RAJAR Q2 2019: Regional and local radio facts and figures

In our quarterly look at local and regional radio brands, we’ll start with some of the national brands with local service.

Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio increases from 556,000 weekly reach last quarter to 715,000 today. The Greatest Hits Network now has 1.1m listeners. Some individual stations have seen 50% drop in weekly reach, whilst others have seen an increase.

Greatest Hits Radio in Liverpool, previously known as Radio City 2 and broadcasting on 105.9 FM, has seen a quarterly drop from 160,000 to 116,000, and from 215,000 a year ago. In the West Midlands, 105.2 FM has increased from 181,000 to 204,000.

Global’s Heart continues its reign as the UK’s biggest commercial radio brand with 9.7m people tuning in every week, beating Radio 1 for reach, hours and share. Heart Scotland sees an increase this quarter from 371,000 to 404,000 but is down year on year.

Smooth, which is about to network its Drive show, is the UK’s third-largest commercial radio brand, adding 132,000 listeners year-on-year giving it 5.7 million weekly reach.

More than 1.3 million people tune in to Gold each week. The station has grown in reach, hours and share both in the past quarter and year, and will add more listeners with extra AM transmitters coming online soon.

Hits Radio Manchester, the station formerly known as Key 103, has once again reached a new low. Weekly Reach now stands at 258,000 compared with 302,000 last quarter and 374,000 a year ago. The Hits Radio Network is now claiming 6.5 million listeners nationally.

Capital stations remain largely untouched, with 7.2m across the network. The newest station in Lancashire has added 18,000 listeners albeit with a larger TSA.

BBC Local Radio in England has 5.5m listeners, compared with 5.8m last quarter, and 5.7m last year. Most stations haven’t seen a drastic change in weekly reach, with the exception of BBC Radio Merseyside (down 45,000 listeners), BBC Radio Sheffield (down 43,000) and Radio Leeds (down 26,000). BBC Radio Nottingham is up 25,000 and BBC Radio London has added an extra 19,000 listeners this quarter.

More observations

kmfm has recorded its highest ever weekly reach, with 233,000 listeners, up from 210,000 last quarter and 150,000 last year

XS Manchester as recorded its lowest ever weekly reach on 106.1 FM, with 67,000 weekly listeners, compared with 94,000 last quarter and 117,000 last year

Connect FM, about to become Smooth Radio, has 51,000 weekly listeners compared to 59,000 last quarter and 48,000 last year

Lincs FM, soon to be under the full control of Bauer Media, has 326,000 listeners, up from 280,000 last quarter and 298,000 a year ago

Clyde 1 has its biggest weekly reach in two years with 593,000 listeners, up from 541,000 last quarter. Forth 1 is also up from 274,000 to 327,000

Nation Radio Scotland now has 52,000 weekly listeners, up from 50,000 last quarter

The original JACK fm in Oxford has 57,000 weekly listeners, down from 68,000 last quarter and 85,000 a year ago

However, JACK Radio, which launched with 32,000 six months ago, now has 125,000 weekly listeners

Panjab Radio, which started broadcasting on its new 558AM frequency today, is down to 92,000 weekly reach compared with 163,000 last quarter and 213,000 last year

Wire FM has its highest weekly reach in four years, at 47,000 listeners compared with 27,000 a year ago

Nation Radio North Wales, which had a weekly reach of 1,000 listeners, is no longer reporting

Town 102, now broadcasting on DAB only, has lost 20,000 listeners in the last 12 months – it now has 18,000 weekly reach

Guernsey’s Island FM remains the most listened to radio station in the British Isles by percentage reach at 58% – or 31,000 listeners

Country Hits Radio debuts with 208,000 weekly listeners

Chris Country falls this quarter to 23,000 – from 26,000 last quarter and 30,000 a year ago

Love Sport Radio got its second set of figures this quarter, and now has 40,000 listeners, up from 38,000

More Radio in Sussex has lost 45% of its audience (22,000 listeners) in the last 12 months, now reaching 27,000 – from 37,000 last quarter and 49,000 a year ago.

