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

RAJAR Q4/2018 – The Trend’s Your Friend

Looking through the final book of 2017 there’s few big changes, but perhaps more evidence of noticeable trends for radio as a medium and for some stations in particular.


At the BBC, Radio 1 has grown reach every quarter this year. A good sign for the team there, who have had a tough few years. Whilst not a trend, Breakfast had its best book in quite a while, with reach up to 5.7m (up from 4.9m quarter on quarter and up from 5.3m year on year). Live Lounge month and the 50th birthday being good tent pole moments for the station. 1Xtra’s following a similar pattern with growth over the year and a 25% increase in hours year on year.

BBC Radio 2 has generally been going in the right direction all through 2017, finishing on 15.4m – a year on year and quarter on quarter increase. Its hours have also grown year on year, now to a stonking (best ever!) 190m. Nearly one in five of every hour listened to on the radio, is to Radio 2.

When people talk about radio’s apparent decline, point to Radio 1 and Radio 2. They’re growing reach and hours, not shrinking.

6Music has pretty much plateaued with a reach of around the 2.3m mark all year. Is there more growth left in it? Does the very stable schedule need a little re-invention to take it higher?


The main Capital, Heart and Smooth networks have not been so rosy. They peaked in Q2 where they were looking very strong, but they’ve fallen back over the past few quarters. On a brand level (taking into account spin offs like Heart 80s, Smooth Extra, Capital Xtra etc) the decline’s been blunted, but have these networks reached peak audience?

Definitely in growth has been Radio X which has had five straight books of reach and hours increases. Weekly reach of 1.58m and now 11m hours is good news for Global. Moyles too has done well. 7 straight quarters of growth, taking his national audience to 909k reach. Moyles’ breakfast reach is now bigger than the XFM network’s reach total in their final all-XFM book before the re-brand.


Kiss has been going in the right direction for a little while, now with its best book in 18 months with 4.6m reach. Its sister brands Kiss Fresh (578k reach) and Kisstory (1.7m) have remained at similar levels for the past few books.

It’s the same story for the Magics (the main one, Soul, Chilled, Mellow) who have all been pretty stable. It’s early days for Ronan and Harriet on Breakfast, but they’re now at the slot’s 2nd highest ever figures at 1.4m, it’ll be interesting to see if their evolution and growth has a positive impact on Magic in 2018.

Absolute Radio had a good book, with 2.6m reach – the best in over a year. The spin-offs are all pretty stable with 80s at 1.4m, 90s at 744k. With 90s move to national last week (well cross-promoted by the main brand) I think it’s got a good chance to grow. Also with Absolute 80s now in a bit of a bun fight with Heart 80s and the arrival of the Wireless Group’s 80s stations, will 90s be the new 80s?

The Hits (562k), Kerrang! (607k) and Heat (598k) seem to have run out of steam a little, down almost a third from their heyday and pretty flat all through 2017. All three are good, well programmed stations, but now face much more radio competition, whilst TV listening, which drove a lot of their audience, has also fallen significantly.

All three lack any marketing spend or significant programming investment. Though I bet their cost per listener is still significantly less than a Key 103 or Metro, though the locals – right now – I’m sure do well from the local advertising. It would be interesting to see if these digital stations had the same investment in marketing and talent that some of the Bauer locals get, whether their audience acceleration would be significantly greater, and even with lower national yields, generated faster profit growth.

One Bauer local that has had a great few years is Gem 106. Now at its highest ever audience for the 106 licence – a reach of 561k. The next quarter will be their first without breakfast hosts Sam and Amy who’ve disappeared off to Virgin Radio.

Wireless Group

Speaking of which, Virgin Radio, though having a great book in Q3 – 555k reach – it did look a bit of an outlier. They’ve eased back this quarter to 483k, but that’s still their 2nd highest reach. They’ve got a long journey ahead of them, but at least it’s going in the right direction.

Stablemate at Wireless is talkRADIO. Its figures have been flat since launch and the latest quarter has its second lowest ever reach at 242k. The new talent they’ve brought in and the right sort of new afternoon show will give them a new platform on which to promote. It’ll be interesting to see where they are this time next year.


