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Rajar Q3 2014: Round-up

23 Oct 2014  |  Ellen Hammett 
Rajar Q3 2014: Round-up

Rajar has today announced that 89% of the adult UK population tuned in to their selected radio stations each week in the third quarter of 2014 - down by approximately 47,000 adults on the same quarter of the previous year.

Here is Newsline's round-up of the results for the national stations and networks, including the digital, breakfast and London markets.

National stations and networks

Total Global Radio UK has maintained its dominance over the national stations and networks, recording very little change since the second quarter (-0.7%). The network has more than 21.2 million listeners, on average, each week. Over the last year the network has seen its reach grow 4.1%.

Still out-performing BBC Radio 2 for a third consecutive quarter after the acquisition of Absolute Radio at the end of last year, Bauer Radio's total portfolio saw a slight gain of 1.8% from the second quarter, recording more 16.2 million weekly listeners. However, over the last 12 months, the network has seen a more substantial 13.3% growth rate.

With the inclusion of Orion - which Bauer sells on behalf of, but does not include in its portfolio - the weekly audience reach leaps to more than 17 million.

BBC Radio 2, almost neck and neck with the whole of Bauer's network, has a little over 15 million weekly listeners, a slight drop of -3.1% since the second quarter.

The station, home to popular breakfast host Chris Evans and daytime debater Jeremy Vine, was up just 0.5% over the year.

The only real upset in the Q3 rankings saw BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) improve its reach by 1.2% to overtake BBC Radio 1 (which dropped -2.5%).

In a triumph of politics and culture over pop songs and youth, BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) has a weekly reach just shy of 11 million listeners. BBC Radio 1 has almost 10.6 million.

Elsewhere, a strong performance for Bauer's Passion Portfolio - which has now added Absolute - saw a huge 35.5% rise over the last 12 months to reach over 10.2 million listeners each week. The portfolio was up 3.8 % quarter on quarter.

Heart Network (UK) also put in a strong performance over the year, up 20% (just over 9 million listeners), despite an almost static quarter with growth of just 0.1%. The overall performance is due to the re-branding of stations to Heart following the acquisition of Global Radio and Real and Smooth Limited.

Similarly, Smooth Radio Network - which re-branded Gold stations as Smooth - continues to count the benefits of the move after recording growth of 22.8% over the year. The network was up 2% in quarter three and now has a weekly audience of almost 4.7 million.

talkSPORT, after recording its highest audience ever in the second quarter, saw a -6.8% drop in Q3. However, the station was up 5.3% year on year and has a weekly reach of more than 3.1 million. Despite the quarterly dip, the flagship breakfast show, hosted by Alan Brazil, achieved its highest ever figures.

Total Absolute Radio Network, which saw some unwelcome drops in the second quarter, was back on form, recording yearly growth of 18.2% and a 6.5% QoQ growth. The station now has a weekly reach of more than 4 million.

After a summer of sport, BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra has seen quarterly growth leap 32.3% to over 1.2 million. However, the station was down more than 20% over the year.

Finally, in a signal that digital radio has a bright future, BBC 6 Music was up 5.4%, quarter on quarter, to over 1.9 million listeners. Over the year, the station witnessed a 15.2% increase.

Click here for the full breakdown.


On average a listener tunes in to 21.4 hours of radio per week, with listening to radio via a digital platform - in terms of weekly reach - exceeding over half of the UK population.

27.4 million people now tune in to radio via a digitally enabled receiver (DAB, DTV, online) each week.

Digital listening hours remain high for Q3 2014 with 385 million hours being listened to in an average week.

DAB radio is still the most popular device when it comes to listening digitally, accounting for 65% of all digital hours and up 8% year on year. Listening via a digital television represents 13% and listening online 17% of all digital listening hours.

Click here for the full breakdown.



The latest Rajar results for the third quarter of 2014 paint a relatively healthy picture for national breakfast market, with a number of stations recording increases in weekly reach either over the period or year.

While Chris Evans' breakfast show continued to dominate the nationals, the BBC Radio 2 favourite was down -6.1% over the period - dropping by 600,000 weekly listeners - and -0.5% year on year, finishing the third quarter with a weekly reach of 9.3 million.

Maintaining its second position, with a weekly reach of 6.7 million listeners, was BBC Radio 4. However, the station was down over the period and the year by -0.3% and -1.7%, respectively.

In third place was BBC Radio 1, with Nick Grimshaw securing 5.82 million weekly listeners.

BBC One's breakfast show has faced turbulent times since Grimshaw took over from Chris Moyles in 2012, and while the third quarter saw average weekly listeners drop by -2.5%, the show was up 4.3% compared with this time last year to shine a glimmer of hope on the DJ's rather large bouffant.

However, this quarter's real early morning star was Total Absolute Radio Network, which was up a healthy 14.2% over the quarter to bag an extra 220,000 weekly listeners. The station was also up a significant 32.5% year on year, jumping from 1.3 million weekly listeners in Q3 2013 to a little under 1.8 million this quarter.

In contrast to the -21.8% quarter on quarter (QoQ) drop that the station recorded last quarter, BBC Radio Three was up 4.2% this time round and up 2.8% over the year; however, there wasn't such good news for Classic FM, which was down -11% QoQ to lose a little under 200,000 weekly listeners.

Elsewhere, sports favourites BBC Radio Five Live and talkSPORT both reported decent period and yearly increases in reach.


While Global's Capital London continued to rule the Capital's breakfast stations with an average weekly reach of 1 million, a huge -35.9% decline in listeners over the period meant that Global's Heart London dropped from second spot to sixth, opening up the second and third spots to Bauer.

With an average weekly reach of 781,000, Magic 105.4 took the second spot; while Kiss 100FM, despite being down -12% QoQ, came in third with 689,000.

Fourth position belonged to Total Absolute Radio Network (London) with an average weekly reach of 580,000. As well as being up 2.5% QoQ, the breakfast slot also celebrated a 21.6% increase in listeners over the year.

Elsewhere, Global's LBC 97.3 also suffered over the period with a -7.6% decline; however, the network's XFM London, LBC News and Gold London all recorded significant increases in weekly listeners over the period.

Despite Smooth Radio (London) losing -11.8% of its listeners on the last quarter, the station, which now includes the Gold stations, was up a massive 148.1% YoY.

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