Absolute Radio drums up extra listeners

Absolute Radio was one of the few national commercial stations to report a quarterly rise in listeners as the number of people listening to radio continues to decline year on year, according to the latest Rajar figures.

Absolute Radio

The soft rock and pop station grew its national reach by 9.4 per cent quarter on quarter in the three months to the end of June to 1.76 million.

Its spin off stations did not fare quite so well, however, with Absolute 80s’ adding just 0.8 per cent more listeners to 864,000. Absolute Radio 00s’ notched up just 122,000 listeners, an improvement on the 84,000 attracted in the previous quarter, but still fuelling speculation the radio group may drop the sub brand altogether.

Rival Planet Rock also gained listeners in the quarter. It was up 10.1 per cent to 948,000 listeners.

Other smaller rock and indie music stations including XFM, Kerrang! And Q also marked quarterly increases in the period, although these have all lost listeners year on year.

Of the biggest commercial radio stations, only Classic FM, the Gold Network and Magic posted slight quarterly increases.

Global’s Classic FM was up 0.7 per cent to 5.48 million listeners but is down 4.4 per cent year on year. Its Gold Network increased listeners by 0.9 per cent in the quarter but the group of stations are down 3.6 per cent year on year.

Bauer’s Magic UK station was up 2.5 per cent quarter on quarter and was also up by the same amount year on year.

The UK’s biggest commercial radio network Heart, owned by Global Radio, was down 1.4 per cent in the quarter to 7.38 million listeners and is down 4 per cent year on year.

Of the BBC’s flagship stations, Radio 1 increased its weekly reach slightly to 11.2 million listeners, from 11.1 million listeners in the first quarter. Radio 2 fell 0.7 per cent in the quarter to 14.45 million.

At breakfast, both stations lost listeners. Outgoing Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles, who is being replaced by Nick Grimshaw in September, dropped 0.2 million listeners in the quarter to 6.9 million – a five-year low for the long-standing presenter.

Chris Evans’ breakfast show on Radio 2 remains the biggest in the UK, but it shed 0.3 million listeners in the quarter to 8.9 million.

Elsewhere, the BBC’s digital only stations Radio 1Xtra and Radio 4 Extra attracted their highest ever audiences in the three month period.

Radio 4 Extra was up 2.3 per cent quarter on quarter to 1.64 million, while Radio 1Xtra marked a 24.1 per cent quarterly increase to 1.14 million listeners.

Overall BBC stations pulled in 34.44 million listeners in the quarter, down 0.4 per cent on the first three months of the year and down 3.1 per cent year on year.

Commercial radio attracted 33.18 million listeners in the period, down 0.1 per cent quarter on quarter and 2.5 per cent year on year.

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