As the blog post shows, the UK radio industry is now a real mix of analogue and digital radio stations. Indeed, the latest breakdown tells us that a record 49.9% of all radio listening is digital. This means the Government will soon be starting a review of plans for digital radio switchover. I wouldn’t expect FM to be going anywhere anytime soon, but I think it will bring to the horizon the dates when stations will start to leave the FM band.

The hours split today are: AM/FM (50.1%), DAB (36.3%), Internet (8.5%) and DTV (5.1%). Looking at reach, AM/FM now reaches just 79.1% of listeners, DAB reaches 54.9% of listeners, Internet reaches 21.1% of listeners and DTV’s reach is 15.7%.

Over at Fun Kids (where we just measure London and RAJAR just measures our non-core age group of 10 plusses), we went down a little from 92k to 84.5k. This quarter had 6 weeks of us being DAB+ only in London, so it’ll be interesting to see if that affects our numbers next quarter. Sadly my go to comparison to talkRADIO and Magic Chilled in London looks less good, as they’re both a little ahead on 87.6k and 86.7k respectively. We’ll have to just take being better than The Arrow (73.3k) and The Hits (83.6k). But who’s really counting!

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

RAJAR Q3/2014

Where most radio programmers go wrong is that they forget they have different types of listeners who listen to their station in different ways.

If you want to increase your RAJAR figures, I’m sorry, but one size does not fit all.

If you don’t have any light listeners it probably means they don’t know about  you, so you’ll probably need some reach-building mechanics and some external marketing wouldn’t go a miss. You also probably need to be explaining what you do better and (light) listeners need to know when to sample. Fixed benchmarks, travel every 20 minutes, 30 minutes non-stop – whatever – anything you can do to give them reasons to stop by. Light listeners are unlikely to be attracted by changing elements in a programme – they’re not even there in the first place!

But these tactics won’t support growing hours for existing listeners. For that you’ll need to give opportunities to listen in other day-parts, have an hours-building promotion and perhaps change how often your currents come around.

For many stations they’ll need to do both those sets of things. At the same time. Your listeners are subsets of different groups and they need to be looked after in different ways.

The other mistake is the assumption that they’re ‘your’ listeners. They’re not. You share them with other people. You are in a war for their attention.

As stations’ figures fluctuate ever more, it’s easy to refer to RAJAR blips, I’d also argue whilst of course that happens, you’re also programming in the most competitive radio market ever. Your figures may be going down because what you’re doing on the air just isn’t as good as what else is on the dial.

But if you combine fluctuation, competition and detail about different groups of listeners you get Heart London.

Heart London

Top line for Heart London is pretty grim. Reach down to 1.4m (Q2 was 1.8m, Q3/13 1.7m). Hours down to 7.9m (Q2 was 11.5m and Q3/13 8.7m).

But when you dig in it’s harder to lay the blame entirely at Heart’s door. The chart below takes all of Heart London’s Reach and then looks at ALL of their hours – both their listening to Heart and to other stations.

It shows that listening to Heart accounts for a quarter of its listeners’ listening (down from 30% in the previous quarter). But the real thing is that Heart listeners have consumed a fifth less radio in total. Now, Heart’s borne the brunt of that (seeing a 31.1% drop) but their listening to Magic, Kiss and R1 is pretty down too.

What’s changed? Listening to Capital’s grown a bit and Radio 2 and LBC are pretty solid.

Q3 includes July, August and September – a key holiday period with loads of changes in behaviour – not going to work, no school run etc. Now this will affect many stations, but perhaps Heart’s market has become an audience  who’s radio habits really do shift around in Q3.

