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RAJAR update: Radio 2 suffers as loss of Chris Evans finally kicks in

By | Published on Friday 2 August 2019

Chris Evans & Zoe Ball

The latest set of RAJAR radio listening figures were released yesterday, breaking down exactly why everyone working in radio should be depressed. Or super happy. Probably depressed though.

Let’s have a look at some of the key stats…

1. Zoe Ball’s first set of RAJAR figures after taking over the Radio 2 breakfast show from Chris Evans – published in May – showed her holding firm. Although Evans was reported to have a million listeners on his new Virgin Radio breakfast show, almost none appeared to have switched with him from his old station. In the three months since then, though, she’s lost 781,000 listeners. However, Evans only claimed a 63,000 rise in the same period though.

2. With Ball down, Radio 2 itself is also down almost a million listeners overall, with a new reach of 14.5 million – its lowest for more than five years.

3. This was the first set of RAJARs for Bauer Media’s exciting new classical station Scala Radio. It may well be very exciting, but only 258,000 people have been excited enough to check it out – more than half of them tuning in for flagship presenter Simon Mayo. Meanwhile, another new-y, Country Hits Radio, has scored 208,000 listeners, despite being less readily available on the DAB system.

4. Young people are listening to radio less than ever before, although high numbers do still tune in at some point. RAJAR reports that 79% of 15-24 year olds were listening to the radio each week in Q2 of 2019, the first time this has gone below 80%. Time spent listening also fell. Comparatively, RAJAR reckons that 89% of people in the UK over the age of fifteen were listening to the radio on a weekly basis in the recorded period.

5. Internet radio listening is on the rise. Its share of listening having jumped from 9.4% to 11% in Q1, it’s now up again to 12.5%. The post-Christmas jump was generally attributed to people switching on new smart speakers, and this trend seems to be continuing. RAJAR reports that 94% of smart speaker owners use them to listen to live radio.

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