RAJAR Q2/2012

This is definitely not a big round-up, I haven’t really had time to scour everything. Here’s some things that I noticed from particular runs i’ve done.

Firstly, i’m still in awe of the figures of Jack South Coast. That’s a licence that’s had lots of change over the past few years, from Original to The Coast to Jack. What I like about this though, is that often RAJAR is mainly looking at stations that have been around forever. There are some gradual shifts but for lots of stations they go up a quarter, they go down a quarter, there’s no real change. When people see this it often encourages them to dismiss RAJAR as irrelevant and that nothing you do on the station really makes a difference.

Well. Just look at this chart.

This station has made big changes over time from album rock, to easy listening to male hits and each time they’ve made a big leap, look at how it’s altered the figures. The new Jack also has a strong Breakfast host in Bam Bam who’s also helping to drive the change.

Digital

A note from Digital Radio UK tells me that the share of listening digital now accounts for is 31.5%. When I tell colleagues oversees this figure, they are shocked at how high it is. They see it and regard Britain as the digital success. We, on the other hand, just grumble and say “well, it’s not 50% is?”. I think it’s stunning. Plus we’re also now seeing 52% of all radio listeners tuning in digitally at some point each week. Wow.

This is at at time when there is a signficant variance in digital radio usage across the country. Somewhere like Lincolnshire is low with digital share at 22.6%, but then elsewhere it’s much higher. In Jack Bristol’s TSA the digital share’s 38.6% and in Reading 107′s TSA it’s 38.2%.

It’s even higher in London. Digital Radio UK tell me that the share’s nearly 41%. Interestingly the analogue share is only 51.4%. The balance is ‘unknown’ – people who don’t know how they’re listening. When we’ve done some work looking at these unknowns before, the vast majority are actually ‘digital’ – meaning London could be less than a year away from a 50/50 analogue/digital split.

When I talk about ‘digital’ – I mean DAB, DTV and online/apps. Of those DAB accounts for 69% of all digital listening.

So why is there such a disparity area to area? For me it’s about choice, coverage and longevity. Bristol, London and (to a lesser degree) Reading have had digital radio for a long time, they’ve got lots of stations and they’ve got good coverage. All that working together means they lead the country in conversion. The areas that don’t do so well – Lincolnshire, Cumbria and Northamptonshire – are the areas that haven’t had the best coverage or multiplexes delivering local stations. I’m pleased that the local stations angle for many of the underperforming areas have a plan to be fixed. I think these additions will help accelerate those areas digital share – but also add to the speed of the UK’s shift to being a predominantly digital radio country.

2 thoughts on “RAJAR Q2/2012”

  1. Actually Reading has only three multiplexes: the BBC, national commercial digital and a local one. Unlike other centres of population around London like Guildford, High Wycombe, Luton and the East, Reading is not served by a DAB relay of the 3 London multiplexes. We struggle to receive London stations across much of the town on in-car DAB or a portable. The local multiplex is adjacent to the CE London signal carrying LBC 97.3 and other stations and on some sets blocks it out. The local multiplex lacks Reading 107 and the Asian community and the two popular Reading student stations (Blast on LPAM and Internet-only station J11) and Internet-only community Reading4U). I think DAB serves Reading rather poorly because here you need AM FM DAB and Internet for the full range.

  2. You’re right about Cumbria, having just bought a DAB portable radio, I can tell you that Cumbria does have coverage but old stone houses coupled with sparsely populated areas, valleys and hills mean you have to work at reception! BBC channels are generally okay but local stations are really picky about the placement of your radio. Now if I wanted to listen via a cellphone network I’d have a problem too as large areas are just not covered by 3G (unless you’re on the M6!). As to internet connection well that depends on your exchange and how close you are to it…

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