Q2 2014

Q3 2014

Change – ‘000s

Change – %

Heart Listeners’ All Radio





Heart London





Magic 105.4 (London)





Capital London





Kiss 100 FM





BBC Radio 2





BBC Radio 4





LBC 97.3





BBC Radio 1





Smooth Radio London





BBC Radio 5 live





Classic FM










BBC London 94.9





BBC 6 Music





Gold London





Sunrise Radio





Absolute Radio London





Premier Christian Radio










1Xtra from the BBC





Absolute 80s





Planet Rock UK





Jazz FM





Capital XTRA (London)





XFM London





BBC World Service










LBC News 1152










BBC Asian Network UK





BBC Radio 4 Extra





Kiss Fresh (Was Smash Hits)





BBC Radio 5 live sports extra





Absolute Radio Classic Rock





The Hits





BBC Radio 3





Absolute Radio 90s





Absolute Radio 70s





Radio 1035 AM





Absolute Radio 00s





Radio 1458 AM





Absolute Radio 60s





Other Radio







Commercial audience share in London is always a hot button. Everyone’s very keen to fight over being Number 1. This quarter it’s: 1. Capital, 2. Magic, 3. Kiss, 4. Heart, 5. Absolute, 6. Smooth.

But when looking at the full list of stations below (below) you can also see the power of the national and specialist stations. Indeed, Sunrise and Premier Christian Radio are doing better than Capital Xtra and digital stations like Jazz FM and Kisstory have the same market share as XFM.

Share %
BBC Radio 4


BBC Radio 2


Capital London


LBC 97.3


Magic 105.4 (London)


BBC Radio 1


Kiss 100 FM


Classic FM


Heart London


BBC Radio 5 Live


BBC 6 Music




Absolute Radio


Smooth Radio


BBC Radio 3


Sunrise Radio


Gold London


Absolute Radio London


BBC London 94.9


Premier Christian Radio


BBC Radio 4 Extra


BBC World Service


LBC News 1152


Capital XTRA (London)


Jazz FM




XFM London


Absolute 80s


BBC Radio 5 live sports extra


Planet Rock UK


1Xtra from the BBC






Radio 1458 AM


Absolute Radio 60s


Absolute Radio 70s


Absolute Radio 90s


Absolute Radio Classic Rock


BBC Asian Network UK


Absolute Radio 00s


Kiss Fresh (Was Smash Hits)


Radio 1035 AM


The Hits


London is a market with lots of digital choice and a high degree of digital consumption – what’s happening here will eventually happen everywhere else.

If Jazz and Kisstory can get the same share as XFM, then what real value does its FM licence have?


There’s actually lots of good digital stories in this book.

  • Digital’s share of listening is at a record high of 38%
  • DAB now accounts for a quarter of all radio’s hours
  • Over half the country (51.2%) listen to some form of digital radio each week.
  • 6 Music’s had a reach increase to 1.99m
  • Absolute 80s is at a record reach of 1.4m

Absolute 80s also has record breakfast figures with 462k tuning into the 80s version of the OC. I think its first figures since ‘Project Banana’ allowed Christian’s Absolute Radio Breakfast show to be broadcast live, but with 80s music.


Heat Radio’s also had a very good book, it’s best ever. They’re  now larger than The Hits with 965k listeners. These figures have come from good growth over the past few quarters and it’s nice to see its average hours are up too.

I think there’s a number of reasons that Heat’s done so well. Firstly it’s a great brand – you can guess what you’re going to get before you tune in. Secondly – it sounds like the brand. It’s a rhythmic AC station with values that give it permission to play the odd guilty pleasure. It’s also got a great on-brand presenter in Ryan Seacrest (and his syndicated show).

Finally, it’s a fun, active station with speech and music content that reflects today. This afternoon James Barr had a Glee promotion, interviewed Nick Jonas and then played 30mins of S Club 7 songs. I bet not many AC/CHR analogue stations had an afternoon that was as engaging.

p.s. Sorry Adam for stealing your picture. So, why not read his RAJAR blog post!

Radio stations with the most social network listeners

“When did they add social to RAJAR”, I semi-screamed at Dave on Friday afternoon. “Er last quarter I think”.

I was creating a demographic group when I’d noticed that Dave had added a whole social section to Octagon CrossTab (the excellent software from Hallett Arendt that I use to do RAJAR things). The nuts and bolts of RAJAR are, of course, radio listening – but it also asks lots of other questions from the newspaper people read to how much TV they watch. Octagon CrossTab allows me to create demographic groups which are usually things like ‘people aged 20 to 39’ or ‘Guardian readers’ but now I could create demos based on people’s use of social media.

It allows me too look at social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, MySpace, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr and Vine and sort use by listeners from ‘never’ through to ‘several times a day’.

