Nick Grimshaw RAJAR Update

On the quarter (Q2/13), Nick is up 106,000 listeners taking him to 5.9m. On the year, he’s down 1.03m

I still think it’s early days. Generally you need 18 months to see what’s happening, we’ve had barely half of that.

However, three quarters does give us some information to have a look at.

Let’s have a look at his reach across different age groups. Green is Moyles, blue is Grimmy.


Well, we know that he’s seen a drop across 15+, and you can see it there.

The little bit of growth he’s seeing is 15 to 24s and 35 to 44s. This does make sense – one is the parent of the other.

Other demos are seeing drop-offs as you would expect. I’m surprised how fast the 25 to 34s are dropping. Perhaps it suggests that they do have a truly young breakfast show? Maybe the problem is that 15 to 24s perhaps don’t know about it?

Let’s look at the hours. This looks at how much time the audience is giving to the show.


I think this shows two problems. One – younger listeners are listening to less radio, their reach is still there, but volume is down. It was down with Moyles and it continues to drop with Grimmy. Two – is the show delivering the content that keeps people connected with the show – and listening longer (or just more regularly across the week).

Having a quick look at Kiss I think the data about whether it’s a structual problem with the audience is perhaps inconclusive – but Kiss seem to be delivering  more consistently (and with a stonking quarter). They’ve also been doing the show for a little while so have built momentum.


So, what should R1 do about Grimmy? I’m a regular listener and have some views, but I think it’s always easy to confuse what you think, with what the majority of the audience think. They’re rarely the same thing. Also, the show’s been evolving and I’m sure they’ve done their own research.

However, that’s not very interesting for a blog post, is it? So, I’m going to pose a few questions that any breakfast team should look at as they develop their proposition.

  • What’s the one line that describes the show?
  • What are objectives? How are you going to deliver them?
  • What’s the lifestyle of the audience, how do you reflect it?
  • Is the music right? How do you know?
  • What are your benchmarks? Are they strong enough?
  • Is the show’s ‘cast’ delivering? Are they recognisable? Do they have positions or a role? Do these roles
  • Are the storylines working? Is it providing talkability? Is there the right mix of short and long?
  • What is the rest of the station pointing to on the show?
  • Are the guests emphasising your values?
  • Are you being consistent?
  • Is it tight enough, is it funny enough?
  • Are you reviewing the show each day? Spend enough time on what went well. Why did it go well? How could we have made that even better? Shorter? Longer? What should we have thought about?
  • What’s the marketing plan? If you’re happy with the content, how do you tell new people about it?
  • Is there a plan to generate sampling?


RAJAR Facts – Q2/2013


My RAJAR facts seem to be popular, so here’s another one! If you have any of your own top facts please pop them in the contacts.

It also seems popular with people who send RAJAR updates to their staff, though oddly the attribution seems to have fallen off the end of most of those emails. *cough* BBC Local Radio. Not that I really mind, I love you all.


