Rajar Q4 2018: breakfast market
National Breakfast Market
BBC Radio 2 continued to top the national breakfast rankings during the fourth quarter of 2018, with an average weekly reach of 9.1m. The station recovered from its Q3 drop, with reach growing 2.7% over the period.
However, year-on-year (YoY) the breakfast show was down -3.9%. Q4 was Chris Evans’ final period hosting the Radio 2 slot – Zoe Ball took over last month, while Evans moved to a new show on Virgin. We will have to wait to see the impact of these changes.
Elsewhere, Radio 4, the second most popular national breakfast show, also saw its reach fall over the year – down -4.9% YoY, despite a marginal 0.1% gain across the quarter. The station’s breakfast slot includes the BBC’s flagship news show, the Today programme – however long-term host John Humphrys has said he assumes he will leave at some point later this year, spelling more uncertainty.
Greg James’ breakfast show on Radio 1 came third, with a total reach of 5.1m listeners. There is no comparable data for the previous year as the station has changed its way of reporting, but the show saw its reach grow 4.7% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ).
Radio 5 Live recorded a considerable drop in reach for its breakfast show last quarter, down -12.0% QoQ and -14.1% YoY, though this can be attributed to a lack of sport over the period.
Meanwhile, commercial radio performed well overall in Q4. Bauer’s Kiss was the only station to experience a noteworthy bad performance, down -7.1% QoQ and -17.4% YoY. However, Magic – also a Bauer station - saw its reach grow 20.1% across the quarter and 8.2% across the year.
Elsewhere, Global’s leading breakfast station, Classic FM, managed to grow 1% QoQ, though was down -10.7% YoY; Radio X Network UK fared better, up 7.6% QoQ and 8.9% YoY.
Despite maintaining top position as the most popular London breakfast station, Capital London's weekly reach reduced by -1.4% quarter-on-quarter and -9.5% year-on-year to 915,000 listeners.
Meanwhile its sister station, Capital XTRA, also recorded disappointing quarterly figures with its weekly reach decreasing QoQ by -16.4%, but increasing YoY by 13.6%.
Kiss, in second position, also recorded negative results (-10.4% QoQ and -21.5% YoY) whilst Heart grew by nearly 14% QoQ and 9% YoY, reaching 741,000 listeners.
However, it was Global's LBC that recorded the biggest drop, decreasing by -17.3% QoQ to reach only 708,000 weekly listeners - although this drop is likely due to the festive slow-down in business and politics.
Elsewhere, although Absolute Radio reported healthy figures in Q3 2018 following Dave Berry's appointment as host, the station's weekly figures decreased in Q4 by nearly -12% QoQ and -10.5% YoY, reaching 417,000 weekly listeners.
On a more positive note, Radio X London reported an impressive 61.5% QoQ increase and 4% YoY, whilst, profiting from the festive period, Premier Christian Radio's weekly reach increased by 111% reaching 135,000 listeners.