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Rajar Q2 2019: Breakfast markets

01 Aug 2019 
Rajar Q2 2019: Breakfast markets

National Breakfast Market

The second quarter of 2019 has seen BBC Radio 2 continue to lead the national breakfast rankings with new host Zoe Ball.

However, after a surprisingly stable Q1 following former host Chris Evans' departure, Q2 has seen the show's weekly reach fall -8.6% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) and -8.5% year-on-year (YoY) - a loss of a further 781,000 listeners. The show now sits at a weekly reach of 8.3m.

Meanwhile, Evan's new show on commercial station Virgin Network - ad free thanks to a partnership with Sky - has seen its reach grow 6% QoQ, up a further 63,000 listeners to a total of 1.1m.

But although Radio 2's breakfast listening has gone down while Virgin Network's has gone up, an analysis of the figures shows that the overlap between the two stations remains the same as the previous quarter, with 386,000 people still choosing to tune into both shows.

BBC Radio 4 remains second in the rankings despite dropping -4.4% over the quarter, reaching 6.9m weekly listeners, while Greg James' BBC Radio 1 breakfast show grew its reach 2.8% QoQ to just under 5.2m

Elsewhere, commercial radio recorded a strong set of results for the second quarter of the year. Bauer's Absolute Radio Network remains the most popular commercial breakfast station, despite a marginal -0.2% decline over the quarter, with 2.2m weekly listeners. However, the show fell from fourth to fifth place in the rankings, now below BBC Radio FIVE LIVE.

Magic and Kiss both recovered this quarter after notable Q1 declines, with Magic up 3.4% QoQ to a weekly reach of 1.4m, while Kiss saw its reach rise 6% QoQ to just under 1.9m - though Kiss was down -8.8% over the year.

Global's Classic FM also had a positive quarter, up 7.9% QoQ and 15% YoY to 1.9m, while Radio X Network UK grew 0.3% QoQ and 8.4% YoY to 931,000.

However, Bauer's new station Hits Radio fared the worst of the commercial stations, down -5.4% QoQ to just 318,000 listeners. Hits Radio Breakfast presenters Gethin Jones and Dave Vitty left the show on June 7, and have been replaced by Fleur East, Greg Burns and James Barr.


The London breakfast market recovered from a poor Q1 showing in Q2, with all but two stations growing their weekly reach over the quarter.

Maintaining its top position, Global's Capital London grew 3.5% to a reach of just over 1m, though it also recorded a -2.6% decline YoY.

Capital's sister station, Capital XTRA, continued to grow its reach, up 5.4% QoQ and 0.3% YoY to 352,000.

Meanwhile, Bauer's Kiss London regained second position in the rankings after a 13.9% QoQ growth, equivalent to a further 93,000 listeners. However, the show continues to perform poorly compared to last year, down -22.5% YoY with a loss of 222,000 listeners.

Global's LBC has been knocked back down to third place, despite growing its reach a further 4.3% over the quarter to 755,000.

Elsewhere, Absolute Radio, Smooth Radio and Radio X recorded quarterly growth, up 21.6%, 13.8% and 18.9%, respectively.

However, both Heart London and Magic London saw their reach fall over the quarter. Heart London was down -10.2% QoQ, while Magic was down -4.5%.

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20 Jan 2020 

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