarter?
From a national point of view my favourite fact is… Commercial radio’s chart show, the Vodafone Big Top 40, is now listened to by over 2.2 million people each week – more than 1 million listeners than Radio 1’s chart show. And on a local level I’ve got to go for this fact… Sun FM have beaten all competition in Sunderland (including BBC) and are now the undisputed number one station delivering higher reach and share than all their competitors in the area.

7. Describe Q1 2013 in one word…
Stats! How about one sentence instead? Nick Grimshaw and Radio 1’s loss is commercial radio’s gain.

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

RAJAR Q1 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 in Digital Listening with 311 million listening hours and 45% of the population tuning in to the radio via any digital platform.

RAJAR, the radio audience survey, shows that 90% of people in the UK listen to the radio every week. Commercial Radio reaches over 33 million listeners and achieves a listener share of 42.3% versus the BBC’s 55.4%. On a local level commercial radio completely dominates the BBC delivering 26.5 million listeners compared to the BBC’s 9.9 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 with a 4.1% year on year increase taking them to a reach of 2,269,000 listeners. Magic 105.4 has dropped off slightly in terms of reach down to 1,963,000. However, in terms of listening share Magic has grown their hours to take top position from Capital with a share of 6.1%. Going back to the reach table, strong improvements from Kiss sees them move above Heart London to take third position. The Sony Award winning station Kiss FM delivered a year on year increase of 7.5% to achieve 1,958,000 weekly listeners – a share of 5.1% and places them at third in the share table. With 1.9 million listeners per week Heart London is in fourth place in terms of reach but poor listening hours has seen the station drop to fifth place with a share of only 4.4%. After recent strong results, LBC have had a poor quarter, seeing their reach drop to 867,000 and the share drop to 4.6%. The national station Classic FM also reports London only figures and delivered 1.1 million listeners with a share of 3.5%.

LONDON BREAKFAST: The much talked about ‘battle of the breakfast shows’ has been won by Capital London, with 1,265,000 listeners to their show from 6-10. This is the first set of results for Capital London since a change to the line-up saw Dave Berry replace Johnny Vaughan as Lisa Snowdon’s co-host on the breakfast show, so they will no doubt be very happy to retain the number one position despite a slight drop over last quarter’s results. Neil Fox’s Magic Breakfast Show (5-9am) has retained second place with 793,000. Whilst Jamie and Harriet on Heart London (6-9am) have jumped up to third position with a reach of 759,000 weekly listeners. Kiss Breakfast with Rickie, Melvin & Charlie (6-9am) this week won a Sony Gold Award for their show but unfortunately failed to grow their audience, achieving only 750,000 weekly listeners. This is still some way ahead of the fifth and sixth placed London Breakfast shows, LBC (561,000) and Absolute Radio Network London (532,000).

REGIONAL REVIEW: Briefly looking around the regions; Liverpool appears to be the place to be if you want to listen to award winning radio. At this week’s Sony Radio Academy Awards – the radio Oscars – two local stations in the city both brought home Gold Awards. Radio City won the station of the year award for a population of over one million, and the micro station Juice FM won the station of the year award for a population fewer than one million. In terms of listening figures, they also delivered some strong results. Juice posted an increase of 9,000 listeners’ quarter on quarter to now reach 204,000 (21%), with Radio City reaching 447,000 (25%). And both stations showed an increase in listening hours. Outside of Liverpool there are a couple of stations whose RAJAR results that cannot be overlooked – Channel 103 & Island FM in Jersey and Guernsey respectively. This quarter, Island reached 49% of the population and Channel an amazing 58% reach of its available population – so if you want to advertise to people in the Channel Islands radio is a great way to reach the audience.

NATIONAL STATIONS: Classic FM remains the most listened to (single) commercial radio station in the UK. Despite a positive quarter the station is down over 10% year on year, with a reach of 5.4 million adults. Keeping a focus on the national analogue stations – talkSPORT, another Sony Award winner (for Best Sports Programme) improved their reach again and now delivers over 3.2 million listeners, while Absolute Radio remained around the 1.6 million mark. The Total Absolute Radio Network, which this quarter added Absolute Radio 60s and 70s to its stable of decade stations, has improved their results quarter on quarter, and now deliver almost 3 million listeners (2,978,000).