So, I thought it might be interesting to have a look at stations with the most active Twitter and Facebook users in Q2/2014.

This doesn’t look at active users of a station’s Facebook/Twitter account, but the listeners who state they use the social networks AND listen to each of the stations. Why bother with this when you can look at the follower/like numbers? Well, I think this is more interesting it shows the radio stations that have really engaged social media users. If your station is high up the list then by concentrating on your social output you could actually start to have a meaningful effect on reach and hours.

Now, I can cut this a number of ways. Firstly we’re going to look at Heavy Twitter use and sort it by the total number of people per station who state they use it ‘a few times a week’ or ‘several times a day/daily’. In other words a list of the stations with the highest Heavy Twitter users. For this I’ve stripped out corporate groupings but left in networks.

Heavy Twitter Users (‘000)

BBC Radio 1


BBC Radio 2


Capital Network


Heart Network


BBC Radio 4


Kiss UK


BBC Radio 5 live




BBC 6 Music 


Capital London


Now I’m going to look at Heavy Twitter use as a percentage of reach. So this shows the percentage of a radio station’s reach that are Heavy Twitter users.

% Heavy Twitter Use





Kiss Fresh


BBC 6 Music


Capital XTRA (London)


XFM London


107.6 Juice FM


City Talk 105.9


Capital South Wales


Kiss West



Up next is good old Facebook. Again, I’ve removed corporate groupings and ranked by the number of listeners who use Facebook ‘a few times a week’ or ‘several times a day/daily’.

% Heavy Facebook Users (‘000)

BBC Radio 1


BBC Radio 2


Heart Network


Capital Network


BBC Radio 4


Kiss UK


BBC Radio 5 live


Smooth Radio Network


Magic UK


Classic FM



And then by percentage of total reach…

% Heavy Facebook Users

XFM Manchester


96.3 Radio Aire


Kiss Fresh




Key 103


Kiss East




Capital South Wales




The Hits



The North West clearly loves a bit of FB!

I think this may be the first of a few posts looking at social. But if you want to investigate it yourself, and your station is an Octagon CrossTab customer – just add a bespoke demo in the ‘Demographics Editor’ and then you can use it in any column, row or layer in any type of analysis.

RAJAR Q2/2014

RAJAR has always been about trends. Snapshots of quarters don’t really tell much of a story, it’s the direction of travel that’s really interesting. This happens at both a macro and micro level – of course what’s happening to Station FM is interesting, but we’re also blessed in the UK that because we measure where people listen and how they listen, we’ve able to understand much more about the changing behaviour of the listener.

If you’re just concentrating on the reach and share of a single station, then you’re missing out on the true shifts in the market.

For me ‘digital’ is more than just a particular platform. To me it means people choosing stations based on strength of the brand and the content rather than just what they happen to be able to pick up on their analogue radio.

6Music now has more listeners (just) than BBC Radio 3. It does not need an analogue outlet to be successful. Absolute 80s has 70% of the reach of the main Absolute Radio. Heat Radio, a well-targeted magazine spin off is on the way to a million listeners. Kisstory, on-air for around a year, is bigger than Planet Rock (age: 15). Eagle Radio’s been on DAB for a couple of quarters and its already generating 15% of its hours from that platform.

As a radio industry we should celebrate, we’re being freed from our FM shackles. How much better to compete on content rather than rely on happening to have 2million watts of music power.


I think Bauer gets more of my attention now than it (or EMAP before it) ever has. It does however seem to be a fundamentally boring company that happens to have some interesting assets.

Over the past 18 months there’s no arguing though that they seem to have got their shit together. Grabbing Planet Rock and Absolute has given them hours – to fight Global Radio – and has also given them some interesting people. You only have to look at the rise of the Absolute team in the Bauer structure to show they were lacking in quite a few areas.

In the UK, Bauer is smaller than Global Radio. Global have more licences, more audience and more hours. There’s also limited growth for Bauer – there are less and less prime assets around. The last big one is probably talkSPORT. With its radio/mag/digital output it would be a sensible fit for Bauer.

