October 25, 2018
DO YOU WANT MAYO WITH THAT?
In the wake of the news that both Chris Evans and Simon Mayo are to leave BBC Radio 2 (the former for Virgin and the latter rumoured to be a target for Smooth) the latest RAJAR results released today reveal the station remains the most popular in the UK.
14.6m adults (more than one in four in the UK and ten times The Sun’s daily circulation), now tune in to Radio 2 each week, so it’s no surprise two of its most popular presenters have become targets for ambitious commercial broadcasters looking to capture their loyal listeners. It will be fascinating to see what impact Evans joining Virgin has on its weekly listening figures, which have remained stable at just over 400K for the last two quarters.
The war for talent goes well beyond Radio 2 of course, with two recent high-profile departures from the UKs third most popular radio station (behind Radio 2 and Radio 4), BBC Radio 1. Beats 1 and Capital Xtra will be looking to add to their audience by attracting some of Radio 1’s 9.6m listeners with the capture of Charlie Sloth and DJ Semtex respectively (and with a 26% increase in listeners year on year, up to 1.8m, Capital Xtra are on a charge).
Aside from purchasing the broadcast rights to popular events (see BBC Radio Five Live Extra’s 43% quarter on quarter increase), poaching talent from a rival station is one of the most effective ways of boosting listener figures. It also highlights the inimitable relationship between presenter and listener, a bond which is unmatched in other media and why editorial broadcast PR can be so powerful.
But talent acquisition isn’t the only route to building audiences and as such, special mentions are in order for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (27% up), KMFM (26% up), BBC Radio Lincolnshire (21% up), Free Radio Coventry & Warwickshire (19% up) and BBC Radio Shropshire (17% up) for impressive gains quarter on quarter.
Dan Stainsby, markettiers
PRCA Broadcast Group Chairman