Our quarterly trip around the latest RAJAR figures starts with Absolute Radio and their last set of figures under previous ownership.
The network of stations has added 590,000 listeners year on year, taking its total to 3.8m. The main Absolute Radio station on FM in London and AM nationwide has just under 2 million listeners, up 10% since this time last year.
Breakfast presenter Christian O’Connell has achieved a record high of 1.53 million reach, up 7.5% year on year.
Absolute 80s is also doing well, now 1.171 million listeners across the UK on digital radio.
Absolute Radio Content Director, Tony Moorey commented: “The Absolute Radio Network has added 590,000 listeners ensuring our third record breaking quarter in a row – a huge achievement. The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show also rounds off a fantastic quarter, making history at the Sony’s and then going on to achieve yet another record audience”.
talkSPORT has achieved its highest ever audience – the station now has a record 3.25 million listeners – an 11% increase on the previous quarter and on the year. In addition, total hours have increased to 19.4 million.
Liam Fisher, talkSPORT Programme Director, said: “Our continued investment in live sports rights, in breaking the biggest sports news, and exclusive interviews has proved a winning formula and I’m thrilled that this is represented by our highest number of listeners ever.”
Classic FM adds 134,000 listeners over the past 12 months, with 5.6m listeners tuning in every week, the highest in two years, with year on year growth for all daytime programming.
At BBC Local Radio in England, overall reach came in at 7.2m – directionally up on last year and stable on last quarter. Mark Forrest‘s new network evening show has delivered the lowest ever reach and share for that timeslot.
Most BBC stations have held their figures from last quarter, however BBC Radio Guernsey, BBC Radio Stoke and BBC Radio Lancashire have seen a noticeable drop in year on year figures.
BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, BBC Radio Cornwall, BBC Radio Cumbria meanwhile are all celebrating a significant increase.
BBC Radio Manchester has recovered from its ‘dip’ in hours last quarter but hours remain behind where they was a year ago.
David Holdsworth, Controller, English Regions, said: “It’s encouraging to see that the figures for BBC Local Radio in England for this quarter remain steady, with the overall reach up on this time last year. This demonstrates that we remain valued by our listeners, and we’ll continue to provide quality local public service broadcasting to develop listener growth in the long term.”
The Vodafone Big Top 40, operated by Global Radio and syndicated across the UK, has added an extra 250,000 listeners. It has 1.2m more listeners than the Radio 1 Chart Show.
Xfm’s Total Hours appear to have dropped significantly this quarter, but on closer inspection it puts the figure back to where it was a year ago. The London station now has just under 2m total hours compared with just under 3m last quarter.
In the Midlands, Free Radio’s weekly reach is up quarter on quarter but down year-on-year on most frequencies, significantly in Coventry where the station is at an all-time low of 13% reach. Gem 106 in the East Midlands however is up on reach and hours since Q2, 2012.
At Bauer, TFM has seen an increase in weekly reach of 4,000 year on year and 21,000 this quarter. Part way through the last survey period the station started taking all programmes from Metro Radio in Newcastle. Total Hours are also up compared with Q2 2012.
Metro meanwhile reached 386,000 listeners in the quarter, up 3.2% year on year. Clyde 1 in Glasgow continues to grow, reaching 584,000 listeners, up 10.6% since last year and Hallam FM recorded its best performance for nine years, reaching 431,000 listeners.
Kerrang! Radio finished life in Birmingham with 1.3m listeners on FM and digital.
Key 103 on the other hand has seen its worst results ever, dropping almost 100,000 listeners to 406,000.
In Scotland, Bauer Radio Scotland delivered a weekly audience of 1.7million Scottish listeners, reaching 40% of the available adult listening audience.
Dee Ford, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Media, said: “Our continued focus on product excellence and investment in content is driving this success across our stations.”
UKRD stations are continuing to hold steady. Yorkshire Coast Radio has seen a significant increase, with reach up 22% year on year it gives the station its best ever weekly reach at 42%.
Chris Sigsworth, Managing Director says “The whole team have worked incredibly hard to achieve these figures. We are proud to produce proper local radio to a great part of the country, and these figures confirm that the audience is loving what we are
William Rogers, CEO of the group said: “We’ve had a cracking set of results which underscores our strategy of delivering genuinely local radio to the communities our stations serve. The more locally focussed our stations are, the better they do. That’s our strategy and there’ll be even more to come in the year ahead.”
Radio Wave in Blackpool has posted a 36% growth year on year and 23% gains quarter on quarter. The station has also shown gains in the number of listeners, with a quarter on quarter increase of 15% and a year on year growth of 13%.
UTV’s Yorkshire stations Pulse and Pulse 2 achieved growth in hours, posting an uplift of 12% quarter on quarter and 10% year on year. They have also shown an increase in the number of people tuning in, with a growth of 5% in listener reach year on year.
South Wales stations, Swansea Sound and The Wave, have made gains in both hours and reach, showing an increase of 8% in hours both year on year and quarter on quarter. The stations have posted an increase in listeners of 6% year on year and 7% quarter on quarter.
Iain Fowler, Director of Local Radio for UTV Media (GB), said: “These figures are extremely pleasing as they show the resilience of UTV’s local stations in a competitive and difficult market. Our local stations all play an integral part in their communities, raising money for local charities and organising events and we are proud that this has translated into making them an even better prospect for listeners and advertisers alike.”
Belfast’s Citybeat increased listening hours to nearly 1.2 million – a 100% increase quarter on quarter and 66% year on year. Radio Ceredigion increased reach by 84% and hours by 83% year on year and Jack FM in Swindon turned in a record 110,000 listening hours. Up 64% quarter on quarter.