The one thing Bauer does have over Global, is digital radio clout. Their press release tells me that 50.8% of their business is now made up of digital hours. The acquisition of Absolute has helped this no end – as an amazing 82% of Absolute’s hours come from digital listening. With those kind of numbers you’d definitely be looking at the AM and FM costs…

Looking at all listening, Global’s sales division has 209m hours, Bauer’s 144m. But just concentrating on the digital hours for the groups, Global is on 65m but Bauer’s on 70m. Bauer will be trying to keep that lead over Global as the UK gradually transitions to a predominantly digital country. It’ll mean that they don’t have to worry about complex warehousing arrangements or OFT negotiations – they’ll be growing their business through attracting listeners to their brands.

The two things that will get in the way of this dream are Global, of course, but also themselves.

Even with this digital drive, I worry that it fails to pay much attention to its digital siblings. If you treat Heat, Absolute 80s, Absolute Radio 90s, Kisstory, Kiss Fresh and Planet Rock as a network – it’d be one that delivers 5m listeners and 27m hours. This compares to Kiss UK (26m hours), Bauer Scotland (16m hours) and Magic UK (19m hours). Bauer’s English Place network’s reach is only a little higher than the new station combo at 5.4m.

For me, something like The Hits shows the dichotomy. I think The Hits is a great little station. It sounds good, it’s got a good on-air team who come over as being young and in touch. It should be seeing great growth – but this quarter its reach and hours have dropped nearly 20%. It was a station regularly around a million but now is at 774k. I think it’s almost criminal to have a station punching those sort of numbers with, what looks like, pretty much no marketing, its online activity built on good will and, I believe, not even paying all of their presenters.

I know other stations are looking at The Hits – and plucking talent from it – it’s a shame it’s not as well supported by the Bauer guys.

Radio 1

Someone I’m sure that’s over the moon that The Hits is sidelined is Radio 1, who continue their task to keep the station young and to try and take it younger. Radio 1’s average age (looking 15+) is 34. It’s been 34 (with rounding to the nearest whole number) since Q1/2010. If you look at 10+ it’s 32 (again with rounding). Which it’s been since Q2/2010. Contrary to the visible evidence though,  I still believe making Radio 1 younger is an achievable aim.

On the face of it Nicks’ had a good book, up quarter on quarter and year on year to 5.9m listeners (up from 5.8m for both). However, his 15 to 24s have dropped 190k, whilst he’s added 338k 25 to 64s. The share of 15 to 24s who are tuning in has dropped to 22.5%, not his lowest ever, but still a disappointing number for the team. And also probably not helping those average age numbers either.

Global Radio

In other news – Global’s execution of Smooth is really paying off. It’s doing well pretty much everywhere, but especially in London where it’s reaching 781k and has a market share of 2.6%. It’s the biggest audience it’s had since at least Q3/05. The rest of the Smooth regionals have also seen increases plus it also seems to be doing better on many of the old Gold’s it replaced on AM.

The new Hearts have done pretty well too with NE, NW, Yorks and S. Wales seeing growth, whilst Scotland, which will always probably be a difficult nut to crack,  having dropped back.

I think it’s still early days for LBC and Capital Xtra. LBC’s racking up about 150k outside of London which is solid, if unremarkable. Capital Xtra’s really taken a hit in London post-Choice at 358k reach (when it was previously doing 470, 550), however, outside of London it’s seeing more growth – no doubt aided by being in Digital One. Overall compared to the old Choice UK figures – it’s about the same.

And finally…

Thank the Lord that Radio 2 didn’t add any more listeners, even if their drop was so marginal it’s recorded as a 0% change.

Other bloggers on RAJAR night:


RAJAR Q1/2014

RAJAR is getting harder and harder to report on.

This is mainly for two reasons:

1. The data source is large and detailed. Radio groups are now using it through additional backstage ‘trading’ numbers to better describe their stations to agencies. So for quasi-national stations like Heart they’re now reporting more accurate numbers taking into account their FM simulcasts and DTV versions. This is a good thing. It’s also going to open up more relevant data as radio groups follow Absolute’s lead with regard to doing different things with internet streams too.

2. We live in a very competitive world. London’s chopping and changing is coming from a close fought battle between the BBC, Bauer and Global. Personally I think it’s making radio more diverse and better quality. A rising tide carries all ships.

