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


Absolute Radio: Redefining Radio

Had a very interesting morning today thanks to Absolute Radio who invited me and a few RadioWorks colleagues along to their Redefining Radio conference at Portcullis House, just across the road from the countries seat of power. Speakers for the event included Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications & Creative Industries, Karla Geci from Facebook, the BBC’s Tim Davie, Rohan Oomen from Xbox Live and Absolute Radio’s Clive Dickens, James Wigley, Geoff Lloyd and Dave Gorman.

If you don’t have time to read this full post skip to my summary at the bottom 🙂

The general message from all the speakers was that of positivity – radio listening is still growing and currently reaches 91% of the UK population was a stat rolled out by at least three of the speakers. Ed Vaizey told us how neither video or technology killed the Radio star, despite many predictions of its demise. Whilst Clive Dickens reminded us of how non-traditional radio is growing and commented on the changes the internet is having on the medium.

It seems to me that the World Wide Web really is ‘wide’ and can offer plenty of opportunities for Radio Output (or should that be Audio?). Radio stations are already making good use of Facebook in terms of listener interaction and services like Spotify and the UK RadioPlayer are telling all our friends what we’re listening to.

One of radio’s strengths is the sense of community that comes from being a listener. It is this sense of community that Xbox Live has developed with its users and what Facebook thrives off of. The challenge for radio, as defined by Absolute, is ‘Broadcasting one to many (to their community) whilst advertising one to one’. The answer? Well, according to Clive Dickens and James Wigley from Absolute, the answer is in-stream advertising. Encouraging listeners to sign up to an Absolute Radio account provides the station with rich listener data while the listener benefits from additional services and less, more relevant messages. RadioWorks are currently testing the in-stream advertising with one of our clients so if you’re interested in further information please contact us.

For me the best speaker of the morning was the BBC’s Director of Audio and Music, Tim Davie. Tim echoed the message of positivity around radio and mentioned that ‘listeners relationship with radio is the strongest of any media’. For further growth in the radio sector Tim pointed us towards improved creativity and innovations via partnerships – with the UK Radio Player cited as a good example of how this has worked in recent times.

The conference was wrapped up by writer, broadcaster and general funny man Dave Gorman who made two great points…

  1. A conversation is an interaction between two people, it doesn’t matter if it’s through twitter or across the airways – engaging with your audience / your community and speaking with them is what works
  2. People don’t care how they are listening (if it’s via the web, mobile, or AM) what they care about is that they are listening at all – and enjoying it (hopefully)

If you want to hear a great conversation in action I can definitely recommend his radio show, Sunday’s from 10am on Absolute Radio

So, in summary what have I taken away from this morning’s conference?

  • Radio is currently in a very strong position and has continued to grow despite the rise of new technologies
  • Radio needs to constantly adapt in order to have continued success – embracing creativity and technological developments whilst providing more targeted advertising opportunities
  • Radio needs to remember its core strengths and not lose sight of where it’s come from. Retain the sense of community, engage with the audience and keep them entertained.

Thanks for your time.


PS > More information and twitter feed from today’s conference can be found on Absolute Radio’s blog http://onegoldensquare.com/

What is ‘Digital Radio’?

Everyone’s talking about it but what do we mean by the term Digital Radio?

For the most part, when people are referring to Digital Radio they are talking about DAB Digital Radio. However, from the Radio Audience Listening figures (RAJAR) point of view Digital Radio consists of a number of different Digital Platforms. Below, I take a look at the break down of the Digital Radio listening figures…

Digital Radio listening, across all platforms, currently (RAJAR Q3 2011) achieves a weekly share of 28.2% and a weekly reach of 43.9%

DAB Radio – These are the actual digital set receivers, 39.4% of adults claim to have a DAB at home. DAB listening equates to a 18% share of all listening hours but also achieves 26.8% share of all weekly reach.

Digital TV (DTV) – There are many stations (mostly Bauer Passion Portfolio) available via DTV, they can be found towards the end of the Freeview programme guide. DTV listening is 4.7% share and 14.3% reach

Internet listening – The new industry initiative, Radio Player, has helped increase the online listening of radio stations and recently announced over 6 million unique users in a month. As a single station Absolute Radio lead the way in online listening. Internet listening has a 3.7% share and a weekly reach of 10.4%

Smartphones – 85% of stations have a smartphone application and recent data shows that 2.2 million people have downloaded a radio application. Unfortunately listening via smartphones is not specifically measured by RAJAR, however, respondents are asked if they have ever listened to radio via a mobile phone, to which 15.8% of Adults and 32.4% of 15-24s have responded positively.

Some more Digital facts

  • There are 13 National stations available on DAB
  • There are 150 radio services on DAB (note: a lot of these services which are replicated across more than one area, such as Kiss being available in Scotland as well as London, etc)
  • 32% of adults have now listened to the radio via the web (ever)
  • Podcasts can also come under the ‘digital’ remit and 8.1 million people claim to have downloaded a podcast
  • Games consoles which are connected to the net are giving listeners access to Internet Radio

For further information on Digital Radio Advertising why not contact the specialists at www.RadioWorks.co.uk

(Source: RAJAR Q3 2011)