RAJAR Q4 2017: Regional and local round-up

Here’s our regular look at which local stations around the UK are up, which are down, and other interesting talking points.

In Commercial Radio, Cool FM in Northern Ireland is celebrating its highest ever reach, as is Gem 106 in the East Midlands. But it’s not great news for Free Radio (Birmingham & Black Country) who gets its lowest ever reach, and Clyde 1 drops to its lowest in three years.

Ones to watch include The Bay and Lakeland Radio reporting their final full quarters before they change to Heart and Smooth. And we’ve got all the details of BBC Local Radio in England too.

At Global, the majority of Heart and Capital stations have seen a drop in audience figures this survey.

Here are some observations so far:

Cool FM gets a record high of 503,000 weekly listeners – 1 in 3 people are listening

Free Radio (Birmingham & Black Country) is down to an all time low of 262,000 weekly listeners compared with 349,000 a year ago.

Radio City 2 grows from 174,000 to 189,000 weekly listeners, back to where it was 12 months ago

Clyde 1 continues to lose listeners – down to one of its lowest figures in recent times at 514,000 weekly reach compared with 624,000 a year ago

The Bay’s final full RAJAR gives shows its lowest ever at 78,000 listeners, down from 112,000 last year

Lakeland Radio has recorded its lowest reach in five years – down to 15,000 weekly listeners

Minster FM’s listening hours are at a ten year high – whilst weekly reach is up to 75,000 from 66,000 a year ago

JACK fm Oxford is down slightly but JACK 2 has added 7,000 listeners in the last quarter, putting it back to where it was 12 months ago

kmfm Group has a record reach of 206,000 weekly reach, up from 165,000 a year ago

Town 102, currently fighting for its licence, gets its lowest ever reach with 36,000 listeners (down from a peak of 68,000 in Q4,2014)

Tower FM is down at its lowest level – with 25,000 weekly listeners compared with 47,000 in Q4, 2015

Rathergood Radio now has half the audience it had as Star North East, with its lowest ever figure of 25,000 listeners and total hours down 50% year on year

Radio Exe has its biggest weekly reach ever – with 32,000 listeners – 8,000 more than last quarter

Sun FM is at a near four year high of 9 hours per week on Wearside

Around the Capital Network, here’s how the weekly reach has changed in the last three months (remembering these stations, apart from London report half yearly). Eight out of the 10 stations have lost listeners this quarter.

Capital Birmingham 469,000 > 425,000
Capital East Midlands 588,000 > 555,000
Capital Liverpool 158,000 > 181,000
Capital London 2,125,000 > 2,108,000
Capital Manchester 555,000 > 521,000
Capital North East 485,000 > 470,000
Capital NW & North Wales 176,000 > 158,000
Capital Scotland 510,000 > 495,000
Capital South Coast 289,000 > 256,000
Capital Yorkshire 996,000 > 1,000,000

And at Heart, 14 of the 18 main services have lost reach this quarter:

Heart Cambridgeshire 223,000 > 206,000
Heart East Anglia 246,000 > 231,000
Heart Essex 357,000 > 343,000
Heart Four Counties 532,000 > 487,000
Heart Hertfordshire 39,000 > 42,000
Heart Kent 346,000 > 329,000
Heart London 1,515,000 > 1,559,000
Heart North East 305,000 > 299,000
Heart North Wales 127,000 > 135,000
Heart North West 628,000 > 612,000
Heart Scotland 369,000 > 379,000
Heart Solent 350,000 > 305,000
Heart South Wales 471,000 > 416,000
Heart South West 370,000 > 391,000
Heart Sussex 312,000 > 290,000
Heart Thames Valley 330,000 > 290,000
Heart West Country 644,000 > 582,000
Heart West Midlands 651,000 > 608,000
Heart Yorkshire 460,000 > 427,000

And for Bauer’s City 1 Network of 24 stations (quarter on quarter), the majority of stations went down:

