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Radio stations react to RAJAR results


Almost 50m adults tuned into radio stations at the end of last year, listening to 1billion hours of content.

This morning, Rajar released its radio listening figures, which cover the fourth quarter of 2021.

It’s the first full quarter of results since it suspended its surveys during the Covid-19 pandemic. The last figures, which came out in October were for an “extended quarter” covering April to September 2021.


89% of the UK (15+) tuned into radio stations during the period, listening to an average of 20.3 hours of live radio every week.

The switch to digital radio remains static at 72% (previous results: 74%), or the equivalent of 40m people.  67% say they have access to a DAB radio.

However, there continues to be growth in those using smartphones or tablets to get live radio. Across all age groups, it has risen from 29% (previous extended quarter) to 31%. The strongest increase is among those aged 15-24 (from 33% to 39%).

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Platform breakdown:

AM/FM – 36%

DAB – 42%

DTV – 5%

Online/Apps – 17%

Listening via smart speakers is also gaining traction, with 51% of users saying they listen to radio weekly and 21% of these state that they use them to listen to radio every day.

Radio listening still remains the most popular at home (64%), followed by in cars/vans/lorries (22%) and then work/elsewhere (14%).

Commercial Radio


Global, which owns brands including Capital, Heart, Smooth and Radio X says it has achieved its best-ever audience results, reaching 25.8m listeners and growing its share to 24%.

“With RAJAR now fully back with enhanced measurement, I’m delighted this has translated into record audiences for our brands and shows. To not only hold our position as the leading commercial radio group, but to continue to grow is incredible and down to our brilliant teams and globallers,” said Ashley Tabor-King OBE, Founder & Executive President of Global.

“It’s a great privilege to know that millions are turning to us for news and analysis, feel good entertainment, hit music, relaxation, whatever it may be, and it’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly. What lies ahead this year is incredibly exciting as Classic FM celebrates 30 years on air, Andrew Marr joins the LBC family and we see the return of live events. As always, we’ll keep innovating at Global and building out our brands.”

Its Heart brand added almost 250k listeners in the quarter, while its Breakfast Show became the biggest commercial breakfast show, with 3.9m listeners.

Capital recorded 7.6m weekly listeners, with Smooth achieving its highest ever audience, with 7m UK weekly listeners.

“I’m immensely proud of the Global team for achieving our best ever figures. The fact that our brands have continued to grow in these challenging times is testament to the skill of those delivering world class content,” added James Rea, Director of Broadcasting & Content at Global.

“From Capital Dance doubling its audience, to Radio X leaping over 2 million listeners and LBC achieving its highest ever figures, through to Smooth with a record-breaking 6 million listeners I’m delighted that commercial radio continues to play such a vital role in people’s lives each day.”

Dee Ford CBE, Group Managing Director, Bauer Media Audio UK.
Dee Ford CBE, Group Managing Director, Bauer Media Audio UK.

Bauer Media has reached an audience of 20.6m across it network, including Great Hits, Kiss and Absolute.

Its Hits Radio Brand Network had the highest listening of any commercial network, with 90.3m hours and a reach of 10m.

The Greatest Hits Radio Network achieved a 4.1m reach, with hours of 33.1m.

“I am so proud that we have actively encouraged digital listening through delivering world class content that our listeners can access however they want. Three quarters of our audience now listen via a digital device – this market leading performance sets us up perfectly for the future,” said Dee Ford CBE, Group Managing Director, Bauer Media Audio UK. 

BBC Radio

The data shows that 34.51m tuned into BBC Radio stations, meaning it had a 49.9% share of radio listening.

The BBC Sounds app had 162m total plays for its on-demand radio and podcast content and 5.2m player of music mixes. On third-party platforms, there were 257m downloads of its podcasts and on-demand radio programmes.

Rick Edwards

At MediaCityUK-based Radio 5 Live, there was positive news for its new-look Breakfast Show, hosted by Rick Edwards and Rachel Burden, with its listening figures rising over the quarter.

The station saw its overall reach hit 5.89m.

“… congratulations to Rick and Rachel whose new Radio 5 Live breakfast show seems to be a hit with audiences!” stated Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer.

“These figures show the important role that BBC Radio plays in people’s lives, with 34.5m tuning in to listen live each week to our much loved stations. We also continue to see on-demand listening grow for both our radio programmes and podcasts, as audiences come to BBC Sounds to discover content to listen to whenever they want to.”

BBC Radio 3, which will shortly be moving staff to MediaCityUK, had 1.99m listeners, while BBC Radio 6 Music recorded 2.6m.

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