Tag Archives: RAJAR

RAJAR Q1 2016

19 May

Welcome to RAJAR day. The results for Q1 2016 are in and with a Red Bull in hand (other energy drinks are available) our experts have been pouring over the figures, assessing the changes and forming a view on the overall radio listenership trends during the quarter.

The way people consume media today is ever-changing. The media landscape is shifting with press, TV and online companies all battling to re-invent themselves, in a world that demands constant evolution. What this RAJAR demonstrates is that radio is still hugely popular – steady, reliable and consistently delivering loyal audiences.

Overall, commercial radio’s share of listening is 43.2%, up from 42.8% year on year. Share of national listening is also up 14.6% from 14.2%, as is reach – up by 6% to 18.2 million.

There are plenty of fascinating stories to take out of this quarter’s results, but here are some of the key insights nationally and locally.

Nationals and Networks
One of the most fascinating stories revolves around Radio X. This was always going to be the RAJAR where changes to the brand and programming last year really started to make their mark. They put in a solid performance with an increase in total listening hours but interestingly most of the gains came from outside of London.

In the battle between the Global and Bauer brands, Global still has the bigger numbers in terms of reach and hours but Bauer have made the biggest gains. Magic has pulled an increase of 3% reach and 5% in hours out of the hat. The Kiss audience has remained stable but Absolute Radio’s 15% increase in total hours to 15.7million is great news for the popular rock station.

The Digital radio success story continues – with DAB, DTV and online now accounting for 44.1% of all radio listening. And it’s no surprise that ownership of DAB radios has increased to 55.7%.

Digital stations that are making a noise this RAJAR include Planet Rock and Absolute 80s. Planet Rock has increased by 10% in reach and, more impressively, have rocked out with a guitar-twanging increase of 30% in total hours.

Absolute 80s keeps growing as fast as an 80’s mullet with a weekly reach of 1.7 million, up by 9% – their highest ever.

Kisstory is on a high – up in both weekly reach and total hours by 3%. Other Absolute brands – 70s, 90s and Classic Rock have seen a more mixed picture of gains and losses.

London has had a quieter than usual RAJAR quarter with only 3 of the 14 major London stations increasing in reach.

Capital 95.8 is king as the largest reaching station in London, with nearly 2.3 million listeners tuning in each week – an increase of 10% compared to the last quarter.

Capital has also won the battle for breakfast in London with Dave Berry and new co-presenters George Shelley and Lilah Parsons. The weekly audience is up 35% year on year, so didn’t suffer from the departure of long-standing co-host Lisa Snowdon.

Heart can claim the prize for the most listening hours in London, beating its stable-mate LBC.

Absolute Radio will be absolutely ecstatic with their performance in the capital, with a rise of 22% in total listening hours. The Christian O’Connell breakfast show has also achieved its highest ever audience.

Analysing the smaller London stations, Premier Christian Radio has gained 11% in reach and 42% in total listening. Meanwhile, Sunrise is resurgent, winning back the majority of the listeners they lost in the last quarter, up 25% in reach and 22% in hours.

These are the top 5 stations in London in terms of reach

1.    Capital London         2,286,000

2.    Kiss 100                     2,011,000

3.    Magic 105.4              1,745,000

4.    Heart London           1,547,000

5.    LBC 97.3                   1,001,000

And here’s the ranking in terms of total hours:

1.    Heart London           9,482,000

2.    Capital London         9,474,000

3.    LBC 97.3                   8,993,000

4.    Magic 105.4              8,812,000

5.    Kiss 100                     8,726,000

Northern Ireland
Across the Irish sea the mist is clearing as Downtown Radio has bounced back from a couple of disappointing quarters, with a 12% increase in reach and a 21% increase in hours – the only Northern Irish station to increase both reach and hours this quarter.

Both Q brand radio stations have managed to up their average listening hours with Q Radio Belfast showing a spike in total hours of 12% and the Q Network increasing by 6%. The relatively recent rebrand from Citybeat doesn’t seem to have harmed Q Radio Belfast, with the station growing its listenership both quarters since the name change.

