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RAJARs – Radio Listening Figures Industry Reaction


Radio stations are studying the latest listening figures, which have been published by RAJAR this morning.

This is the reaction from radio stations, but Prolific North has also spoken to Gemma Lee, dentsu UK&I’s Partner AV Delivery and Zaira Cross, Business Director at Leeds’ All Response Media who explained why these figures are critical for marketing and advertising budgets.


BBC Radio 6 Music, which will shortly be moving more than half of its broadcasting hours to MediaCityUK, has reached a record audience for the quarter.

The station had its highest weekly reach of 2.85m, with 1.49m tuning in to Lauren Laverne’s Breakfast Show – the highest to date.

Radio 5 Sports Extra also saw its audience increase, with 1.43m listening to its Premier League coverage, cricket, golf and Six Nations. Sister station, BBC Radio 5 Live reached 5.12m listeners (5.56m in Q1).

BBC’s Nations and Local radio had a combined audience of 7.67m.

“It’s wonderful to see again the special place 6 Music and Lauren’s show has for loyal listeners,” said Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer.

“Whether it’s music or sport, we know how much these digital stations mean to their audiences, whilst millions of people listen across our live networks for the company and quality of all our brilliant presenters and programming. We’re also seeing more people listen to audio on BBC Sounds, as listening habits continue to change and audiences are increasingly enjoying our podcasts and other on-demand audio.”

During the period, 4.3m weekly users listened to BBC Sounds, with 177m plays of its podcasts and on demand radio programmes. On third party platforms, there were 264m downloads of podcasts and on-demand radio programmes across the world.


Manchester-based Communicorp saw its Smooth brands continue to dominate across the North West.

Smooth North West is its region’s leading commercial radio station for the 14th year and the largest individual commercial radio station outside of London.

Smooth North East is also the leader in its broadcasting area.

A Communicorp  spokesperson said that in Greater Manchester they had the only commercial radio station with over half a million weekly adult listeners, and the only one in Lancashire with over 200k weekly adult listeners.


Global, which owns brands including Heart, Capital and Smooth, has cemented its position as the commercial radio leader, with 25.3m weekly listeners and a 24% share.

“I’m delighted to see Global delivering its highest ever market share and record hours, with more than 25 million people listening to our brands every single week,” said James Rea, Director of Broadcasting & Content at Global.

“It’s great to see Global has the top three brands in British radio with Heart, Capital and Smooth. I’m incredibly proud of the teams across the UK whose energy and expertise continues to drive our success.”


Meanwhile Bauer’s audience is 21m across its brands, including Hits Radio.

The group remains ahead of its competitors for digital listening, with 75%, compared to an indsutry average of 68%. It is home to 3 of the top 5 digital-only commercial radio stations – KISSTORY, Absolute 80s and Planet Rock.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be in radio.  Our strategy has been to actively encourage digital listening by delivering content across channels that our listeners can access however they want,” explained Dee Ford CBE, Group Managing Director, Bauer Media Audio UK.

“The growth in listening via smart speakers and smart phones means we can offer more creative content to delight our listeners and more innovative solutions for our commercial partners.”

To read the reaction from All Response Media and dentsu UK&I, click here.

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