  • Digital radio now accounts for 36.8% of all radio listening. That’s a bigger share than Radio 1, 2 and 4 combined.
    • This means DAB listening now accounts for nearly a quarter of all radio listening (23.9%)
    • The internet accounts for 6% of all listening.
    • Digital TV accounts for 5.3% of all listening.
  • Radio’s reach, as a whole, is a whopping 90.8%.
    • 81.4% of the UK listen to some form of analogue radio each week.
    • 52.4% of the UK listen to some form of digital radio each week.
    • Analogue listening in home though,  is now less than 50% – 48.7%.
    • 10.8% of listening in-car is now digital.
      • Partly due to 39.4% of all new cars having DAB radios fitted as standard.
  • Top 11 London stations by hours:
    • #1 Heart, #2 Kiss, #3 Magic, #4 LBC 97.3, #5 Capital, #6 Absolute, #7 Choice FM, #8 BBC London 94.9, #9 Smooth, #10 Gold, #11 XFM
  • Top 7 stations in London for 15-24s, by reach:
    • #1 Kiss (730k), #2 Capital (681k), #3 Radio 1 (509k), #4 Choice FM (348k), #5 Heart (330k), #6 Magic (327k), #7 1xtra (168k)
  • Top 7 stations in London for 65+, by reach:
    • #1 Radio 4 (815k), #2 Radio 2 (557k), #3 Five Live (246k), #4 Radio 3 (216k), #5 Magic (212k), #6 LBC (195k), #7 Heart (120k)
  • Jazz FM should be celebrating with a reach of 758k
    • However, should they go ahead with not being on DAB, then it could cause them some problems….
    • …whilst 464k people listen to it on DAB, only 66k listen though the TV and 127k through the internet.
  • Curse of the re-brand. Glide in Oxford (soon to become Jack 2) gets its highest reach in at least 5 years.
  • Radio 3’s audience is back under 2 million – never a happy place for it.
    • 6music is getting particularly close to it with a reach of 1.79m
    • 6music’s hours meanwhile, have been higher than Radio 3’s for over a year now.
  • Bauer should be happy:
    • Planet Rock breaks its audience record by getting over a million listeners (1.021m) and 8.7m hours.
      • By combining it with the audience that listened in Q2 to 105.2 in the West Mids (Kerrang or Planet Rock) takes it up to 1.29m reach and 9.9m hours.
  • Plus… it’s the highest ever reach and hours for the Absolute network. Driven by…
    • Highest ever reach for the ‘Absolute Radio’ station
    • Highest ever reach and hours for Absolute 80s
    • Highest ever reach for Absolute 90s.
    • Of the main Absolute Radio…
      • 54% if its listeners and 52% of their hours are digital
  • Grimmy has marginally increased his audience.
    • Looking at reach in ‘000s is a bit misleading this quarter as there’s been a population increase…
    • But, last quarter his show was listened to 11% of the population, it’s now 11.1%
    • His 15 to 24 reach is up a little (from 22.5% to 23%) but the market share has dropped to 20.7% (lowest for a long time – at least five years) – this means that these 15 to 24s are listening to the show for less time.
    • 25 to 34’s are flat as well (though declining slightly) from 20.9% to 19.6% reach. Share for them is down too – 16.3% (from 17.4%)
  • Radio 1’s average age is now 32.1 (if you look at 10+) or 33.7 (looking at 15+)
    • In Q2/2012 it was 32.2 (if you look at 10+) or 33.9 (looking at 15+)
  • I thought I’d have a look at the market share of the weekday programmes on R1:
    • Grimmy – 7%
    • Fearne/Sara Cox – 7.1%
    • 12.45 Newsbeat – 7.6%
    • Scott Mills – 8%
    • Greg James part 1 – 8.8%
    • 5.45 Newsbeat – 8%
    • Greg James – Part 2 – 7.3%
    • Zane Lowe – 6.7%
    • Specialist – 5.1%
    • Phil & Alice – 3.7%
  • XFM is pretty flat, the new XFM London Breakfast is down 60k on the quarter, but up 7k on the year.
    • XFM London’s flat across the board – down 60k on the quarter too and up 20k on the year
    • This give is a London share of 0.9%
  • Top Jack FM‘s on RAJAR – #1 South Coast 219k (best ever), #2 Bristol 112k, #3 Oxford 71.9k and #4 Swindon 16k
  • Mark Forrest‘s new network show has delivered the lowest ever reach and share for that timeslot.
    • However, in the region where Roger Day used to broadcast, Mark’s market share in his first two quarters are higher than that of Roger’s last two.
  • Here’s the top 18 breakfast show reaches in London:
    • #1 Today Progamme (R4) – 1,840m, #2 Chris Evans (R2) – 1,439m, #3 Dave & Lisa (Capital) – 1,103m, #4 Nick Grimshaw (R1) – 916, #5 Jamie & Emma (Heart) – 883, #6 Ricky, Melvin & Charlie (Kiss) – 865, #7 Christian O’Connell (on all Absolute stations) – 691, #8 Neil Fox (Magic) – 683, #9 Nick Ferrari (LBC 97.3) – 659, #10 Nicky Campbell & Rachel Burden (Five Live) – 559, #11 Tim Lihoreau (Classic FM) – 382, #12 Alan Brazil (talkSPORT) – 370, #13 Kojo (Choice) – 291, #14 Paul Ross & Penny Smith (BBC London) – 232, #15 Jon Holmes (XFM) – 182, #16 Simon Bates (Smooth) – 169, #17 Tony Dibbin (Gold) – 155, #18 Andy Gill (Sunrise) – 138
  • With Global trying to acquire GMG, but seemingly likely to have to make some disposals, I thought I’d rank the contribution of hours by each of the stations in the Capital network:
    • #1 London – 23.6%, #2 Yorkshire – 20.9%, #3 Out of Analogue Area – 11.9%, #4 East Midlands – 8.4%, #5 Scotland – 7.6%, #6 Birmingham – 7.5%, #7 North East – 6.8%, #8 Manchester – 6.7%, #9 South Coast – 3.5%, #10 South Wales – 3.1%

