With 3.328m weekly listeners, Smooth Radio now has a bigger reach across the UK than national UTV station talkSPORT.
The station’s reach is up nine percent (275,000 listeners) in the last year, while sister network Real Radio has also posted a record audience size.
Total hours at Smooth – which has five regional FM licences in England and a local one in Scotland as well as appearing on the Digital One DAB multiplex – are up 3.5m in a year to 27.052m which its national share of the audience is 2.5%.
In London, the station posted a 25% increase quarter on quarter to 612,000 – an audience in the capital that’s now bigger than both XFM and Choice. Simon Bates’ breakfast show in London has seen its audience rise to 249,000 in Q3/11 (up from 222,000 last year and 170,000 last quarter) – putting the show ahead of XFM, Gold and BBC London.
Overall, GMG Radio’s audience size is up 9.5% in a year to 5.685m, with just under 50 million listening hours also a record for the group.
Combined reach for the Real Radio stations – which cover Wales, Scotland, Yorkshire, the North West and North East – is up 10% from Q3/10 to 2.607m
In Yorkshire, there’s a five-year high for both reach (371,000) and total hours (3.56m). In the North West, Real posts its highest reach (587,000) since the station re-branded from Century two years ago. And in the North East, Real is up 22k year on year to 323,000, although this is a drop from last quarter’s post-rebrand high of 369k.
In Wales, after debuting at a combined nationwide reach of 471,000 last quarter, Real has added listeners in both the South and the North regions to give a new reach of 495,000 – which GMG point out is higher than BBC Radio Wales’ audience of 479,000.
In Scotland the Real brand has lost 22k this quarter to post a new reach of 626,000. That compares with a weekly audience of 665,000 a year ago.
Both former Rock Radio stations – in Manchester and Glasgow – which have now been rebranded to Real Radio XS saw year-on-year increases in reach but slight drops for this quarter compared with Q2.
GMG Radio Chief Executive Stuart Taylor said: “With the ever increasing pull on people’s time I’m really pleased that a record number are choosing to tune into both Smooth and Real. The GMG Radio stations are now attracting more listening time than ever before. Smooth’s transformation to a national station has proven a huge success and I have no doubt there is more growth to come.”