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BBC: Record high for 6 Music

The BBC’s national digital-only stations 6 Music, 1Xtra and Radio 7 have all hit new highs for their audience size in the Q1/11 RAJARs.

Good rises for Radios 1, 3 and 5 also helped BBC Radio to a total weekly reach of 35.07m, its highest since the research methodology change 12 years ago.

[b]Radio 1[/b] attracted a record 11.83 million listeners per week in the quarter, compared to 11.42m last quarter and 11.74m last year. Its share is down on both the year and the quarter, with Chris Moyles’ breakfast show audience falling more than 300,000 compared with Q4/10 but seeing a slight rise year-on-year. [b]1Xtra[/b] saw its biggest ever audience – 892,000, which is up by more than a third from the 663,000 it had in Q1/10.

[b]Radio 2[/b]’s reach is up 600,000 this quarter, but down slightly year-on-year, with Chris Evans adding 460,000 weekly listeners compared with the back end of 2010 but still falling short of his record performance early last year. [b]6 Music[/b] is the UK’s biggest digital-only station, say the BBC, with a record 1.3m listeners. That’s up from 1.02m last year and 1.14m last quarter.

It’s the best reach for seven years at [b]Radio 3[/b], with a weekly audience of 2.26m, while [b]Radio 4[/b] celebrates a record performance for both the station (10.83m, up 800k in a year) and the Today programme (7.03m, up from 6.44 in Q1/10 and 6.63m in Q4/10). [b]Radio 7[/b]’s last quarter before the rebrand to Radio 4 Extra last month also saw the station hit its highest ever reach of 1.16m

[b]5 Live[/b], which picked up the biggest haul of Gold awards at this week’s Sonys, has lost 440,000 listeners compared with the previous quarter (which was an all-time record), but its current audience of 6.65m is an increase on this time last year.

The [b]Asian Network[/b]’s threat of closure benefited from the ‘6 Music effect’ with the station hitting half a million listeners (an increase on both the quarter and the year), while the [b]BBC World Service[/b] (again, in the headlines over recent months because of cutbacks) saw its reach in the UK rise almost 40 percent in the space of a year to a record high of 1.79m.

Commenting on the overall listening to radio hitting 91.6 percent, Tim Davie, Director BBC Audio and Music, said: “It is quite brilliant to see radio reaching a record number of listeners in the digital age. These results speak to the unique quality of radio in the UK and reflect our work as an industry to keep innovating to attract new listeners. From a BBC perspective, the record results reflect the unique strength of our programme makers and the growing value of distinctive radio stations."

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