Local radio RAJAR roundup Q3/10

We take a look at the ups and downs in BBC Local stations around the UK, plus the smaller groups and independents.

Among the successes are Jack FM in Bristol, Juice in Liverpool, Tindle's East Anglia stations, BBC Radios Cornwall, York, Leeds and Lincolnshire; while it's not a great book for stations like Star Radio in the North East, Connect FM in Kettering and Peterborough, and BBC stations in Stoke, Jersey and on Teesside.


[b]Jack FM Bristol[/b]'s doubled its audience almost this quarter – up to 72,000 a week from 38,000 in Q2/10. Year on year they've swapped the numbers round – from 27k reach to 72k! The average hours are down as you'd expect with so many new listeners, but the total hours rise means the share is now 3 percent. So a 12 percent reach – not bad for a station that debuted in Q4/07 with just 11,000 listeners and a 2 percent reach!

Another former Original station – [b]The Coast[/b] – had its best ever book too, up 29,000 on the year to give them a reach of 124,000.

In other seaside-station news, there were good figures for UTV's [b]Radio Wave[/b] in Blackpool (up 10,000 quarter on quarter – the 32 percent reach is the station's best in years); [b]Palm FM[/b] in Torquay (best ever reach at 36,000 and best ever share at 7.1 percent); and [b]Atlantic FM[/b] in Cornwall (best ever reach at 67,000, best ever share at 3.9 percent).

For Town and County Broadcasting, South Wales station [b]Nation Radio[/b] continues to grow, posting its biggest ever set of figures, and doubling the size of the audience in just over a year. It added 36,000 this quarter to give a total weekly reach of 145,000 – that's nearly five times the audience size of when it launched as XFM South Wales less than three years ago. Town and Country's total combined listening hours to its six South Wales radio stations also reached a record high.

There were great figures at some of Tindle Radio's stations too this quarter. [b]Town 102[/b] in Ipswich, [b]Norwich 99.9[/b] and [b]North Norfolk Radio[/b] all got their best ever audience reaches, while [b]Dream 100[/b]'s 16,000 rise year on year gives them their best reach in years too – now 49,000. Dream's share of 19 percent and average hours of 14.1 are the best for a long time as well.

Staying in East Anglia, the figures don't make great reading for [b]Connect FM[/b] in Peterborough and Kettering, which share programming. The old Lite FM station is down to its lowest ever reach (just 13,000 or 7 percent) and has lost half its audience in 12 months. The Kettering station is down 8,000 in a year to 32,000 which looks to us like the lowest in its history too.

UTV's [b]Juice 107.6[/b] in Liverpool had a flyer – up 53,000 listeners in a year now to 162,000. A massive jump in total hours from 686,000 last quarter to 1.4m this time give it a decent 7.4% share in a really competitive market.

Special mention for the Heart station that's not run day-to-day by Global. [b]Heart 106[/b] in the East Midlands is looked after by Orion under a brand agreement. Up 30,000 this quarter to a reach of 453,000 – that's the highest in the station's history. Total hours of 3.5m have also helped Heart East Midlands to its best ever share of listening in the region.

Steve Penk's [b]96.2 The Revolution[/b] appears to be finding its way at last.. a slight dip from last quarter but steady increases now year on year. It's added 15,000 in a year to give an audience of 39,000 and heading back towards the station's former glory years.

And a mixed set of results around the UKRD group. Burnley's [b]2BR[/b] posted its best reach in 5 years (68,000, compared with 47,000 a year ago); [b]Eagle 96.4[/b] in Guildford is up 10,000 from last year to 158,000 (at 29 percent the reach is the best for years); [b]Minster FM[/b] in York is up on the year and the quarter to its best reach in 3 years (84,000 or 28 percent); [b]Mix 96 in Aylesbury[/b] has its best reach in 5 years (44,000 or 36 percent); and [b]Spirit FM[/b] in Chichester is up 11,000 on the year to a reach of 54,000 – again the best for several years. But big changes to the line-up on [b]Star Radio in the North East[/b] have taken their toll this quarter. The Durham and Darlington patches both lost a quarter of their audience in the last three months. Star in Durham reaches 18,000 and in Darlington just 19,00 – both the lowest they've ever been.


Around the BBC local stations we've spotted best ever figures for [b]BBC Lincolnshire[/b]. Their average hours are up to 18.2 (from 14.8 last quarter and 11.9 a year ago), which gives them a best-ever share of 15.6 percent of audience in the county.

[b]Radio Cornwall[/b]'s 157,000 reach is the best in 3 years for the station, and has gone up 22,000 year on year. [b]Radio York[/b] are up 10,000 this quarter on reach (16,000 from a year ago) although hours and share are down.

[b]BBC London 94.9[/b] has seen a massive jump in audience size year on year of 155,000, giving them a weekly reach now of 560,000, while [b]Radio Leeds[/b] has its biggest reach for 3 years – now 265,000. That's a 36,000 increase over 12 months, half of that in the last quarter.

Not such a great story up the road in the North East though – [b]BBC Tees[/b]' 85,000 reach is its lowest for many years (11 percent), losing 36,000 over 12 months; while [b]BBC Radio Newcastle[/b] lost 35,000 this quarter to give a reach of 262,000. Average hours at Newcastle are up though from 6.8 to 8.8.

[b]BBC Radio Jersey[/b] now has its smallest reach in 5 years, just 27,000 listeners a week. The TSA here is only 75,000 though so the 36 percent reach is one many other stations would be proud of. It's a long way from the 49 percent reach the station once had though.

[b]Radio Gloucester[/b]'s reach of 91,000 is its lowest in 3 years, while at [b]Radio Stoke[/b] the audience is down 31,000 quarter on quarter to 143,000. That's also a drop of 49,000 over 12 months – so the 24 percent reach is the lowest for several years.

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