Digital rises to 25% of radio listening
A quarter of all radio listening in the UK is now via digital platforms, but analogue networks continue to be people’s medium of choice.
According to figures supplied by the Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) board, digital radio was up 0.2% in the final three months of 2010 to reach 25% of all listening.
The picture for digital platforms was even brighter year-on-year, with listening up from 20.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Digital audio broadcasting (DAB) remains the preferred digital platform, accounting for 15.8% of all listening, up from 13.7% a year ago. More than a third of the population (18.5 million adults aged 15+) now live in a household with a DAB set, up from 17.1m in 2009.
Listening via digital TV and internet platforms was also up by 36.6% and 54.9% respectively year-on-year. The share of online listening broke through the 3% barrier for the first time.
Mobile phone radio listening was up by 4.1% quarter-on-quarter, with 13.3% of British adults claiming to have accessed a radio station on their mobile device.
Digital radio must account for at least 50% of all listening before the government triggers its proposed roadmap for switching off analogue radio signals, currently pencilled in to start by 2015.
However, the popularity of analogue radio does not appear to be on the wane, with an overall share for AM and FM services standing at 67%, up from 66.6% a year ago.
According to a RAJAR survey, 46.7m adults tune in to a radio service on all platforms every week in the UK, representing 90.5% of the population.
Magic 105.4 retains London radio crown
Bauer Media’s Magic 105.4 retained the top spot among all commercial radio stations in London in the final quarter of last year, while Kiss 100 overtook Global Radio’s Heart 106.2.
Magic’s audience of 2.05 million was down 4.6% quarter-on-quarter, but up 12.6% year-on-year, according to the latest RAJAR data published today. The station had a 6.3% share of the market, leading the way among commercial stations in the capital.
Dance station Kiss, also owned by Bauer Media, saw its audience increase 13.5% year-on-year to 1.82m, with a 5% share of all listening. In contrast, Heart was down 14.1% quarter-on-quarter and 6.1% year-on-year to 1.76m, with a 4.6% share of the market.
Global’s 95.8 Capital FM also shed listeners, down 7.7% on the previous quarter to 1.96m. Capital had a 4.5% share of the market, just behind Heart.
“Commercial radio is in great shape and continuing to attract listeners away from the BBC,” said Dee Ford, Bauer Radio group managing director.
“Over 13 million people trust Bauer Radio every week to deliver a compelling mix of music and entertainment that they are passionate about – from Southampton to Inverness and from Belfast to Hull.
“Special congratulations must go to Magic 105.4, which has again been crowned the number one station in London – ahead of Radio 1, Radio 2 and gaining more share over Capital and Heart. A great performance.”
Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon’s Capital FM breakfast show had an audience of 1.08m, down 150,000 listeners year-on-year. However, it remained the top commercial breakfast programme.
Heart’s breakfast show, presented by Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott, slipped from second to fourth after losing around 100,000 listeners on the previous quarter to 728,000.
Theakston and Scott were overtaken by Magic’s Neil Fox, who attracted 66,000 listeners on the previous quarter to 853,000. Kiss’s Rickie, Melvin and Charlie came in third with 777,000, up 108,000 on the previous quarter.
Among the national commercial stations, the main Absolute Radio station had an average weekly reach of 1.37m listeners in the final quarter of last year, down 16.9% quarter-on-quarter and 7.9% year-on-year.
However, digital spinoff station Absolute 80s grew its audience by 17.9% on the previous quarter to 665,000, while Absolute Radio 90s was up 45.3% to 295,000.
Global Radio’s Classic FM was up 11.4% year-on-year to 5.72m, while the Heart network of stations grew 6.7% year-on-year to 7.746 million.
Bauer Media’s The Hits remained the most popular digital station with 1.12m, while digital station Planet Rock was up 18.5% year-on-year to an all-time high of 827,000.
