Local commercial radio stations are doing well in Q4, 2014 RAJAR figures, with groups such as UTV and Anglian Radio showing good numbers, but it’s a different story at the BBC.
In Scotland, Clyde 1 continues to drop in reach (479k), allowing Heart Scotland to jump in front with more listeners (496k), but it’s Capital which has the most weekly listeners in Q4 2014 (498k) despite a drop in reach this survey. BBC Radio Scotland is on an upward trend with 888,000 reach and continues to be the biggest radio station in the country.
The changes at Q96/RealXS/RockRadio/XFM means the station has lost 45% of its audience in the last 12 months, and is now bringing in 38,000 listeners.
Original 106 has had a great year, up 30% in reach from 66k to 85k, and Smooth Radio Scotland in Glasgow has grown in reach by 35%, now with 347k listeners each week.
In Northern Ireland, Bauer’s Downtown Radio is up on reach to 21% and has posted its highest hours in recent years. Sister station Cool FM is down quarter on quarter and year on year but remains the biggest commercial station in the province with 361,000 listeners. Managing Director, Mark Mahaffy said, “This is a magnificent achievement. We’re overjoyed at our latest set of results and Downtown is once again the best performer in the local commercial market, adding on 38,000 listeners and over 600,000 listening hours compared to the last quarter.
CityBeat Belfast, which changed hands this week, had a slight increase to 130,000 listeners but is down from 147k year on year.
In Wales, Town and Country have a static book, with most stations staying the same or increasing reach slightly. Capital South Wales is static with 208k reach, Heart South Wales is back down to under half a million reach and Heart North Wales is up 35,000 listeners. Capital North Wales however is down year on year after it switched from being Heart. The station now has 174,000 listeners compared with 212,000 12 months earlier. Hours are down 38% year on year too.
To the groups..
The expanding Orion Group is not having a good day with big a big fall in hours across the West Midlands. Free Radio Birmingham and Black Country has recorded its worst ever reach, down to 314k from 380k last quarter. Hours has also dropped 27% quarter on quarter. Free Radio Coventry is stable year on year for reach but hours are down dramatically quarterly and yearly.
Free Radio Herefordshire and Worcestershire is down 25% in hours year on year whilst Shropshire is down 22%. Gem 106 is also down year on year but added a few extra listeners and hours in Q4.
The majority of UTV Media’s for-sale local radio stations have recorded an increase in listening this quarter.
Juice FM in Liverpool has posted double digit increases across the board. Listening hours have increased by 56% year on year and 33% quarter on quarter.
Signal 107 has has increased listeners by 68% year on year and 46% quarter on quarter, and growing average hours by 56% since this time in the previous year.
Pulse 1 & 2 have seen growth on all fronts, with average hours up 55% year on year and 41% since Q3, and listener reach increased by 21% year on year and 7% quarter on quarter.
Wire FM has almost doubled its average hours with a 93% increase year on year. Swansea Sound in South Wales has more people tuning in with their reach growing 21% year on year. There are increases at Tower FM, Signal 1 and Radio Wave too. Peak 107 continues to lose listeners though, down from 98,000 listeners to 87,000 quarter on quarter.
Iain Fowler, Director of Local Radio for UTV Media (GB), said: “These figures are extremely pleasing as they not only reflect the resilience of UTV’s local stations in a difficult market, but the hard work and dedication of our programming team in delivering on the strategy of owning the local conversation. Our 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 2015.”
No dramatic changes at UKRD this quarter. Pirate FM is down a little in reach, Eagle Radio is up a little, The Bee takes a dip from 55,000 listeners to 44,000 this quarter, and Wessex FM is on a growing trend with an impressive 43% reach.
Lincs FM continues to bring in a large audience, with 322,000 weekly listeners, up year on year and quarter on quarter. Dearne FM however has been losing listeners after a spike 18 months ago. The station now has 43,000 listeners compared with 60,000 a year ago.
The latest numbers show a weekly reach to the Anglian stations of 235,000 (23%) listeners. That number rises to 358,000 a month, and 452,000 a quarter. Total listening hours also broke through the two million mark.
Town 102 achieved its best ever results – with 68,000 weekly listeners, & over half a million listening hours. Town 102’s Programme Manager Paul Morris puts the increase down to the commitment in quality local programming: “It’s no secret; Town 102 broadcast all our programmes locally, with great personality presenters like Wayne Bavin, Tony Horton & (er) ME! This increase underlines our belief that our audience enjoy & connect with a radio station that lives & loves the area it serves”.
Celebrations too in Norwich, where Radio Norwich 99.9 grew its audience, hours & market share. Dream 100 also saw rises across the board (including a 13% market share), & at The Beach which also increased its audience year on year.
Most BBC local radio stations have taken at least a 15% drop in hours this quarter. BBC Radio Wiltshire/Swindon is down 62% and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire is down 50%.
BBC Somerset, BBC Radio Newcastle, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, BBC Radio Tees, BBC Radio Nottingham, BBC Radio Newcastle, BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Humberside, BBC Radio Gloucestershire and BBC Radio Bristol have all lost at least 25% of their listening hours in the last 12 months, prompting radio guru John Myers to write a blog titled “WILL THE LAST ONE OUT, KINDLY TURN OFF THE LIGHTS” about the problems.
Reach has also dropped at BBC Radio Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derby, Humberside, Kent, Lancashire, Northampton, Shropshire, Solent, Wiltshire/Swindon and York.
Around the JACK stations, Oxford is down 26% year on year in reach, shedding 22,000 listeners. South Coast and Bristol stay roughly the same, along with Berkshire, but JACK fm Swindon continues to grow and once again posts its best ever figures for the frequency of 42,000 weekly reach.
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