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BBC: R4 record high and digital boost

BBC Radio 4 has posted record RAJAR figures, with rebranded sister station Radio 4 Extra also adding half a million listeners since changing from Radio 7.

Popular music station breakfast presenters Chris Moyles and Chris Evans both lost audience at Radios 1 and 2 respectively, 1Xtra’s audience rose massively and it was a mixed picture at Radios 3, 5 and 6.

Radio 4’s main audience has now reached 10.85m (up from 10.40m last year and 10.83 last quarter), while 4 Extra’s 1.61m reach makes it the country’s most popular digital-only radio network. This time last year predecessor Radio 7’s audience was 949,000 and in Q1/11 it was 1.16m. The reach for Radio 4 and the Today programme (7.18m) are the biggest since new research methodology was introduced in January 1999.

Tim Davie, Director BBC Audio & Music, said: “Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra play a unique role in the country’s cultural and news agenda, so I am delighted to see listeners tuning into them in record numbers. Radio goes from strength to strength as a result of the industry’s co-ordinated efforts and we are now seeing impressive performances and growth across the sector.”

The total weekly reach of all BBC Radio is up both on the quarter and the year, although their share is down to 54% (was 54.6 last year and 55 last quarter).

Radio 1‘s audience is down to 11.69m (from 11.81m last year and 11.83m last quarter). Share of audience has also fallen, as has the Chris Moyles show, which lost 80,000 listeners this quarter and has seen a drop of 140,000 over the year. Sister station 1xtra, however, is up to a reach of 992,000 – that’s a jump of 100,000 this quarter and a rise of 65% in the space of a year (was 600,000).

Radio 2 has 13.97 million listeners – down from last year’s 13.73m and last quarter’s 14.54m. It has a share of 14.9% compared to 16% last quarter and 15.9% last year. The Chris Evans Breakfast Show attracted 8.67 million listeners every week, from 8.74m last year and 9.18m last quarter.

Radio 3 is up on the year but down on the quarter. Weekly reach is at 2.17m (compared to 1.86m last year and 2.26m last quarter).

Radio 5 live is down when comparing both annual and quarterly figures – with a reach of now 6.5m (6.68m when you include Sports Extra).

Radio 6 Music is up on the year but down on the quarter to 1.27m audience, while the Asian Network‘s reach is also down on the quarter but up on the year.

BBC World Service posted a UK reach of 1.72 million – up from 1.29m last year and close to last quarter’s record 1.79m.

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