Absolute adds 300k listeners in first quarter as Bauer station

Absolute Radio has added almost 300,000 listeners over the last twelve months, according to its first full Rajar results since Bauer Radio completed its acquisition of the network. 

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The station’s network of analogue and digital channels registered 3.54m listeners in the three months to 31 March, up 8.9 per cent on the 3.25 million registered a year earlier.

Digital-only stations Absolute Radio 60s, up 33.8 per cent, and 80s, up 8 per cent helped lift the total.

Bauer completed its £20m plus acquisition of Absolute in December after talks between previous owner Times of India and several other suitors broke down.

The performance of Absolute helped push the audience for Bauer’s ‘Passion’ portfolio of stations, which also includes Kiss and Planet Rock, up 4.6 per cent year on year to 9.5 million. 

Global’s Heart network reclaimed top spot among national commercial networks. The network of Heart-branded regional stations registered 9.12 million listeners in the period, up 26.2 per cent year on year. It leapfrogged fellow Global brand Capital, which grew at a slower 5.6 cent year on year to reach 7.3 million listeners and fell back on the previous quarter’s 7.5 million.

Elsewhere nationally, TalkSport added 282,000 listeners year on year to reach 3.19 million each week in the quarter. However, quarter on quarter the station’s weekly reach dipped 0.5 per cent.

The performances of Absolute, Heart and TalkSport helped push the total listening to national commercial radio stations and networks up 1.3 per cent to 16.58 million in the quarter.

When local commercial stations are added the total grows to 34.07 million, up from 33.49 million a year earlier but down on the 34.9 million enjoyed in the previous quarter.

The total tuning into national BBC stations increased 0.7 per cent year on year to 35.31 million in the quarter but fell back 2.5 per cent on the previous quarter.

Radio 1, 2 and 4 all gained year on year by 1.2, 2.6 and 1.8 per cent respectively but Radio 3’s weekly audience fell 3.5 per cent.

The BBC ‘s total audience for local and national stations grew to 35.31 million, up from 35.06 a year earlier but down on the 36.22 million posted for the fourth quarter of 2013.

The total number of Britons tuning into radio each week grew to 48.06 million, up from 47.28 million a year ago but down from 48.37 million in the previous quarter. 

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