Absolute & Bauer

Most of its life Absolute/Virgin Radio seems to have been up for sale. Having spoken to friends who work there over the years, most of them say that you can’t be distracted by it, you just have to get on with things. So, I’m sure that’s what they’ll be trying to do over the coming months whilst the deal progresses. Unlike Global/GMG this one’s contingent on there being no regulatory problems, if there are, it would go back to the current owner, Times of India. However, I would be surprised if there were any problems.

Online there seems to be lots of second guessing about what Bauer will do. Most of this seems to be rooted in Fantasy Football-style discussions rather than looking pragmatically at the business. But, I guess, where’s the fun in that…

I think it’s probably best to think why they’ve done such a deal. For my money there are two reasons:

  1. Scale
  2. London


Bauer (and EMAP before them) have never been the commercial leader for national advertising, but its tended to be a close second. Global’s growing size and i’s intended acquisition of GMG causes it some major problems, as it makes them look quite puny when compare to the big G. It was therefore important to scale up as best it can and generate more impacts to sell. The problem is after GMG’s been consumed there isn’t that much to acquire.

Since the GMG announcements they’ve done quite a bit to try and scale up. First it added Kiss to the national DAB multiplex to up its distribution, second it added Planet Rock (and its nearly 6million hours) to the group and now it’s gobbled up Absolute and their 25m hours.

Bauer’s pre-acquisition Q4/2012 share was 10.7%. Now with PR + Absolute it’s on 13.4%.

Global’s share is currently 15.6% (and will be 16.3% if they add Smooth London+West Mids or 20.2% if they get all of GMG’s stations).

Bauer are still behind, but they’ve made up some of the distance – they’ve increased their scale – and actually for not that much money – £30m in total as a one-off seems a good deal.


The next main issue is London. London is fiercely competitive and commercially everyone is connected. Global’s Capital & Heart compete for audience and advertising with Bauer’s Kiss and Magic. Magic’s on-going success has been a particular pain for Global. I expect Global’s excitement about getting their hands on Smooth London is mainly about giving Magic some trouble than it is about improving 100.4 as a station. All they need to do is destabilise Magic and it will potentially let Capital and Heart get extra share of listening and advertising. This clearly would put Bauer on the back foot.

Whilst Absolute on 105.8 isn’t as close to Global’s properties as Magic and Smooth, it’s another battery to go at Capital/Heart’s male listeners (and even keep XFM in the Vauxhall Conference too).

Smooth London and Absolute London’s move from independent to group owned suddenly opens up a truly portfolio play from Bauer and Global more akin to US radio markets like New York and LA.

Rebranding Absolute

There seems to be an assumption from commentators that Bauer will flip Absolute into Planet Rock, like it’s done recently with Kerrang in the West Midlands. Whilst that, of course, may well be their plans, I don’t think it’s a done deal. Again, you need to look at why they did what they did in West Midlands.

