RAJAR: Q2/2018

This RAJAR seems to be the prologue for lots of changes to come. It doesn’t give us the full picture on the new Hits Radio network, Radio 1’s updated schedule or what’s really happening with Radio 2 drive. It does, however, continue to track the ever-changing nature of our sector and how some new entrants can make quite the impact, whilst others seem to make none at all.

The Jack family of stations (Jack, Jack 2 and Jack 3) in Oxfordshire now has a bigger share than Heart’s family of stations (and indeed just the local Heart too) in its own TSA. It’s also bigger than Heart in Heart’s Oxford TSA too.

On a Jack-a-tip, it’s interesting to look at Sam FM Bristol and South Coast when compared to the days they were branded Jack. In the South Coast they’ve halved the hours they had in Q2 2012-15 and in Bristol it’s similar, halving their share from the 2013 to 2015 period. On the face of it similar formats, but the marketing and brand execution is very different and delivers very different results.

Not a great book for Radio 1. It’s their 2nd lowest ever total reach, down to 9.2m and their 2nd lowest 15-24 reach too – down to 2.5m. Capital, across the UK (but with worse distribution) manages nearly that, with 2.2m 15-24s. The gap is certainly narrowing.

Radio 1 will be changing up the schedule, swapping Greg and Grimmy at the beginning of Q4 – but is it enough to reverse this trend? To me, right now, Radio 1 seems an odd listen. When I tune in it can be in a Kisstory-style Greatest Hits hour (playing songs that were released when an 18 year old wasn’t even born), a single link music sweep in the Summer Mix or different presenters depending on whether it’s Thursday or Friday. It’s a lucky dip when I tune in and seems to lack the familiarity and consistency that delivers audience for successful radio stations.

Capital’s 2.2m 15-24s seem a good figure when compared to Radio 1, but that’s alongside a relatively bad result for Capital in London where it’s slipped to number 4 in the commercial share table (3.6%), being beaten by LBC (6.4%), Kiss (4.3%) and Magic (4.2%). As well as share, Kiss has also beaten Capital on total reach – 2,087m vs 2,063m. An amazing success for Kiss which means I’m not sure how Capital will be able to say that they’re London’s Number 1 Hit Music Station any more. Well, at least it’ll mean an update to this page on the website.

What is weird is there wasn’t even a mention of this London success for Kiss in Bauer’s RAJAR press release. You’d think going number 1 in London would be worthy of a mention!

It’s somewhat early days for Bauer on the Hits Radio front. The re-branded Key 103 only existed for one month of the six months that this quarter’s figures cover. So it’s Manchester reach of 374k is marginally down on last q’s 382k and marginally up on a year ago’s 369k.

The new Hits Radio network (the national Hits Radio plus what was the Big City Network) reaches 6.7m people, making it the third biggest commercial network after Heart (8.6m) and Capital (7.4m). Following it are Classic FM (5.1m), Smooth (4.9m), Kiss (4.5m), Magic (3.2m), talkSPORT (2.8m) and Absolute Radio (2.5m). Kisstory isn’t far behind as the highest performing commercial digital only station, racking up an impressive 2m listeners.

Radio 2 maintains its dominant position scooping up nearly 1 in 5 of every hour listened to on UK Radio. Its reach dropped a fair chunk quarter on quarter to 14.9m (from 15.4m), but that’s still up year on year (from 14.8m). The new Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley Drivetime show hasn’t had a full quarter yet so it’s hard to discern if the change has had as much as an effect that a vocal bunch would have you believe. I think there was about 6 weeks of the old and 6 weeks of the new show in this quarter, and so far it’s still delivering around the same audience that slot has had for the last year. It’s now at 6.4m vs last quarter’s 6.3m and last year’s 6.4m. However, only time will tell.

At our gaff, we had quite a good book for our children’s radio station Fun Kids. We only measure our London audience, but for 15+ our reach is 64k and 10+ its at 99k. Sadly RAJAR doesn’t measure our core audience – under 10s. However 10+ in London makes us bigger than talkRADIO, talkSPORT2, Absolute Radio 70s, The Arrow, Union Jack and lots more. Which we’re very happy about.

That’s it for RAJAR fun this quarter, but if you’re the kind of person that reads the blog, you need to come along to mine and James Cridland’s radio ideas conference – Next Radio. It’s on the 17th September and we’ve just announced the vast majority of the line-up. Ask your boss to send you. And if they say no, then it’s probably the excuse you need to look for a new job.

More to read:
Adam Bowie, Paul Easton and John Rosborough