RAJAR Q3 2017: London and national headlines

Digital radio triumphs nationally this quarter, with record audiences for (among many others) BBC 6 Music, Kisstory, Heart 80s, Mellow Magic, talkSPORT 2 and Virgin Radio.Other headlines in Q2/17:

– Capital retains its position as the biggest commercial station in London, while LBC is number one on share in the capital.

– Year on year winners at the BBC national stations are 1Xtra (up 5.5%), Radio 4 Extra (up 5.4%) and 6 Music (up 3.8% to a record reach), while stations losing audience over the 12 months include 5 live (down 7.9%) and the World Service (down 2.9%)

– Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1 has under 5m listeners for the first time – it’s the station’s lowest reach at breakfast since the start of audience measurement by RAJAR.

– Radio X hits record high with 1.5m listeners across the UK. Moyles has added 120,000 listeners to reach 823k each week.

– There are record reaches too for LBC at 2.1m and the Smooth brand at 5.7m.

– Heart London Breakfast has lost a chunk of audience – dropping from 644,000 last year to 490,000 this survey.

– The second set of figures for Heart 80s see it go over a million listeners, to 1.086m. Absolute 80s grew again too – to 1.532m

– At Bauer, there’s a record reach for Kisstory – with 1.823m listeners it’s the biggest national commercial digital station.

– There are record highs for Mellow Magic with 519,000 listeners and Magic Chilled with 270,000.

– Wireless Group’s Virgin Radio had a great final quarter before its recent programming changes – now reaching over half a million listeners (556k, up 61% from 354k a year ago)

– talkSPORT 2 also posts a record reach of 342k – up more than a third year on year.

– Union JACK – also on the SDL multiplex – is up 26% to 100,000 listeners.


The top 5 commercial stations in London based on reach in Q3/2017 are as follows:

1. Capital 2.125m
2. Kiss 1.869m
3. Magic 1.541m
4. Heart 1.515m
5. LBC 1.110m

Top 5 London commercial stations on share in Q3/2017 are:

1. LBC 5.8%
2. Kiss 5.5%
3. Capital 5.2%
4. Magic 3.6%
5. Heart 3.5%

Year on year star performers in London commercially this quarter are Radio X, up 26.5% in the capital to 478,000; LBC 97.3 which was up 12% to 1.110m and Capital Xtra which was up 11.8% to 635,000.

Not so great this quarter though for Premier Christian Radio (down 27% to 127k – but a massive increase on Q2/17’s reach of 75k!); Magic London (down 14.6% to 1.541m) and Gold National (down 13.1% to 271k). Gold, however, is slightly up in London.

BBC Radio 4 remains London’s biggest radio station with 2.86m listeners in the capital, followed by Radio 2 on 2.316m, then Capital third on 2.125m. Radio 1 has an audience of 1.41m in London, Classic FM has 1.272m and 5 live has 1.101.


Capital London breakfast with Roman Kemp added even more listeners this quarter to reach 1.115m listeners a week (up from 1.041m a year ago).

The next biggest commercial breakfast show in the city is Rickie, Melvin & Charlie on Kiss with 900k. Then comes Nick Ferrari on LBC with 716,000, followed by Magic on 659k.

There was year on year growth at breakfast in London for Capital, Capital XTRA, Gold, Kiss, both LBC stations, Smooth and Radio X (Moyles in London is up 60,000 listeners from 182k to 242k).

Heart Breakfast in London with Jamie and Emma fell from 644k a year ago to 490k. Magic fell from 734k in Q3/16 to 659k in Q3/17.

After a good Q2/17, BBC Radio London’s Vanessa Feltz’s audience falls back down to 235k (was 241k a year ago and 307k last quarter). At 235,000 she has fewer listeners than Chris Moyles in London (242k) and also fewer than LBC London News (275k)


Heart remains the biggest commercial radio brand with 9.487m weekly listeners, thanks in part to a 27.5% increase quarter on quarter for digital station Heart 80s, which now has 1.086m listeners.

The Capital brand reaches 8.572m; the Kiss network 5.686m; Smooth 5.674m; Classic FM 5.433m and Magic 3.747m.

Year on year, Capital Xtra is up 10.6% to a reach of 1.464m, while there was also strong growth for Kisstory (up 13.2% to 1.823m). LBC’s stations are up 15.7% over the year to 2.084m (from 1.801m in Q3/16). Good growth for Mellow Magic and Magic Chilled helped to keep the overall Magic Network figure up year on year.

talkSPORT 2’s reach is up more than a third over the 12 months – from 250k to 342k; while Virgin Radio has seen its audience increase by 61.2% year on year to a new record high of 556,000 weekly listeners (up from 345,000 in Q3/16).

Radio X is up too – by a third – to 1.523m across the UK, compared with 1.265m a year ago.

Disappointment though for talkRADIO, down 15.8% year on year to 256,000 listeners a week (from 304k this time last year).

At Bauer, Heat, Kerrang!, The Hits and Kiss Fresh all saw audience decline over the year – though the first three of those have increased quarter on quarter.

The main Absolute station across the UK is down 6.9% over the year to 2.460m, with year-on-year drops too for Absolute 70s and Absolute Classic Rock. The 80s and 90s stations saw decent increases though over the year (80s up 5.1% to 1.532m; 90s up 7.5% to 756k)

Jazz FM has increased weekly reach to 570,000 up 3% quarter on quarter and year on year. This is the second highest audience recorded in the last 3 years. Jaime Crick’s Breakfast Show has increased to a new record 159,000 listeners and Dinner Jazz with Mark Walker now attracts the highest audience of the week at 183,000 listeners. Total listening hours have grown 10% year on year to 2.292m. The station says 55% of its listeners live outside of London – this compares with under 40% in Q1 2016, before Jazz FM re-launched nationally on DAB+.

