Across the UK, 90% of the population are tuning in to radio, meaning 48.1 million adults listen each week.
The figure is slightly down on last quarter by 270,000 people, but the figure remains consistent. The gap between commercial and BBC radio is also getting smaller, with commercial radio growing to 43.2% and BBC dropping to 53.3%.
For our look around the local and regional stations, we start in the Midlands with Orion Media. Free Radio Birmingham is down year on year but still hovering around the 400,000 mark, Coventry is up but Shropshire is down.
Total listening (for Free FM + Free 80s combined) grew by 15% and the number of listeners also increased, by 4% over the same period, with 734,000 people tuning in every week. Phil Riley, CEO of Orion Media: “We’re pleased with the results. Clearly, our award-winning presenters, music mix and personality are engaging the audience.”
In Rugby, Rugby FM has hit a recent low with a 21% decrease in listeners year on year. The station has gone from a 33% reach to a 25% reach over 12 months but this only equates to 5,000 listeners.
Star Radio North East has seen a drop in the North of its TSA, with reach going from 12% to 8%, but the South area is up from 17% to 19% in the year.
In Yorkshire, recently rebranded Pulse 1 is down 20% reach year on year, whilst share has also dropped 27% in the last 12 months. Yorkshire Coast Radio, on the opposite side of the county, has achieved its highest ever reach at 46%, and audience share is also up 20%.
Across UTV’s network of local stations, Juice FM in Liverpool gains a listener increase of 25% year on year but it’s a different story at Signal 107 where the station has halved its audience year on year, and reach now stands at 2%.
Iain Fowler, Director of Local Radio for UTV Media (GB), said: “The stations are all vital to their communities, and I’ve no doubt that they will continue to be a very good proposition for listeners and advertisers alike.”
In the North West, independent station The Revolution is continuing its roller coaster RAJAR ride, down 27% year on year from 34,000 listeners to 25,000. Share and hours are also down. In the last few years the station has seen a peak of 52,000 listeners and a low of 17,000.
It’s an interesting picture in Scotland with Northsound Two going from 18% reach to 10% reach in a year. Clyde 2 is also down, 20% in reach in the last 12 months.
Moving south to The Breeze and most stations showed strong growth for Celador, while The Breeze in South Somerset/North Dorset/West Somerset posted a 19% weekly reach, up from 12% a year ago, with a strong 13.6 average hours of listening – the second highest average hours figure in UK commercial radio.
Celador’s three JACK fm stations continue to perform and now account for over 80% of all listening to the UK’s six Jack FM services. In Swindon, the station has 36,000 listeners compared with 16,000 a year ago.
Talking of JACK, JACK 2 – which isn’t even a year old – has 31,000* people listening every week, the highest figure for its frequency.
JACKfm General Manager Ian Walker said: “This is a great result for the team here, particularly in terms of JACK 2 which may be the younger sibling but is definitely pulling its own weight. I’m now off to hide before the team demand champagne and a pay rise!”
Spirit FM in West Sussex is also posting its highest ever figure this quarter. The UKRD station has 57,400 listeners along with a record market share of 12.9%.
On the South Coast, Wessex FM has reached its highest ever audience, with 50,000 people listening, whilst recently sold Fire Radio remains static. And the team at Island FM are celebrating as the station gets its highest ever audience, now reaching 67% of islanders.
kmfm in Kent has added 21,400 listeners this quarter as a group, during which a new breakfast show hosted by Garry Wilson and Emma Adam was launched.
Premier Christian Radio, which is on AM in London and nationally on DAB had a 147% increase in audience year on year. This station now has almost a quarter of a million listeners. Programme Director Dave Rose said today; “Our team has worked hard over the past few months to make Premier Christian Radio a must-listen for Christians in the UK. We’ve invested heavily in improving the quality of our programming and we’re pleased to see that our efforts are having a marked effect.
“Our improved on-air output and recently re-vamped website, with listen-again features, will continue to be fundamental in our mission to spread the word of God and celebrate Christianity.”
At BBC locals, there are notable year on year increases in audience for BBC Hereford & Worcester, BBC London 94.9, BBC Oxford 95.2FM, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio York.
Whilst BBC Radio Cumbria, BBC Radio Devon, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Newcastle, BBC Radio Northampton, BBC Radio Nottingham, BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Radio Wiltshire/Swindon, BBC Somerset and BBC Three Counties Radio all posted loses of more than 10% in reach year on year.
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