Radio listening down as commercial and BBC report mixed results

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games failed to lift the fortunes of BBC Radio Five Live over the summer despite extensive coverage of British success, while Chris Moyles lost listeners in his final quarter as Radio 1 breakfast show, according to the latest listenership figures, contributing to an overall drop in radio listening.

Moyles
Former BBC Radio 1 breakfast show host Chris Moyles lost listeners in his final quarter.

Five Live’s listener numbers actually fell to 6.09 million listeners in the three months to 30 September, according to Rajar data, down 2.2 per cent on the same period last year and 0.8 per cent on the previous quarter. Companion station Five Live Sports Extra, also lost listeners in the period, down 12.6 per cent on last year and 6.4 per cent on the previous quarterto 1 million listeners.

Elsewhere, BBC stations had a mixed quarter with BBC Radio’s 3 and 4 reporting year on year and quarter on quarter gains but Radio 1 and 2 registering reverses.

Overall, the corporation saw its share of radio listening drop to 54.2 per cent, down from 54.5 per cent a year ago and 54.2 per cent in the second quarter.

Chris Moyles will be disappointed by his last Rajar as breakfast show host after seeing listener numbers drop to 6.73 million in the quarter, down from 6.9 million in the previous quarter and 7.16 million a year earlier. Moyles was replaced by Nick Grimshaw on 14 September.

Many national commercial radio stations also suffered during the summer. TalkSport was down 3.6 per cent on last year but up 3.4 per cent on the previous quarter to 3.02 million. Classic FM was up 1.2 per cent on last year but down 0.5 per cent on the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, Global Radio national networks Capital and Heart both suffered losses. The former fell 2.5 per cent year on year and 1.8 per cent quarter on quarter to 6.8 million, while the latter dropped 4.1 per cent and 0.6 per cent to 7.3 million.

The Absolute Radio network registered 2.9 million, up 3.6 per cent year on year but down 7.3 per cent on the previous quarter.

Bauer’s Passion Portfolio, which includes the national Kiss and Magic networks logged 6.4 million listeners, up 3.2 per cent on last year, while city station portfolio Place reach increased to 8.6 million.

Losses at the BBC and commercial radio stations, dragged radio listening down over the summer. Eighty nine per cent of adult tuned in on average each week, down from 89.4 per cent in the previous quarter and 90.7 per cent in third quarter of last year.

Of particular concern will be the drop in the percentage of people listening to radio using a digital device as the industry move towards an analogue switch-off, down to 45.6 per cent from the 46.2 per cent registered in the previous quarter. The percentage, however, was up on the 43.9 per cent registered in the same period last year.

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