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Rajar Q4 2021: National stations and networks

Rajar Q4 2021: National stations and networks

BBC Radio 2, the UK’s most popular radio brand, has increased its lead over corporation stablemate Radio 1, the latest quarterly Rajar radio audience figures have revealed.

Radio 2 remains the biggest station in the UK with an audience of 14.9 million (up 1.8%, while Radio 1 is reaching 8.2 million (down 1%). However both BBC channel’s breakfast shows were up quarter on quarter.

The new figures, which cover mid-September to mid-December 2021, show that Global’s Heart remains the biggest commercial radio brand, reaching a total of 10.3m people each week across the UK (a 3% increase compared to the third quarter).

This is the first time in two years that Rajar has been able to provide a full set of audience reach data that is comparable with the previous quarter. Rajar produced data with a new methodology in October, having been unable to conduct face-to-face research to gather audience data during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Overall for the BBC, 37 of its 56 stations have lost reach, with 12 stations dropping by 10% or more compared to the third quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, Global stablemate Capital brand reached a combined brand audience of 7.6m people (slightly down at 0.4%). This overall dip came despite the success of Capital Dance, a relatively new station launched by Global on 1 October 2020, which more than doubled audience reach (up 106% to 592,000).

Global also received a record audience for the LBC brand, which reached a combined audience of 3.2m, up 5%.

There were also positive figures too for Bauer’s Hits Radio brand (reaching 8.4 million people), Absolute Radio network (5.3 million) and the Greatest Hits network (3.4 million).

Bauer’s Absolute was up 3% to 5.3 million, with all but one of the network’s specialist sub brands gaining listeners compared to last quarter. The only fallers were the flagship Absolute Radio brand itself (down 14% to 2.6 million) and Absolute Radio 00s (down 2% to 162,000).

Notably, Absolute is succeeding among the younger Gen X/early millennial market that consumes 90s music, with Absolute Radio 90s (1 million) extending its lead over Heart 90s (545,000).

Alternatively, demand appears to be falling for 80s content. With the exception of Love 80s Manchester, all specialist “80s” brands fell in Q4 compared to Q3. The biggest stations are Absolute 80s (down 5% to 1.7 million) and Heart 80s (down 11% to 1.5 million).

James Sibree, account director at media agency John Ayling & Associates, said: “With commercial radio continuing to reach two in three adults a week, advertisers are able to combine the opportunity for mass reach on traditional radio with the ability to target niche audiences, interests & behaviours through digital buys and podcasts.

“Audio has never before been able to offer the flexibility it can now and with HFSS rules on the horizon and significant inflation likely to remain a feature of TV markets for the foreseeable future the time is right for brands to invest in their sonic assets,” he added.

Mediatel Connected subscribers can find a full breakdown of weekly reach figures, share of listener and national stations’ average hours per listener in the tables below or by logging in to your account.

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Additional content is available in this article for Mediatel Connected subscribers.

If you are interested in finding out more about a subscription please get in touch or find out more about Mediatel Connected.
If you are a subscriber, please log in.

Additional content is available in this article for Mediatel Connected subscribers.

If you are interested in finding out more about a subscription please get in touch or find out more about Mediatel Connected.
If you are a subscriber, please log in.

UPDATE 18/02/2022 – Due to a requested re-allocation of platform data from National services to Local services, the results for a small number of stations have changed. The above reflects the updated figures.

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