Broadcast PR - Markettiers


May 20, 2016




The latest RAJAR results have been released revealing the UK radio listening figures for the first quarter of 2016.

Top RAJAR stories
After a successful end to 2015 for commercial radio, which overtook the BBC in terms of listening figures for the first time in 15 years, the first quarter of this year has signified a return to previous form. Commercial radio has slipped back to 34.28 million weekly listeners, compared to the BBC’s 34.87 million, according to the latest Rajar figures for the three months to 3 April 2016.

However, both BBC radio and commercial radio actually experienced a downturn in their fortunes overall during Q1, with the BBC down by 0.2% and commercial down by 2.4%, the figures show that 47.8 million adults listened to the radio each week in the first quarter, up by around 24,000 listeners on the same time last year, but down by around 400,000 on Q4 of 2015.

Digital radio reach has a new high of 44.1%. For the first time, digital listening in home increased to over 50%, with 51.5% of all radio listening in home being to a digital platform, ahead of listening on AM/FM (48.5%). 

In the world of digital radio, there was growth across all digital platforms, with DAB growing its share of listening to 30.9% and now accounting for over 70% of total digital listening. 
Ownership of a DAB digital radio increased to 55.7% of the population, with 30 million adults now claiming to own a DAB radio, an increase of 14% year on year. 
Online share of listening grew to 7.8% and accounts for 18% of digital listening, while digital TV share of listening grew to 5.4% to account for 12% of digital listening.
Digital listening in car grew by 32.5% to 21.2% of all listening (from 16% in Q1 2015), boosted by growth in new cars being fitted with digital radio as standard to over 80% in Q1 2016.

Digital share of national station listening increased by 9% to 52.9% and for the first time digital accounted for half (49.9%) of total BBC Radio 3 listening while BBC Radio 4 digital listening increased to 47 have less digital listening (29%) than national stations but are growing faster with an annual increase of 16%.

BBC Radio:

BBC Radio 1
Radio 1 dropped 4.1% overall since Q4 2015, taking its audience down to just over 9.9 million
The Radio 1 Breakfast Show With Nick Grimshaw now attracts 5.44 million listeners per week, compared to 5.87m last quarter and 5.5m last year. Including all listeners aged 10+, the show now has a weekly audience of 5.86m.

BBC Radio 1Xtra
BBC Radio 1Xtra also saw a surge, reaching 1.04 million weekly listeners across the period, up from 982,000 last quarter and 839,000 last year

BBC Radio 2
Radio 2 was up 2.8% year on year and 0.3% quarterly, taking it to 15.5 million weekly listeners
Record reach for BBC Radio 2, now with 15.51m compared with 15.09 last year. Best show figures for Ken Bruce, Jeremy Vine and Dermot O’Leary. Chris Evans has almost 10m listeners – up from 9.439 last quarter to 9.727 this time round.

BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 achieves its highest reach in three years with 2.11m weekly listeners, its flagship mid-morning show Essential Classics, which plays definitive recordings of the greatest classical music, had a record reach of 909,000 listeners.

BBC Radio 4 (and 4 Extra)
The Today Programme suffered a drop after Jim Naughtie left after 21 years in December. The show had 6.76 million listeners each week in the first three months of 2016, down from 7.03 million last quarter and 7.06 million last year.

Nick Robinson joined as Naughtie's replacement in November 2015.

BBC Radio 4 Extra experienced a decline to 1.85 million listeners per week steadily dropping from 2.11 million last quarter and 2.17 million last year

BBC Radio 5Live (and Sports Extra)
BBC Radio 5 live posted a reach of 5.77 million listeners (5.59m last quarter and 5.76m last year) and a share of 3.9% (3.6% last quarter and 3.7% last year).

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra held steady at 1.33 million listeners, compared to 1.34 million last year

BBC 6 Music.

Best stats for BBC Radio 6 Music with 2.2m listeners – Steve Lamacq retains the biggest show on the network with 1.01m and for the first time, all four shows in daytime (Shaun Keaveny, Lauren Laverne, Radcliffe and Maconie, and Steve Lamacq) have over 900 000 listeners.

BBC World Service

BBC World Service posted a weekly UK audience of 1.47 million, down from 1.51 million last quarter but a boost to the 1.35 million figure of last year

BBC Asian Network
Asian Network drew 562,000 listeners, reporting on a six-monthly basis, the same as last year

BBC Regional

BBC Local Radio reached 8.79 million listeners per week, up from 8.56 million last quarter and but a slight drop on the 8.82 million of last year

Northern Ireland
BBC Radio Ulster remains the north's most listened-to radio station, with a weekly reach of 546,000 in January, February and March - that's up from 524,000 a year ago.


Overall, national commercial radio stations recorded 18.22 million weekly listeners in the first quarter of 2016, up 6.3% on the same period last year

Jazz FM

Jazz FM has reached over half a million listeners nationally.

Bauer Radio

KISS and Absolute Radio achieve the #1 and #2 national commercial breakfast shows.

Absolute Radio

Absolute 80s has its highest ever RAJAR with 1.7m, whilst Absolute Radio 90s gets 681k – also a record.
Absolute Radio grows listeners to 2.2m from 2m last year, and Christian O’Connell has a record high of 1.113m.

Kerrang took a tumble this quarter, down -9.5% to 797,000 weekly listeners


Kiss FM had significant growth of 9.9% year on year, pulling in 5.39 million listeners compared to 4.91 million in the first quarter of 2015, although this was only a tiny 0.1% rise on Q4 2015.

Magic FM has had a decent innings, with a quarterly increase of 3.2% growing its audience to 3.43 million, compared to 3.33 million in the previous quarter.