All listening to BBC Radio is up year on year, to a 52.1% share – it reaches 34.85m listeners per week (up from 34.82m a year ago).

BBC Radio 1 has 9.7 million listeners aged 15 + (up from 9.59m last quarter but down from 9.87m last year).

BBC Radio 1Xtra had a reach of 1.08m weekly listeners aged 15 + across the period (from 1.03m last quarter and 1.03m last year)

BBC Radio 2’s weekly audience in Q3/17 was 15.36 million (from 14.88m last quarter and 15.14m last year). The Chris Evans Breakfast Show attracted 9.35 million listeners per week, compared to 9.01m last quarter and 9.06m last year.

BBC Radio 3’s audience was 1.96 million (from 2.06m last quarter and 1.98m last year).

BBC Radio 4 posted a weekly reach of 11.22 million during the quarter (11.55m last quarter and 11.23m last year).

BBC Radio 4 Extra attracted 2.15 million listeners (up from from 2.09m last quarter and 2.04m last year)

BBC Radio 5 live posted a reach of 5.07 million listeners (5.32m last quarter and 5.50m last year) and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra posted 1.64 million listeners (from 1.25m last quarter and 1.60m last year).

BBC Radio 6 Music has a record in Q3/17 of 2.43 million weekly listeners (from 2.24m last quarter and 2.34m last year).

BBC Asian Network drew 662,000 listeners, compared to 646,000 listeners last quarter and 662,000 last year.

The BBC World Service posted a weekly UK audience of 1.49 million (from 1.59m last quarter and 1.54m last year).


Chris Evans remains top of the pile nationally with a weekly reach of 9.354m (up from 9.058m a year ago).

Next is the Today Programme on Radio 4 with 7.061m, then Nick Grimshaw’s 4.932m (down from 5.249m this time last year).

5 live breakfast reaches 2.196m listeners a week, which is followed nationally by Kiss breakfast (2.013m); Christian O’Connell on Absolute (1.944m), Classic FM breakfast (1.732m), talkSPORT (1.379m) and Magic (1.293m).

Chris Moyles added 120,000 listeners to his show over the 12 months, going from 703,000 a year ago to 823,000 in Q3/17.


Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio and Music, said: “These are great results for BBC 6 Music which is one of the most exciting radio innovations in the last twenty years and is second to none for its brilliant roster of music curators across the schedule. It’s pleasing to see continued growth of all our digital stations with their unique range of programming from classic comedy and sports to urban music and specialist DJs.”

Ben Cooper, Controller BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra & Asian Network, said: “As we celebrate our amazing 50th anniversary, Radio 1 continues to be the most relevant youth brand in the UK today, with 10.55m weekly listeners (aged 10+), a record 5 million subscribers on YouTube, and 9.45 million subscribers on social media. Having just been crowned National Radio Station of the year, 1Xtra further grows on its one million plus listenership and sees the highest ever audience for the Breakfast Show.”

Ashley Tabor, founder & executive president of Global, said: “It’s fantastic to see the UK’s two leading commercial radio brands, Heart and Capital, growing their listener loyalty with an increase in hours for both. In the fiercely competitive London market, Capital is the no. 1 commercial station, and I’m incredibly proud that our new show, Capital Breakfast with Roman Kemp, is off to a flying start with Roman bringing in new listeners in his first few months.”

Richard Park, group executive director and director of broadcasting at Global, said: “Global continues to grow its audience with 25.2 million people tuning in every week. I’m particularly pleased that LBC, Capital XTRA and Radio X have set new records and just six months on from launch, Heart 80s is already reaching more than one million listeners every week. The Smooth brand has seen some phenomenal growth around the country and a record 5.7 million people are now tuning in every week.”

Dee Ford, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Media, said: “This is a great set of results showing how our strong brands KISS, Magic, Absolute Radio and the Bauer City Network are delighting audiences across the UK. Our consistently outstanding breakfast performances from KISS and Absolute Radio highlight the strength of our world-class talent. I’m already looking forward to hearing how Ronan Keating and Harriet Scott’s brand new show on Magic will fare in Q4, and of course Dave Berry as he settles in to Absolute Radio.”

Scott Taunton, Wireless Group’s CEO, said: “A great amount of focus, effort and determination has gone into supercharging talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2’s offering to its listeners, with exclusive rights across a variety of sports and top names in the studio making it the true home for sport fans. I am particularly pleased with these figures in what was a quiet period for live sport and national tournaments. Over at Virgin Radio they have knocked it out of the park and with recent changes to the structure, output and investment in our marketing I am confident of ongoing growth – the future is very bright for Virgin Radio. Overall – a very encouraging set of figures and we will continue to invest in talent and content for our stations, ensuring that we remain a popular choice for both new and existing listeners.”

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “The growth of digital radio towards 50% continues, driven by a surge in DAB listening which has grown 12% year on year. DAB accounts for a new high of 74% of digital listening and is now available in over 60% of homes and almost 90% of new cars. The reason why digital radio is fast becoming the norm is due to the amazing range of digital stations and it is so exciting to see stations such as BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 4 Extra, Kisstory, Radio X, Heart 80s, Absolute Radio 90s and Virgin Radio finding record levels of listeners.”

Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2017 at 12:03 am by RadioToday UK

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