Radio Aire 79,000 > 77,000
Radio Borders 55,000 > 57,000
C.F.M 110,000 > 111,000
Radio City 383,000 > 377,000
Clyde 1 543,000 > 514,000
Cool FM 495,000 > 503,000
Downtown Radio (DTR) 288,000 > 266,000
Forth 1 380,000 > 351,000
Free Radio FM (Birmingham & Black Country) 286,000 > 262,000
Free Radio FM (Coventry & Warwickshire) 105,000 > 122,000
Free Radio FM (Herefordshire & Worcestershire) 80,000 > 86,000
Free Radio FM (Shropshire) 73,000 > 66,000
Gem 106 532,000 > 561,000
Hallam FM 354,000 > 348,000
Key 103 366,000 > 385,000
Metro Radio 279,000 > 274,000
Moray Firth Radio 119,000 > 114,000
Northsound 1 129,000 > 125,000
Rock FM 209,000 > 197,000
Tay FM 139,000 > 139,000
TFM Radio 111,000 > 96,000
Viking FM 217,000 > 204,000
Wave 105 FM 393,000 > 422,000
West Sound 166,000 > 166,000

BBC Local Radio in England is up altogether very slightly, at 6.297m compared with 6.212m three months ago.

Only a few stations are showing any significant changes in reach or hours – including a large increase for BBC Radio London, going from 454,000 weekly listeners to 574,000 this quarter. BBC Radio Sheffield is up from 206,000 to 267,000 and Radio York has added 24,000 listeners rising to 109,000 weekly reach. The station with the biggest drop this quarter is BBC Radio Lancashire. It now has 146,000 weekly listeners tuning in compared with 176,000 three months ago and 190,000 12 months ago.

Quotes from some of the stations:

Cool FM Managing Director, Mark Mahaffy said: “As the biggest local station in the market here, this is a defining moment and represents an extraordinary achievement for Cool FM as for the first time in its history, Cool exceeds the magical mark of 500,000. Everyone associated with the station can be incredibly proud with one third of the adult population throughout Northern Ireland now listening to Cool FM every week.

“As mass media continues to fragment, radio is very much in rude health, and our trio of stations have contributed significantly to radio’s popularity in Northern Ireland. All three of our stations have posted year on year growth once again with almost half of the adult population – 708,000 – tuning into either our chart, classic hits or country output,” Mr Mahaffy added.

“With regard to the Downtown network which includes Downtown Radio and Downtown Country, the new figures show that 326,000 listeners are now tuning in every single week.”

At kmfm, Rob Wills, Programme Manager, says “It’s fantastic to see a record number of people listening to kmfm. It’s a great reflection on both the team and the listeners, who play a big part in the station’s success – whether that’s through our on-air competitions, social channels, interacting with our fantastic shows or keeping us informed about the latest travel news.”

Programme Director of JACK fm, Tim Parker said “Another strong set of audience results from the dedicated JACK team here in Oxfordshire. It’s a pleasure to work with such a talented bunch, and these results are again a reason to celebrate!”

Minster FM’s Content Director David Green: “We often hear about new competitors in the audio world such as music streaming platforms but these results show what we have known all along; that there’s still a huge need for local radio, providing entertainment with reliable local news and information.”

Don't forget, we can send you radio news via email direct to your inbox with a number of options. Just use the form below to register.

Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2018 at 12:03 am by UK - Reporter

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Similar Stories
3 Comments
  1. Radio Geordie says

    In summary, most stations that carry most of their programming locally now have more listeners, whilst those that are virtually all networked have lost listeners.

    What makes me laugh is, that although networking has had its arse kicked, the big wigs will still blindly claim that networking is the future of radio, even though the evidence says otherwise.

    1. Radio Midlands says

      Good point Radio Geordie.

      Free radio is good example on how the radio industry killed off 4 good local stations, re-branded and networked them from Birmingham and Manchester. They have now lost half a million listeners in 7 years. Unbelievable.

  2. simon Cole says

    Wave 105 is totally local and its figures have jumped up.As stated above it`s time radio bosses took note.WE WANT LOCAL RADIO!!!

Comments are closed.