It’s RAJAR day and Dave Berry framed the main story this morning (perhaps inadvertently) on the Capital Breakfast show:
“If you’re enduring the travel chaos from the tube strike in London, just put your headphones on – shut the world out and – let us look after you”
And with radio now reaching an absolutely stunning 91% of the UK population….EVERY WEEK…..radio is truly looking after its listeners. Which means it’s also looking after its advertisers.
The last 3 years in radio have been stunning as the industry has swept itself along on a sea of hard work, hard thinking, technology fitness training and the passion of incredibly talented people. And it’s the hard work that we contribute to and see everyday which has made UK Radio what it is this morning.
More ubiquitous than ever.
More popular than ever.
More relevant than ever.
48,375,000 adults 15+ listen to radio each week – it’s the highest number ever!
We’re still pouring over the figures but here are some top-line impressions:
Nationally on analogue, Classic FM, TalkSport and Absolute all posted good increases. Classic piled on 313,000 listeners to sit pretty with 5.6 million listeners every week. TalkSport broke the 3 million milestone (again) and now reports 3.2 million plus and even Absolute Radio National was up 4% at 1.3 million. For national coverage or super regional coverage via advertiser macros – the market is good and is competitive. Perfect.
Interesting to see Absolute 90s come more into fashion – big rises there on DAB as the nation gets another year older but the music remains timeless.
London - the big four stayed the big four with Capital still number one as its weekly reach hovered around the 2.1 million mark. Magic in London took a bit of a fall as did Heart. Kiss is number 2 for reach. Capital’s potential domination though is stunted by its lower than par average listener hours. So there’s plenty of love for Capital but we’d love to see more hours flowing through the pipeline. Market share based on inventory / hours elevates LBC to number 2. People listen to talk radio for longer but LBC actually lost reach. Strategy at LBC will be changing very shortly anyway (Feb 11th it takes on a national editorial style within existing distribution channels.)
The London top 10 is:
1 – Capital
2 – Kiss
3 – Magic
4 – Heart
5 – LBC (ILR)
6 – Absolute Radio London
7 – Smooth London
8 – XFM
9 – Sunrise
10 – Gold
Scotland was a land of sturdy stability as Clyde 1 in Glasgow, Capital Scotland and Real Scotland vied for the biggest reach, all 3 of them sitting between the 550 to 600,000 weekly listener mark. Smooth Glasgow had a good survey with near 10% rise in figures, Forth 1 in Edinburgh (now 320,000 listeners) and Northsound One in Aberdeen (136,000 listeners) also fared consistently.
Key 103 posted a rollercoaster like rise as it snapped back from last quarter’s terrible 390,000 weekly reach to a far more rosy cheeked 570,000 listeners. The leader in the market now though is Capital Manchester up 81,000 weekly listeners to 626,000. Real XS Manchester had a surprisingly meteoric survey – up to 150,000 which is a 39% rise.
Wales was a varied picture as ever with its unusual UK listener shape – big stations often covering large areas of low density population. The fact that turned our head was Capital South Wales. In a market where there are few options, Capital South Wales has disappointed achieving 1.3 million total hours in Q4 2013. Its predecessor, Red Dragon, had over 3.6 million at its peak. To be honest, we think this is lost hours for commercial radio. But there’s changes afoot as Global Radio have just announced this morning that they’ve sold Capital South Wales and 7 other stations to Communicorp to comply with a request by the Competition Commission.
Nearly a quarter of UK radio listening is now via DAB. Clearly the technology itself seems to mirror a weird identity crisis with DAB radios often designed to look like old radio sets! But the underlying trend is that the hardware is changing, the platform is therefore changing – but the brands are winning through it all as name not frequency become the currency.
Bauer’s strategy of leading DAB stations (obviously boosted by their purchase of Absolute) looks set to create more and more digital leadership opportunities for them in the next couple of years.
Radio 2 is a monster. 15.5 million listeners is just astonishing. Nationally the BBC reaches 36 million plus per week and their local stations alone reach 7 million per week when combined. At Radio Experts we reach these listeners with our outstanding Radio PR product which can work wonders when allied with newsworthy brand stories.
Super local vs big beefy brands
Plenty of stations who have stuck by their localness have started to vacuum up some of the listener slack that the big brand stations are leaving behind. The picture is varied as you’d expect but local stations are performing well in this RAJAR, here’s our top 10 local radio heroes!
The Bee – up 115%
96.3 Real XS Glasgow – up 87%
96.2 The Revolution – up 59%
The Breeze SW (South) – up 54%
The Bay – up 37%
107.5 Sovereign Radio – up 33%
2BR – up 32%
KCFM 99.8 – up 28%
106 JACK FM (Bristol) – up 23%
107.4 Tower FM – up 23%
After trawling through all the figures, our Radio Experts are now having a well earned cuppa, but over the coming days we’ll be unpacking even more of the data and how it affects radio advertisers.