This all makes it a little more difficult for your correspondent, the part-time RAJAR blogger.

So, what’s struck me this quarter?

Smooth. This quarter takes into account Global’s musical changes but not really their new line-up. Generally the expectation is that change causes regulars to move away before new listeners top yourself up. No sign of that problem for Global yet. Looking at the ‘old’ Smooth, that’s before they added a load of Gold stations to the network, we see around half a million added to reach and about 20% added to the hours.

Looking at the new Smooth network as a whole, they’ve added around a million listeners and driven their market share from 2.3% to 3.2%.

In London Smooth has seen one of its highest ever ratings successes with 565k reach and 3.6m hours. Early days as it is, it’s already looking like a big success for Global.

London. London remains a ridiculously volatile market. Radio 4 and Radio 2 retain the top spots in share (though both taking a kick q on q and y on y) followed by Heart (5.3%), Magic (5.3%), LBC (5.2%), Kiss (4.8%), R1 (4.5%) and Capital (4.4%). The previously mentioned Smooth pulls a 1.7% share , pretty much equalling the brand’s high water mark.

Reach-wise, top stations after R4 and R2 are Magic, Capital, Kiss and Heart.

I feel bad for Capital, it has the ability to get a much higher share, but it continues to exist as content-less radio station demonstrated by its continually poor average hours. Of course it’s hard to generate hours at the younger-end, but R1 and Kiss seem to manage it much better than Capital. To me the real kicker is that the branding and music of Capital is great, there’s just very little sticky content (outside of breakfast) to tune into.

Digging deeper into Capital, looking at Marvin from JLS’ evening show numbers, he’s seen significant declines in that slot. Partly a strong Kiss and R1 but listening in he’s seemingly not allowed to deliver the personality he’s surely hired for, making him a somewhat expensive voice-tracker.

Grimmy. As expected, the last survey was a bit of an outlier (at 6.3m) with this survey returning to the, albeit high end, of his previous figures with 5.9m. The best part of his figures are that he’s consolidating his 15 to 24 audience, with 2m of them, at the same time as seeing a decent decline in the other demos. This is R1 Breakfast successfully delivering on the high wire act he’s forced to walk – keeping total reach acceptable, maintaining a large youth share, whilst killing off the oldies.

However, even with Nick’s good work, R1’s average age nudges back up (when measured 15+) to 34. As a comparison – Capital London (34), Kiss (30), The Hits (28), 1Xtra (26), Capital Xtra (29) and Kiss Fresh (26).

Radio 2. Bloody Radio 2 continues to be unstoppable by cheating at radio with their excellent line-up, clever music choices, lack of ads and a £47.8m/year content budget. They’re now up to a surely embarrassing 15.568m listeners and a 17.9% share of all radio listening (that’s more listening than all of Global Radio’s hours combined).

Digital. Digital’s been interesting this quarter with the share increasing to 36.6% with 56.4% of all UK listeners tuning in digitally at some point in a week.

It’s a good result for digital, but not the best. What’s had a bit of a hit is a decline in DTV consumption – 51m vs last quarter’s 53m hours and a 200k drop in reach. I think we may well have hit ‘peak DTV’ use.

Internet listening saw a decline in reach (q on q) but saw some hours growth. DAB was pretty steady this quarter though did manage both reach and hours growth.

Digital Radio UK have put out some interesting figures about London stating that digital radio now has a 44.1% share, but when you dig down further and look at listening in-home, digital now has a 50.9% share of listening.

I think London is a bit of a special case – but it’s digital success is driven by a few things.

1. Analogue radio is really crap in London. Pirates infest the airwaves with many traditional stations now unlistenable on analogue radio. As a predominantly digital listener, you really notice it when you’re in an analogue-only environment like a car.

2. There’s true choice in the Capital. The national multiplexes and three locals provide around 60 stations catering for all tastes and interests. It’s no real surprise that this generates lots of digital listening.

The digital transition is most keenly being felt by Bauer. As a radio group over half their hours now comes from digital listening. Strong investment in DTV, good digital-only brands and solid digital listening to their analogue stations puts them in a great position as radio consumption continues to change.

