Commercial radio hits seven year high

Rajar: A record number of people are listening to radio each week in the UK, with commercial radio taking its biggest share of the market in seven years, according to the latest Rajar data.

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The percentage of the population tuning into a radio station each week grew to 91.7 in the three months to 30 June, up from 91.6% in the previous quarter and 90.6% a year earlier.

The number of people listening increased to 47.6 million, up from 47.2 million in the previous quarter and 46.7 million a year earlier.

Listeners are also tuning in for longer, with the average hours each person listens to radio each quarter up to 22.6 from 22.4 in the previous quarter and 22 a year earlier.

Commercial radio’s share of the radio market grew to 43.7%, up from 42.6% in the first three months of the year and 43.2% in the first quarter 2010.

The number of people listening to a commercial radio station each week was 34.02 million in the second quarter, down from the 34.04 million registered in quarter one but up on the 32.87 million in the same period a year ago.

Andrew Harrison, chief executive of RadioCentre, says the gains prove that listeners are “more appreciative of the variety of stations and listening formats which commercial radio offers.”

Nationally, Absolute grew listener numbers by 18.2% quarter on quarter and 3.8% year on year to 1.64 million.

TalkSport registered a 28.1% increase on last year despite slipping 1.1% quarter on quarter to 3.2 million listeners.

Classic FM, the UK’s biggest commercial station, had 5.73 million listeners, down 5.8% on quarter one but up 0.9% on last year.

BBC stations’ share of the market slipped to 54% but listener numbers increased to 35.5 million.

All of the BBC’s national stations except for Radio 4 and Radio 1 lost listeners quarter on quarter.

Radio 2 retained its title of the UK’s most listened to station with 13.96 million listeners, 571,000 less than in the first quarter but 237,000 up on the same period last year.

The station’s quarter on quarter drop mirrored the performance of breakfast show host Chris Evans, who lost 517,000 listeners in the period.

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