BBC Radio gains at expense of commercial stations

Commercial radio saw its share of radio listening and listener numbers drop in the final quarter of 2011, according to Rajar, contributing to a dip in overall listener numbers.

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Lauren Laverne in a recent 6 Music TV campaign

Ad-funded station’s share of listeners was 42.4% in the three months to 31 December, down from 43.3% in the previous quarter and 42.6% in the same period last year.

Listener numbers dropped to 32.8 million, down 2.7% on the previous quarter and 0.7% on last year.

Conversely, the BBC’s share of listening grew to 55.5%, up from 54.5% in the previous quarter and 55.3% last year. Listener numbers grew to 34.9 million.

Despite the BBC gains, fewer people listened to radio stations in the fourth quarter. Listener numbers dropped to 46.67 million in the period, down 1% in the quarter and 0.1% on last year.

Among national commercial stations, Talk Sport grew listeners by 2% in the quarter and 3.5% on last year to 31.96 million.

Absolute saw its portfolio of stations – Absolute Radio and nostalgia brands 80s and 90s – grow 27% year on year despite a 1% dip on the previous quarter.

Global Radio’s national Capital network added listeners in the period. Capital now reaches 7.07 million listeners, up 0.7% in the quarter and 4.7% on last year.

Its Heart network, however, fell back to 7.46 million in the period, a 2.4% and 3.6% dip.

At the BBC, Radios 1, 2 and 4 all improved listener numbers year on year but only the latter registered a quarter on quarter gain.

Six Music continued to add listeners, boosted by a marketing campaign featuring presenters Lauren Laverne and Jarvis Cocker, up 17.4% in the quarter and 26.9% on last year to 1.44 million.

For full details of the performance of national commercial and BBC stations click here.
For a breakdown of commercial and BBC radio share and listening click here

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