It’s also helping Bauer catch-up with Global on the sales front. Bauer and Orion combined now provides 143m hours. Global Radio Sales delivers 209m hours.

And finally… Well done to Key 103 – highest hours since 2006 and highest reach since December 2003 making it Manchester’s Number 1 Hit Music Station for the first time in a long time!

Picture nicked from Adam Bowie, who I imagine will have a good RAJAR update too. 

Also… A Northern Ireland Update from John Rosborough
And a London update from Paul Easton
Plus a MediaTel summary

How Well Do You Know Radio? Manchester Edition

In lots of the presentations that I do at radio stations and conferences I often use data to challenge pre-conceptions. We are all sometimes guilty of projecting our own thoughts and experiences and assuming that everyone must think and do the same things. The good thing about data is it can strip out our own prejudices.

I had an interesting Twitter conversation with James Cridland and Phil Riley about digital listening. I was looking at some London RAJAR and it turned out that ‘digital listening’ (that’s DAB, DTV and Internet) was bigger than all of the listening of Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 combined. Which surprised me a bit. Phil and James thought that using London as an example wasn’t representative of the rest of the country and James felt Manchester would be very different.

As I had run a load of Manchester data, I thought I would share it here. This chart is quite different to many that I run as it combines many different things. It looks at total hours to the main stations in Manchester (Key 103 TSA) but it also adds in total platform hours and listening location hours too (all Q3/2013 data).

Things I found interesting:

  • DAB listening is larger than any radio station in the area
  • Indeed it’s larger than Radio 1 and 2 combined
  • …and bigger than all in-car listening in the area
  • At home listening (on its own) is bigger than all analogue listening
  • Internet listening is bigger than Radio 1
  • 6 Music has more hours than Real Radio
  • Absolute 80s is bigger than Absolute Radio
  • Five Live is bigger than every local station except Capital
  • talkSPORT is bigger than Classic FM

Manchester Hours


Your Radio Listeners at Home

Ofcom, this week, released their annual Digital Radio report.

When I looked through it I was quite pleased with it. Press coverage has been less than friendly emphasising a decline in DAB set sales. I read the data slightly differently. I read that set sales were pretty flat, we sold around the same this year as last year (another 1.9m!) but that radios that were analogue-only took  a big hit – selling a million less than the previous year – but still a lot.

But, to be honest, I think there are so many things that have a knock on to what people buy that you can probably argue strongly either way that this is good news for DAB or terrible news.

As most radio listening is in home – 63% of all listening happens there, whilst only 21.2% is in car and the remainder at work or somewhere else – I thought I’d look particularly at in-home listening. It’s not something I had done before.

The big shock for me was reach.

So, radio has a 90.8% reach in the UK.

In home, radio has a 76.3% reach. That means 76.3% of the UK population listen to the radio, in some form, at home in an average week.

I thought I’d then look at ‘Total Analogue’ and ‘Total Digital’ reach.

The result is that analogue radio (AM and FM) only has a 51.7% reach in homes.

So only half the country, in radio’s most-popular location, during an average week, listen to ANYTHING on AM or FM.

I was quite surprised by this, I always assumed that analogue radio reach was going to remain relatively high through to digital switchoverm even if the volume of consumption kept dropping as people started to listen to more digital radio. After all, surely most people will hear 5 minutes of radio from an analogue set at some point in a week? At the moment when we look at total analogue reach in every location it hits 81.5%.

When we look at the percentage of the UK who listen to some form of digital radio, at home, in a week it’s 46.1%. Just 5.5 percentage points lower than analogue.

What does this mean? Well, if you’re a predominantly analogue-only station (ie not on DAB or DTV) then you’ve only got a potential audience of half your TSA. Half. And it’s getting worse.

Now, clearly this isn’t the same in-car. Digital radio only has an in-car digital reach of 11.7%, whilst analogue is much stronger, having a 58% reach of the UK population.

Though I’m sort of surprised total in-car listening is that low – 37.7% of the UK population never listen to the radio in a car at all. Sacrilege!

As we approach some switch-over announcements, people with vested interests (of which I count myself) are going to be saying lots of things. To me, the most important thing is looking at what listeners are doing and how their use of the radio is changing.