NETWORK STATIONS: The network radio stations which have become a feature of the UK radio industry over the past couple of years have posted some good results this quarter. The largest commercial radio network in the country is Global’s Heart Network which delivers over 7.4 million listeners, closely followed by the Capital Network on 7 million listeners. Kiss UK has delivered 4.3 million, Magic UK 3.6 million, Smooth Radio UK 3.3 million, and Total Real Radio 2.5 million.

DIGITAL RADIO: Digital listening has grown to account for a 29.2% share of all radio listening, with a weekly reach of 45.1% of people listening to digital radio, either through DAB, DTV, the internet or ‘other’. The latest RAJAR figures recorded 22 million adults (44.6%) claiming to live in a household which has a DAB receiver. The number one commercial, digital only, radio station in the UK is now The Hits with over one million listeners (1,081,000). Also owned by Bauer, Smash Hits has dropped to second place with 991,000. Planet Rock increased their reach 6.2% quarter on quarter to take third position with a reach of 861,000; with Absolute Radio 80s reaching 857,000 to achieve fourth and Heat Radio delivering 716,000. This is the first set of results for the recently launched Absolute Radio 60s and Absolute Radio 70s, both stations helped the Absolute business to post their highest audience figures for almost 10 years with 60’s achieving 151,000 and 70s delivering 157,000 weekly reaching.

GROUP PERFORMANCE: The UK’s largest commercial radio group is Global Radio (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. GMG Radio has delivered 5.5 million weekly reach whilst UTV Radio, owners of talkSPORT, reach 4,461,000 listeners.

TARGETED STATIONS: Premier Christian Radio, broadcasting in London on analogue and across the UK via digital (online and DAB) now achieves a reach of 153,000. And there have also been quarter on quarter increases across Kismat Radio and Buzz Asia in London, delivering 105,000 and 119,000 respectively. Sunrise Radio has seen a slight drop quarter on quarter to 457,000 weekly reach.

MOBILE LISTENING: Finally onto mobile listening – RAJAR shows that 16.9% of adults and 32.8% 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 provide advertisers with an additional point of contact. An upcoming RAB / Other Lines Of Enquiries study into mobile radio listening is expected to show some interesting results.

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 Simon@RadioWorks.co.uk


RAJAR Q3 2011 – Comment

It’s great to see Digital Radio listening figures up. There has been quite a lot of debate in the radio industry, and the press, recently about the future of digital radio (particularly DAB) but the improved listening figures show that people are tuning in. Almost two in five of the population has access to a DAB radio receiver and the introduction of the UK Radio Player has helped see an increase in internet listening as well – now accounting for a 3.7% share of all listening hours.

There are likely to be a few celebrations over at Leicester Square today as the team at Global Radio celebrates strong results for both Heart London and Capital London, especially with Johnny and Lisa’s breakfast taking the number one spot yet again. Those at GMG should also be celebrating as their programming changes at Smooth have seen positive results across the UK and massive increase of almost 26%  on Smooth Radio London.

Finally, Absolute 80s deserve a huge amount of credit as they take the number one digital commercial title with over one million listeners – an improvement of 13.9% quarter on quarter! All eyes will now be on Absolute Radio to see how the launches of their 60s and 70s stations perform.

All the latest RAJAR Analysis can be found at http://www.radioworks.co.uk/rajar-analysis

RAJAR Q3 2010 – Comment

At a time when iPods, iPhones, and iPads seem to be taking over the world this quarter’s RAJAR results have been great for Radio as almost 91% of the entire population are tuning in every week! And this growth has mainly been boosted by the Commercial Radio sector as stations grow their audience.
talkSPORT have helped to drive this growth with an outstanding performance during quarter three. Their highest ever set of figures of almost 3 million weekly listeners were no doubt boosted by the World Cup finals but it would be great to see the station sustain the figures into the next quarter. Absolute Radio have also delivered their best set of figures since the re-brand from Virgin, aided by Absolute 80s bringing in over half a million listeners.
And here’s a thought for you…. today it was announced that ITV’s Daybreak show achieved 530,000 viewers. Did you know that there are six stations in London alone whose breakfast shows have more listeners than that!