Howard Stern, Piers Morgan trade insults
Howard Stern has objected to Piers Morgan’s claim that he revived the shock jock’s career by inviting him to appear on his new talkshow.
Stern, who was interviewed on Piers Morgan Tonight last month, said on his SIRIUS XM radio broadcast earlier this week that he was offended when Morgan recently offered him a monthly guest slot on the CNN series in an attempt to “save” the DJ’s career.
“I have more listeners on satellite [radio] than his 416,000 [viewers] on CNN,” he said, according to New York Magazine. “What the f**k help do I need? My career’s on fire!”
The British TV personality responded on his official Twitter page, saying: “I think the only thing Howard really finds ‘a little bit strange’ about me is that I was clearly smarter than him during our TV interview.”
Morgan later agreed to appear on Stern’s radio show next week for an on-air confrontation, which he predicted will compare to Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s famous ‘Rumble In The Jungle’ boxing match.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Morgan has seen the ratings for his CNN series drop by 75% since its debut week in January.
LOCALS: RAJAR Q4/10 roundup
We take a look at the ups and downs in BBC Local stations around the UK, plus the smaller groups and independents.
This quarter’s big winners in terms of year-on-year reach increases are Jack FM Bristol, Radio Borders and CFM. After a poor book last time out, the audience at Connect FM in Peterborough dropped again.
DIGITAL: 25 per cent reached
Twenty-five per cent of all radio listening is now to digital platforms, up a fraction from 24.8 per cent last quarter.
And 20.9 million adults now listen to digital radio each week, a year on year increase of 3.8 million adults, and an increase of 450,000 adults quarter on quarter.
BBC: Audience rise for 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live has recorded its biggest ever audience in Q4/10, reaching more than 7million listeners for the first time.
It was another good quarter for the BBC networks, with annual growth at every single one of the corporation’s national analogue and digital services.
ABSOLUTE: Good end to 2010
Absolute Radio has seen a dip in audience levels mainly due to losses in the London marketplace.
However, the entire network of stations ended 2010 up 33 per cent in reach and 27 per cent in listening hours, year-on-year, and is on schedule with its long-term strategy.
GLOBAL: Classic and LBC up
LBC UK and LBC 97.3 reaches almost a million listeners, whilst Classic FM records a three year high with 5.7 million listeners each week.
Capital FM remains in number two position in terms of London commercial reach (behind Magic), and Heart 106.2 is in fourth place behind Kiss 100.
BAUER: Magic 105.4 still on top
Magic 105.4 remains the number one music station in London, and becomes the first commercial radio station to beat Radio 2 for two consecutive quarters.
Kiss 100 has gone above Heart in the capital too and has also outperformed Radio 1 this quarter.
BREAKFAST: Capital stays up
Johnny and Lisa remain London’s most listened to commercial breakfast show, despite losing 66,000 listeners this quarter on 95.8 Capital FM.
Second place Neil Fox on Magic has increased his audience to close the gap, whilst Kiss 100 Breakfast with Rickie and Melvin and the crew overtake Jamie and Harriet on Heart 106.2.
DAB: Planet Rock on a high
The team at Planet Rock are celebrating their biggest ever audience this quarter, with 827,000 people now listening.
The digital station is up 18.4 per cent on this time last year, taking it to the number one commercial digital-only radio station in the UK.
UTV: Best yet for talkSPORT
talkSPORT had a great end to 2010, recording its highest ever reach, hours and market share and overtaking Smooth to become the number two national commercial radio station in the UK.
Owners UTV also say listening to their portfolio of local radio stations across the country is up by 17 percent.
GMG: Smooth grows to new high
GMG’s Smooth Radio went national last quarter, a move that has seen its audience grow by nearly 15 percent in 2010 to a record high of 3.08 million listeners per week.
Sister brand Real Radio had mixed fortunes in this RAJAR book, with improving reaches in Yorkshire and Wales but poor performances in Scotland and the North West of England.