Evans loses 1 million listeners

Rajars: Chris Evans’ record-breaking early momentum has been checked after Radio 2’s breakfast show lost over a million listeners in the second quarter, according to the latest Rajar data.

The show registered 8.5 million listeners in the three months to June 30, down from 9.5 million in the first quarter.

Evans had gained over a million listeners in the first three months after taking over from Sir Terry Wogan in January.

Despite the month on month loss, Evans has 227,000 more listeners than Sir Terry in the same period last year.

The slump at breakfast drove Radio 2’s weekly reach down 5.8% quarter on quarter to 13.7 million.

The BBC’s listenership across all its stations also suffered, down 0.8% to 34.6 million. The Corporation’s share of the radio market also dipped to 54.6%.  

In contrast, the commercial radio sector’s share rose to 43.2%, up from 41.3% at the start of the year.

Listener numbers increased to 32.8 million, the commercial sector’s highest in a decade and up from 32.16 million last quarter.

Crucially, the commercial stations also saw their share of the advertiser-friendly 15-44 year-old market increase to 53.6% from 51.2% in the previous three month period and up 0.7% on the same period last year.

The radio industry at large will be buoyed as listening soared across the board. Weekly reach was up to 46.7 million from 46.4 million in the previous quarter as the World Cup and general election boosted talk radio.   

The average time each listener tunes in for and the total number of hours listened to also benefited, up to 22 and 1 million hours respectively.   

Elsewhere, the BBC’s digital-only station 6 Music saw its audience continue to increase, up to 1.2 million, a 16.7% gain on the previous quarter and up a massive 100.7% year on year.

The station was saved from closure by the BBC Trust in July after a social media campaign was launched to reverse the proposal put forward in March by BBC director general Mark Thompson that would have seen the station axed.  

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