Continuing to top Rajar’s league table in terms of weekly reach is Total Global Radio (UK) with 23.4m listeners.
In Q1 2020 the network was up 0.6% quarter-on-quarter but -0.5% year-on-year.
However, year on year, all three of Global’s largest radio brands – Heart Brand UK, Capital Brand UK and Smooth Brand UK – each saw their weekly reach decline; -3%, -8.2% and -0.3%, respectively.
However, Classic FM performed well (+3.7 YoY% to almost 5.5m) as did LBC Brand (+23.6% YoY to almost 2.8m).
Indeed, LBC’s figures are the highest in the station’s 47-year history, proving the appetite for news in turbulent times. A strong social media presence, particularly on Twitter, has perhaps also helped the station attract new listeners.
LBC News, the UK’s first national rolling news radio station, also launched in Q1 with 657,000 weekly listeners.
Meanwhile, Bauer Radio – Total recorded a reach of just under 18m weekly listeners – dropping -1% QoQ, though reporting a year-on-year boost of 1.7% across its portfolio of stations.
Bauer’s Hits Radio Brand was a stand-out performer, up 9.1% YoY while holding steady quarter-on-quarter to reach 6.6m listeners each week.
However, Kiss performed less well, falling -7% YoY and -5.4% QoQ QoQ to 3.6m.
The overall the Kiss Network was down -1.5% YoY to a little over 5.1m.
Elsewhere, BBC 6 Music was up 1.6 YoY to more than 2.5m, while BBC Radio 2 dropped -6.5% to 14.4m, and BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) dropped -3.1% to 11.1m.
Other notable results include Total Wireless Group (-1.5% YoY to 5m); Virgin Radio (+15% to 1.5m); and JACK, which secured a 13.8% year-on-year increase to reach 347,000 listeners each week.
Despite the various ups and downs of individual stations, the commercial market entered lockdown at the end of March reporting its largest audience yet, with 36.3 million listeners tuning in every week.
However, notably, this week’s figures do not reflect what lockdown actually did to listening; but in-line with other media and based on anecdotal evidence it’s highly likely there will be a strong up-tick.
It is worth noting, however, that the implementation of the lockdown interfered with Rajar data collection for the final two weeks of Q1. To counter the imbalances caused by the shortfalls in weeks 12 and 13, the audience research body imported the requisite data from the corresponding weeks in 2019 and configured it to fit into the Q1 2020 design.
The outcome is described as a normalised data set, with a typical profile, and which passed through the weighting process without issue.
Given the restrictions on social contact imposed in order to combat Covid-19, it is anticipated that Q1 2020 will be the “bedrock” of the Rajar data for more than one quarter. This action has been approved by the audience measurement body’s board, on which all sides of the industry are represented.
Share of listening
Total Global Radio (UK) again claimed the highest share of listening during the first quarter of 2020 at 20.6%, recording no change on last quarter but a -0.1 percentage point drop year-on-year.
In second, BBC Radio 2 claims a share of 16.3% after dropping -0.7pp QoQ and -1.1pp YoY, while Bauer Radio Total‘s share fell -0.2pp over the quarter to 15.7% – although the commercial broadcaster grew its share by 0.8pp over the year.
In fourth, BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) claimed a share of 12.9%, a -0.5pp drop QoQ and -0.2pp drop YoY.
The next largest shares belong to Global’s Heart Brand UK (6%), BBC Radio 1 (5.6%), and Bauer’s Hits Radio Brand (5.4%).
Average hours per listener
BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) topped the rankings in terms of average hours per listener in Q1 2020, holding steady at 11.5 hours – although that marks a -1.7% decline YoY.
Meanwhile, following a -2.6% slide QoQ and -3.4% YoY, BBC Radio 2 drops down to second with an average of 11.2 hours.
LBC (UK) now ranks third with 10.1 hours per listener, while the LBC Brand as a whole averages 9.7 hours – an increase of 5.4% over the quarter and 1% over the year.
At 9.2 hours per listener digital-only BBC 6 Music comes in fifth, down -1.1% QoQ and -7.1% YoY.
Overall, Bauer Radio Total and Total Global Radio (UK) both recorded an average of 8.6 hours per listener, representing no change QoQ and a 1.2% increase YoY for Bauer, and a drop of -1.1% QoQ and -3.4% YoY for Global.
Among the stations to see the largest quarterly growth in hours per listener were Bauer’s Smooth Radio Chill (+40% to 4.2 hours), Global’s Heart 70s (+32.3% to 4.1 hours) and Bauer’s Magic Soul (+28% to 6.4 hours).
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