Some losely connected thoughts on RAJAR

If there’s one thing that I hope comes across in the posts to these blogs, is that consumer behavior is changing. For us in the radio world, I think it’s important to take stock and think about what it is that we do. Historically our position has come from being in a tightly regulated world that has made it impossible for new entrants to arrive. Nowadays, there’s more platforms for radio and more competition for our listeners’ time. Suddenly there’s real competition.

Some stand out things about this quarter’s figures….

1. London is competitive

Capital, Heart and Magic have been in a three way battle for a while, however, now it seems that’s a five way battle with Kiss and LBC 97.3 firmly joining the fray. The latest figures shows that in share the top five are: Magic, Kiss, Heart, LBC, Capital and in reach the top five are: Heart, Magic, Capital, Kiss, LBC.

Bauer have the right to be celebrating after pushing their stations to the top two positions commercially. Capital will be annoyed that their slick sounding station isn’t doing better. Looking more closely at the hours, their main problem seems to be daytime. Breakfast, Drive and Rich & Kat are doing well for their timeslots and Dave Kelly is sounding excellent in the late evenings. It’s the day that’s not cutting through. The problem is that they’re trying to win on ‘more music’. It’s something that’s hard to do against Magic, Kiss and to a certain extent Heart as well. The danger now is that they’ll try and push this with more non-stop sweeps, failing to recognise that it’s the tight, funny personalities that are really cutting through. Perhaps they should look down the corridor to LBC to see that providing stand-out content is something that can also drive ratings.

2. 6Music

It’s good that 6Music has consolidated its success from last quarter. RAJAR is all about the trend and this shows that over a million is their new baseline. The interesting thing is if you look at the hours that 6Music and Radio 3 generate. There’s barely a cigarette paper between the two.

Now of course the two stations do very different jobs (and on very different budgets). However, the new scale of 6 will have to make BBCA&M management think differently about their portfolio.

3. Radio 2

Radio 2 had a stonker last quarter driven by the arrival of Evans on Breakfast. However, remember the reach figure is made up of anyone who’s tuned in for 5 minutes in their surveyed week. The arrival of Evans obviously generated lots of sampling, a signficant number of which he has kept hold of, however many have returned back to their other stations and Radio 2’s figures have pulled back.

4. Absolute

I’m sure one of the beneficiaries of Radio 2 falling back was Christian O’Connell at Absolute. Lots of Absolute listeners listened to Chris when he was on Virgin and it was no great surprise that he took a bit of a hit last quarter.

Absolute did very well. All the stations (and measures) have grown and it was another good result for the newly launched 80s. It’s still a bit too early to tell whether the tide has finally turned for them, but there’s more confidence in all of the things that they’re doing and I wouldn’t be surprised if they see further growth over the coming quarters.