Commercial radio loses ground to the BBC

RAJAR: Commercial radio has lost some of the ground it had gained on the BBC in the first half of the year, registering a drop in its share of the UK radio market in the third quarter.

The commercial sector’s share dipped to 42.4% in three months to 30 September, down from 42.7% in the second quarter and 43.1% in the same period last year, according to RAJAR data.

In contrast, the BBC saw its share increase to 55%, up from 54.6% in the second quarter and 54.9% last year.

In terms of reach, commercial radio dropped 2.3% quarter on quarter to 31,225 million listeners, a slight gain of 0.1% on last year.

BBC stations also registered a drop in listeners, down 1.5% month on month to 33.6 million, but up 1.8% on last year.

Commercial radio also lost some younger listeners to the BBC. Its share of 15-44 year-olds dropped to 52.1% from 52.9% in the second quarter and 53.5% last year. The BBC attracted 44.7% of the demographic, up from 43.6% in quarter two and 44% last year.

Commercial radio chiefs have accused the BBC of targeting younger listeners by shifting its programming policies, particularly at Radio 2, at the expense of the ad-funded sector, which it claims is losing key listeners as a result.

BBC Radio 2 remains the most listened to station in the country with 13.6 million listeners per week, up 1.5% month on month and 4.3% on last year.

The station’s breakfast host, Sir Terry Wogan, who will be replaced by Chris Evans in January, remains the most popular presenter in that slot nationwide with 7.7 million listeners, a drop on the second quarter’s 7.9 million but up on last year’s 7.01 million.

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