As a station owner I will go where the ears are, on platforms I can get access to or can afford. DAB, Internet, DTV, whatever reaches the most people in the most cost-effective way, my stations will be there. There’s nothing particularly wrong with FM – if you’ve got an FM licence, of course. It’s still a big platform – though as the data shows – it’s one that’s getting significantly smaller each quarter.

Platform Reach





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%

RAJAR Facts – Q1/2013

People seemed to like the RAJAR facts last quarter – so here’s some more. Be sure to add your own in the comments!

  • 47.2m people listen to the radio each week – that’s 90.3% of the UK!
  • Each week 54.9% of radio listeners listen to some form of digital radio.
  • The vast majority of it is DAB Digital Radio – 232m hours – that’s more than Radio 2 and Five Live’s total hours combined.
  • And Radio 2’s big! It continues its desire to have everyone tuning in – it has record reach and hours. Again. 15.2m reach and 183m hours
  • Radio 2’s hours are more than those of all of Global’s radio stations put together.
  • Speaking of which, this quarter Global Radio have their lowest ever hours since acquiring GCap – 161,148.
  • Absolute though, are celebrating their highest ever hours across their network – 25.7m.
  • They’ve got record reach and hours for Absolute 80s – 984k/5.9m – making it the biggest commercial digital radio station.
  • However, Capital has a million listeners outside of its analogue areas – making perhaps it the biggest ‘digital’ station.
  • But in London, it’s Capital’s lowest ever total hours.
  • Jazz FM‘s celebrating it’s best ever hours – 3.2m
  • and XFM’s got its best hours since Q1/08 – 5.2m
  • There’s really three XFM’s now:
    • London – 573k/2.8m
    • Manchester – 206k/1.0m
    • Rest of the UK – 250k/1.5m
  • The commercial radio station with the biggest share in London is Magic with 5.6%, the BBCs? Radio 4 with over three times that – a whopping 17.6%.
  • Also over three times the size? Radio 2’s hours are 3 times as big as Heart.
  • The top local London stations for share are Magic (5.6%), LBC (4.6%), Capital (4.2%), Heart (4.2%), Kiss (3.9%), Absolute (2.6%), Gold (1.7%), XFM (1.3%), BBC London (1.3%), Smooth (1.1%), Choice (1.1%)
  • The top national stations in London, by share, Radio 4 (17.2%), Radio 2 (12.6%), Radio 1 (4.5%), Five Live (4%), Classic FM (3.9%), talkSPORT (2.6%), Radio 3 (2%), 6 Music (1.4%), 4 Extra (0.9%), Absolute 80s (0.7%).
  • 8.3% of listening in car is now ‘digital’. 35% of all new cars have DAB as standard.
  • The amount of listening on DTV and the Internet is the same – about 5% each of all listening
  • Mark Forrest’s new programme has 1.60m listeners – across the network the highest reach and share in a year. If you sneakily look at the unbalanced quarterly figures, it’s doing even better – boding well for next quarter.
  • AM/FM listening is at its lowest point ever – it’s share of listening is now only 60%.
  • In London, it’s even smaller. AM/FM has just a 54% share.
  • Five Live has its best reach in a year – even beating its Olympic quarter.
  • Doing some maths, I believe that (excluding longwave/BBC Local AM simulcasts) AM, as a platform, now has a reach of 24.4% and a share of just 10.7%
  • DAB has a reach of 32% and a share of 22.5%.
  • Year-on-year Nick Grimshaw‘s R1 Breakfast show has lost 1.3m listeners and quarter-on-quarter it’s dropped 907k.
  • For 15-24s, year-on-year he’s lost 274k of them and quarter-on-quarter’s 198k have disappeared.
  • It’s not all bad, honest. Looking at 15+, the average age of the show is at a two and a half year low of 33. When you look at 10+ it’s 31.8.
  • UKRD/TLRC’s combined UK market share is 0.7% and has, in total, less listeners than Absolute 80s.

If you enjoy reading these, hit Like below, and then more people get to see it!

And now over to Adam Bowie for the analysis or my other post for more on Nick Grimshaw.

Plus! on RAJAR Extra! A lovely infographic from RAJAR themselves!