The team at RadioToday manually look at every RAJAR result, every quarter, comparing quarterly and yearly differences in Weekly Reach. If we have missed a significant increase or decrease, let us know and we’ll add an observation here.

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  1. David G Houghton says

    Gold is just brilliant

  2. Radio lover says

    Does anyone believe RAJAR anymore? One of the most outdated methods of data collection seems to still call the shots on radio brand capability. Of 100 friends earlier this year I did a Facebook poll (for fun) and asked them what radio, how often and when they listened to radio (FM/dab/online/smart speaker) and it showed the polar opposite of Rajar…. In my survey a tiny minority listen to traditional radio brands detailed in this release; most use their streaming service or smart speaker and hardly use FM or DAB.

    I’m not being bitter here (I want radio to thrive too) but why is no one calling it out for what it is….? I get it that as agencies buy on CPT but I sense no radio company is prepared to say ‘this is boll####’ as it bite the hands that feeds…. When but when will a big agency not use Rajar for advertising currency so we can get actual listening numbers that can be respected.

    I have three social network connections that have advertised on commercial radio for years but they’ve slowly seen a decline in advertising impact via radio and replaced (and excelled) in other areas. My experience tells me it’s not ‘their brand is tired or not cutting it with daypart/audience)’ it’s the vehicle of radio that is broken. But I sense advertiser’s will continue to be fooled that the ‘good times are here’ with a golden era of listening to radio.

    Risk is – it will topple (probably soon) unless someone is proactive and rightsizes true listening figures.

    Consolidation is happening (we’re told) because the ‘competitive landscape is changing and becoming more challenging’ aka ‘as revenue is falling’ – if audience numbers were as good as detailed here – how can it be?? Internet and PPC has certainly killed directory advertising but TV revenues (stimulative advertising like radio) is growing – mainly due to on demand advertising.

  3. Ray Oliver says

    More AM frequencies for Gold. I thought Global had closed some AM transmitters and were requesting the right to lower the power of others. What happened?

  4. T1 says

    Capital Manchester have nearly 200,000 more listeners than Hits radio Manchester. What a mess Bauer have made with Key103. Change of management required ?

    1. mb23 says

      These figures show that Capital listeners don’t care that their local breakfast presenters have been replaced by a national show. That’s a bit depressing for the future of local radio isn’t it.

    2. t1 says

      Also Capital Birmingham has more than twice as many listeners as Free radio Birmingham. And If Bauer rebrand Free radio as Hits radio (as expected), they would drop further as shown by Manchester’s poor results.

    3. Lee says

      Change of ownership and direction would be good for Hits Radio Manchester.

  5. Andy Barclay says

    Is there any information on Minster 70’s which is part of Minster FM?????

  6. Mr Boltar says

    I don’t listen to Panjab Radio but to lose 60% of your audience in a year is pretty spectacular. Someone has obviously royally fecked up its programming. Either that or they’ve somehow pee’d off the community they’re supposed to serve.

    1. Mark Budgen says

      Maybe not calling for enough fatwas or death’s to infidels for the listeners liking?

      1. Mr Boltar says

        Given they use the panjabi language I suspect the majority of their listeners are Sikh.

    2. Ron Dobbyn says

      19,000 new listeners to Radio London,s radio dog show ” The Barking Hour'” That means 38,000, every listener must have a dog,or a cat, or a gold fish. Well done! Jo, Anna, and Philip.

  7. Pete Hall says

    Radio stations are facing a tough time as indicated by my local paper who asked people in their twenties whether they listen to the radio with most saying they listen to Spotify instead.

  8. Mark Budgen says

    Can’t imagine why anyone would want to listen to Lincs FM or indeed any station in that rotten group.

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