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COMMERCIAL RADIO ENJOYS WINDFALL BONUS FROM CAPITAL GAINS After the stellar performance of last quarter, built around the general election and World Cup, radio had a tough act to follow – but managed to maintain reach and grow total listening hours by 2.4%. This means that over 90% of the UK population are tuning in each week, firmly countering any doom-mongering predictions. Once again, commercial radio is driving this, growing total reach by 7% year on year and adding half a million listeners on last quarter’s record breaking results. Last quarter we reported commercial radio’s highest share since the new survey began reporting 3 years ago, so adding a further 3% hours is a superb performance. Commercial radio now accounts for 43.4% of all radio listening – a second successive record high.

National Classic FM continues to be the leading national station, although it dropped slightly in both reach and hours – the latter falling by 3.4% on last quarter. Elsewhere, however, talkSPORT pushed on from the World Cup to record their highest ever audience, now reaching nearly 3m listeners. In the same period BBC’s Five Live lost 7% on the previous quarter, hopefully showing that talkSPORT’s gain is not just a short term bonus from the summer. It’s also worth noting that, despite its ‘white van man’ image, the station now has more ABC1 listeners than Absolute’s total audience. Absolute Radio has also performed strongly, increased its reach and hours by 4% on last

quarter. Encouragingly, hours are up 11% year on year, whilst reach is up 4%, showing that the station seems to have well and truly found its feet two years after the rebrand. Breakfast is leading the way, with 31% more listeners tuning in to ‘Music Radio Personality of the Year’ Christian O’Connell than last year – the standout result in the breakfast market.


significantly bigger than its nearest commercial rival Classic FM, and also beats BBC’s Five Live and all of the BBC’s local radio output combined. We look forward to seeing whether Capital can follow in its footsteps. At the start of its new era as a national station, the Smooth Network has had a strong set of results, growing reach by 9% and hours by nearly 10%.

The usual jostling at the top of the table in London continues, with Magic regaining bragging rights. The station narrowly pipped the resurgent Capital into second place in terms of reach by just 24,000 listeners, although maintains its dominance in terms of hours. The station now has 6.7% share of the London market.

Somewhat strangely, the Gold Network saw some of the strongest performing stations, and the network had double-digit growth in terms of reach and hours. Maybe there is life left in the AM platform after all!

Capital’s strong performance, increasing listeners by 10.6% on last quarter and 16.9% on last year, is extremely timely ahead of the brand’s roll-out, and seems to show that the station is back on track. Johnny and Lisa continue to lead the way at breakfast, with the number one show adding 30,000 listeners this quarter.

Digital radio has enjoyed a successful year, with over 20 million people now tuning in to radio via a digital receiver each week (an increase of 15.4% year on year). Listening through digital platforms now accounts for a quarter of all listening.

Elsewhere, Smooth was the standout performer for the quarter, growing reach and hours by 31% and 45% respectively. Again, this is positive news for another brand broadening its horizons.

ILRs Contrary to popular belief, local commercial radio seems to be in good health, reaching just under 27m listeners a week – up 1.5% on last quarter and 7.8% on last year. We continue to see the trend, led by Global Radio, of building strong national brands. Heart seems to have established itself impressively quickly, with the brand now reaching just under 8m listeners a week. Combined this is


DAB is still the most popular digital device, accounting for 62% of all digital hours. However, listening via television and the internet both increased this quarter, and 13% of adults now claim to listen through their mobile phone. Overall, an encouraging set of results to show that the digital transition is still moving forward – albeit a long way off the target for digital switchover. For more information please contact Arum Nixon.

Q3 Rajar Results - MediaVest  

An analysis of Q3 2010 Rajar Results