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RAJAR Round Up: Good quarter for 6, less so for Radio 1 and Heart

By | Published on Thursday 23 October 2014


What five things do you need to know about the latest round of radio listening figures from the good old stat monkeys at RAJAR? Well…

1. 6 Music had a very good RAJAR quarter, with a weekly average audience of 1.99 million, putting the station which the crazy loons at the Beeb once planned to shut down (seems like a moment of madness with hindsight, doesn’t it?) ever so close to two million listeners. It also extended its lead over Radio 3 (the audience size for which was up slightly on the previous quarter, but down year-on-year). Digital only 6 Music having a bigger audience than the Beeb’s classical channel led to Tom Watson MP recently suggesting the former should get the latter’s prestigious slot on FM.

2. Radio 1 did not have a tip top RAJAR quarter, with its overall audience down 2.5% year-on-year to 10.6 million. Prime time DJ man Nick Grimshaw also saw his audience size slip quarter-on-quarter, to 5.82 million, although he was up on this time last year. And Radio 1 would like you to know that it is now operating in the super-duper multi-channel age, and that its brand exists beyond its FM/DAB channels. There are even plans for a Radio 1 channel on the iPlayer. The telly iPlayer. They have a point really, Radio 1 is now a multi-media brand. Which is why everyone should take notice of my proposal to merge Radio 1 and BBC 3, creating BBC 1.5. Possibly.

3. Chris Evans did not have a brilliant RAJAR quarter, in that his audience was down 600,000 on the previous period, though his is still the biggest breakfast show on British radio, and he’s working for the biggest radio station in the UK, Radio 2. So let’s not worry too much for Evans.

4. How about some commercial radio? Heart London had a bad quarter, with its lowest audience figures in fourteen years at 1.44 million weekly listeners. Though outside of London, Heart is doing a bit better. In those areas that got Heart recently as a result of Global’s rebrand of former Real Radio stations, weekly reach on those channels is up. Biggest in London on the commercial radio side is also Global-owned Capital FM, though its newer sister station Capital XTRA still isn’t doing so well. Maybe it wasn’t a great ‘choice’ to rebrand from Choice.

5. UK-wide on the commercial side, Bauer’s Absolute Radio topped four million listeners across its network of stations, though it is Absolute 80s rather than the brand’s main channel that is really delivering. The biggest digital-only commercial station, with 1.43 million listeners each week, the 80s version of Absolute isn’t now so far away from its flagship sister station, which also broadcasts on AM across the UK and FM in London, and has 1.87 million listeners.