ON Broadcast Blog

Top of the Radio Pops

The RAJAR Quarter 4 2023 figures are out and it’s good news for commercial radio – which added one million weekly listeners in the last quarter and an increase of 10% in the last five years – accounting for 54.8% of all national listening (7.8m more listeners than the BBC in total).

Nearly a year after leaving BBC Radio 2 to join his former colleague Simon Mayo at Greatest Hits Radio, Ken Bruce has increased his audience from 2.2 million a week to 3.8 million (up 100,000 since October).  Indeed, Greatest Hits Radio enjoyed the largest audience boost – up 70% from 4 million to 6.8 million in the last 12 months.

Bruce’s successor at Radio 2 Vernon Kay saw a decline of 1.5 million listeners and overall the station shed one million listeners – down from 14.3 million to 13.3 million in 12 months – losing 159,000 since August, although figures appear to be levelling off following the ‘Ken Bruce effect’.

Radio 4’s flagship breakfast show Today Programme also saw a decline over the last year – down to 5.6 million from 6.2 million in the 12 months prior – although it did recoup 65,000 listeners in the last quarter. BBC Radio 5 Live also saw listeners drop by 6% from the previous year to 5.2 million listeners – although the number of listening hours increased slightly by 3.5%.

Global fared well overall with 26.6m weekly listeners tuning in to its stable of stations each week. Heart enjoyed 11.5 million weekly listeners with Heart Breakfast overtaking Radio 1 Breakfast (3.99m vs 3.92m). LBC now reaches 3 million listeners each week while its rolling news stations LBC News recorded 810,000 listeners.

TalkRadio has grown its reach to a record 725,000, up 19.2% year-on-year. Meanwhile, sister station Times Radio’s listening hours were up 16% year-on-year to a record 3.96m, reaching 492,000 listeners each week.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, BBC Local Radio suffered a massive loss of 793,000 listeners following major cuts to programming and mergers over the last six months.  BBC Radio London lost 54,000 listeners (9%) this quarter, but increased listening hours.

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