Heart Scotland hasn’t missed a beat as it’s managed to build on the solid 35% increase in total hours it achieved last quarter, adding a further 7% this time round. This brings its total hours up to 3,641,000, which Year on Year is a 29.2% increase in hours. It’s a stellar performance.

Capital Scotland has also had a good RAJAR, with a slight increase in reach and a 12% boost in hours. This means that Capital Scotland still holds the top spot in its battle against Heart Scotland in terms of reach, but Heart has is still dominant in terms of total hours.

Over in Edinburgh, there have been some fairly hefty swings this RAJAR,  but one highlight is local DAB station, Forth 3. It’s had a colossal uplift in its total hours of 96%, but bear in mind this only takes their total weekly hours up to 49,000.

West Sound & Radio Borders have both had slight uplifts in reach and hours, and now achieve impressive reach percentage figures of 47% and 53% respectively.

Smooth Radio Scotland has also has had a decent quarter with a 3% increase in reach and a 4% increase in hours.

They’ll be singing their hearts out in the north of the principality as Heart North Wales reported a 36% increase in hours – that’s 11.77% year on year. Owners Global Radio will also be celebrating the success of Smooth Radio South Wales – upping its total hours by 16%.

96.4 The Wave has the distinction of being the only Welsh station to increase both reach and hours this quarter, although the change is marginal.

The Local Picture
Let’s start in the South and after a great Q4 result at the end of 2015, the KMFM group has as another great move forward – closing the gap on Heart Kent further with a 23% increase in their total hours.

Elsewhere in Kent, it’s smooth sailing for the Smooth brand in Kent with a 25% uplift in hours. But people still love Heart – it retains the honour of being most listened to station in the area.

If you want a taste of Cornwall, the waters stay calm for Pirate FM as it retains its positive position from last quarter with another increase in hours.

As mentioned earlier, one of the major talking points for Q1 is how did Radio X perform? Well, in Manchester the brand switch up seems to be working, with gains in both in hours and reach (up 23% from 1,011,000 to 1,239,000  total hours and up 6% in weekly reach.) However, Capital Manchester still remains the most dominant station, even with a slight decrease of 7% in hours.

The AM stations are doing well, perhaps due in part due to the ageing UK population. Global’s Smooth brand is doing well in Cambridge – up 59% in hours and Smooth Devon has also posted a big increase – up 46% in hours.

Looking to the big cities, particularly across the north, the heritage stations are seeing great loyalty from listeners. Bauer’s Big City Network put in a strong  performance during Q1. TFM 2 deserves a mention – up 65% in hrs (from 84,000 to 139,000) and also 36% in reach – a great performance from the Teesside station.

In other news north of the border Metro 2 is up 52% in hours and 12% in reach. Blackpool’s Rock FM 2 is also up 20% in hours.

Going ultra-local, residents in West Sussex are getting into the spirit by getting behind their local station Spirit FM and listening for longer – total hours up 19% from 441,000 to 524,000.

There’s a favourable wind behind The Breeze brand. The Breeze Basingstoke, Newbury and Andover is up 36% in hours and up 33% in reach compared to the last quarter. Over in Cheltenham, The Breeze is up 45% in hours.

There’s also a revolution in Oldham with their local station (The Revolution) up 37% in hours and 5% in reach.

Overall, commercial radio continues to evolve with new brands, new stations and new technology driving growth. The results from Q1 shows that there is still massive loyalty to radio across the UK. Within a media sea of change, Radio is the ship with a strong hand on the rudder!

We’ve got all the data, so if you like to know more about what the latest RAJAR figures mean for you call us on 0203 588 3000 or visit our site to read more about our radio advertising


How do you listen to radio?

4 May

That’s the question asked by researchers compiling the latest Midas survey published by Rajar. Now, more than ever before, radio lives beyond the radio set and this research offers some additional insight into all radio and non-radio, audio listening.

