National stations Capital, Absolute Radio and Planet Rock have reason to celebrate this quarter with improved listening figures.
It’s not the same story for all of our national brands though.
The Absolute Radio Network has grown its listeners to 3.2 million, having hit 3m last quarter. Absolute Radio itself has also grown to 1.8 million – the highest in four years.
At Heart, the London station records a share of 5.3% – the highest commercial station in the capital – and more listeners than Radio 1 in its TSA. Nationally, the brand is down on the previous quarter, down 1.4% to 7.38 million.
The newest Heart station in Cornwall, a re-branded Atlantic FM, has seen a slight increase in listeners this quarter, although down year-on-year.
Hit music network Capital continues to make various impressions in the regions, with Capital Scotland celebrating its highest ever reach, adding 35,000 new listeners per week. Capital Manchester beats Key 103 with 66,000 more listeners in the last quarter, now reaching 519,000, and Capital Birmingham adds 39,000 new listeners and enjoys its highest ever market share at 9%.
Xfm is up this quarter in both Manchester and London. 104.9 added a few Londoners whilst the northern version grew from 153,000 listeners to 211,000 – taking it back to where it was for the last two quarters.
Regional stations in the North West, the North East and Scotland have seen some of their lowest ever figures – with the former Century stations now on half the amount of listeners they once had. Real Yorkshire and Wales remain steady, whilst sister stations Real Radio XS in both Glasgow and Manchester recorded their highest ever figures.
Although operated as one station, Smooth Radio’s figures are spread across various regions and show vastly different results – with 102.2 recording its lowest ever on the frequency at 385,000 listeners, to another record high figure on 100.4 in the North West of 886,000. Smooth Radio nationally remained around the 3.2m mark.
With three regional FM’s and quasi-national DAB coverage, Kiss is maintaining its audience of 4.3m weekly listeners. Kiss East and West went up but Kiss 100 dropped along with most other London stations.
Free Radio in the West Midlands launches with over 700,000 listeners and 5.6m listening hours, with a market share of 7.4%. Compared to Orion Media’s grouping of former stations BRMB, Mercia, Wyvern and Beacon, this figure is up by a tenth year-on-year.
Orion Media’s Chief Executive, Phil Riley, said: “This is a solid start for the new brand, after this most significant of changes from their old names with their heritage of decades.
Given our marketing campaign only began in the final seven weeks of this 25 week survey, we are confident in our strategy; as suggested by audience loyalty (time spent listening) rising to its highest figure since our West Midlands FM figures were first published two years ago. Our total listening has also climbed by 8% in the year.”
Planet Rock is up again – the station’s weekly reach has increased to 948,000, up 10.7% year on year (10.1% quarter on quarter).