As I understand it, Kerrang West Midlands (alongside the national digital simulcast) was doing fine for national revenue and agencies understood it, its problem was that it was difficult to sell locally, with too many negative connotations that weren’t really representative of what the station was doing on air. It was, in effect, a waste of an FM licence. Keeping it nationwide on digital would still retain the national money (less a bit for some audience drop off) and putting something else there would potentially increase national revenue for the ‘other’ brand as well as give the option to raise some local revenue with something less scary. Hence Planet Rock on FM in the West Mids.

The same thing doesn’t happen in London on Absolute, there isn’t the local revenue question as its FM audience is a core part of the brand.

Also, you have to question what would happen to the main Absolute Radio’s hours if you disappeared it, and divvied up its platforms for Bauer’s other brands. The main Absolute Radio’s 12m hours is nearly 10% of the newly enlarged Bauer – do you want to gamble with that share? I’m not so sure. You would have to spend A LOT of money on marketing to get Planet Rock (and other stations’) figures up to account for the 12m Absolute hours loss.

The other thing I would be careful about messing with is Absolute 80s. It’s half the size of the main Absolute Radio (at a fraction of the cost) and about as big as Planet Rock with 6m hours.

Of the others Absolute Radio 60s, 70s and 00s have limited distribution and less than 200k listeners each. I’m not sure about their futures.

Absolute Classic Rock also has limited distribution, but some heritage and 400k listeners/1.6m hours – it would be easy to say that the Classic Rock job is done by Planet Rock and therefore close it, but it’s still a sizable station. Not easy.

Absolute Radio 90s is interesting. Nationwide coverage on Digital One, 500k listeners and 2m hours make it a sizable station. However, the question, like Kerrang in West Mids, is there a better use of the digital capacity it sits on?

Would Bauer grow their scale (against Global) by putting something better on that national spectrum? Something like Magic 105.4?

A move like that would mean Bauer have a national portfolio of Kiss, Magic, Planet Rock, Absolute Radio and Absolute Radio 80s – to me that sounds like a great national line-up. It also makes things a little more difficult for their friends in Leicester Square. Capital and Heart remain a quasi-network, a status quo that the Competition Commission seem keen on keeping.

Other Benefits

The other benefits of acquiring Absolute Radio is to absorb some of their skills into the wider Bauer group. This is particularly hard for companies to manage, but Absolute lead the industry on a few things. One is branded-content, being a smaller operator they have had to come up with compelling ideas to grab budget away from Bauer and Global – can they bring this skill to their new owner?

The other benefit is the skills Absolute have acquired around Mobile and In-Stream. These would be a big addition for Bauer’s other stations and would give the group another great thing to take to the market.

What I hope Bauer do recognise is that they’ve acquired not only some good brands, but some tenacious, talented people. Global’s quick growth was a wake-up call to Bauer that they had to do something. It’s spurred them on to transform their business through these acquisitions, I hope that they use these talented to people to transform their business even further.



Next Radio 2013

This is really easy. If you read my blog, you should come to Next Radio.

Next Radio’s an event that James Cridland and I created a couple of years ago. It’s a one-day conference for people who love radio and want to be inspired by others to learn more and do better work.

We’ve done everything we can to keep the price low. It’s £99 (if you sign up before August 9th) and that’s pretty much the cheapest we can make it. Venue hire, credit card fees, lunch, coffee, delegate badges all need paying for, even insurances, but this are cheap thanks to
Insurance Partnership that find the best deals online. Indeed, we wouldn’t be able to get it down to £99 if it wasn’t for great sponsors like Broadcast Bionics, Ignite Jingles and the RAB.

It’s a full day of around 22 speakers. Every session is either 9 minutes or 18 minutes. So, if one’s not to your taste, another one is definitely along shortly. If you want to see what kind of things we cover in the sessions take a look at the last two years’ worth of videos. They’re all free to watch.

We’ve announced about half of the speakers, but there are some more brilliant ones to come.

Get a ticket and come and see for yourself.