Top line findings are:

  • Live radio accounts for 84% of all in-car listening compared to 12% for on-demand music services.
  • We spend nearly 26 hours each week with audio content.
  • Live radio accounts for 74% share of all audio consumption.
  • Catch up services account for 15% of weekly radio listening.
  • 38% of audio listening is on devices other than radio sets with PC/laptops accounting for 11% and smartphones 8%.

Listening on FM or AM is still the most popular way to listen to live radio at 47%, with DAB Radio next at 35%.

But what of the future? More personalised audio advertising? The two major radio groups Global and Bauer already offer listeners the opportunity to be served personalised advertisements on Capital Xtra and Absolute Radio. In addition, Bauer have just extended their service to the Kiss Network, Kerrang!, Heat Radio and Planet Rock.

There’s a whole range of options available to radio advertisers with an ever expanding variety of platforms.

Radio Experts can help brands navigate this complex array of opportunities and pin-point the perfect solutions. Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk. @timcradioexpert

Summer Lovin’

24 Mar

The clocks move forward this weekend, marking the start of British Summer Time. We’re all looking forward to warmer weather, but both the UK ad market and commercial radio have seen things hotting up for some time.

The UK was recently cited as the stand-out ad market in Europe, with advertising spend this year forecast to outperform the Western and Central Europe region. In addition, radio advertising spend in the UK is predicted to be up by 5%.

The latest RAJAR figures also revealed that, for the first time in 15 years, commercial radio has more listeners than the BBC.

The start of British Summer Time brings people out of their cocoons. The population starts getting out and about, engaging in more outdoor leisure pursuits, holidays and gardening activities – very often taking the radio with them wherever they go. This is an ideal opportunity for businesses to use radio to promote their products and services locally, using established radio brands such as Heart, Capital, Smooth, Radio X and the City Network.

For wider reach, there are strong national brands, such as Classic FM, talkSPORT, Absolute and Magic. In addition, there are now 18 stations broadcasting on the second national digital multiplex – many new to the national marketplace. These include talkRADIO, talkSPORT2, Share Radio, Mellow Magic, Magic Chilled, Sunrise Radio, Panjab Radio and Fun Kids. These stations are already broadcasting, but they are soon to be joined by the return of “Virgin Radio”, which launches on the 30th of March.

If you’ve got a brand that wants to be the “sound of summer”, contact us and we can help pin-point the right station selection for your campaign.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk. @timcradioexpert

The Capital Network Expands

7 Mar

The Capital network continues to expand, as it now moves further into Wales.Capital FM Network

Ofcom’s recent approval of format changes to Heart North Wales, Heart Wrexham and Chester means Global can re-brand these stations as Capital.

Capital has a reach of 7.5 million each week across the UK and with this expansion into North and North East Wales; they say that “listeners will get access to the latest glamour, glitz and gossip happening right now in the world of showbiz and get up close and personal with current and emerging artists”.

It’ll take a while for these changes to filter through to RAJAR results, but we’ll be keeping a keen eye over the next couple of quarters to see what impact the re-brand has on the audience figures in Wales.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk. @timcradioexpert

Radio’s winners and losers – RAJAR

6 Feb

Who’s jumping for joy and who’s got their head in their hands?

The RAJAR figures for Q4 of 2013 were released today and our Radio Experts have been pouring over the figures to give you a quick top line on the winners and losers of commercial radio.

Here are some of the key headlines:

The radio battle in the nation’s capital continues and the winner is Capital London which still has the highest number of listeners in London. Its breakfast show presented by Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon retains its spot as London’s most popular breakfast show with 1.2 million listeners.

Capital South Wales achieved 1.3 million total hours in Q4 2013, but in its heyday – predecessor Red Dragon totalled over 3.6 million.

Key 103 in Manchester bounces back from hitting its lowest ever number of weekly listeners in the last RAJAR survey, up 44% to 570,000.

Kiss UK loses minimal listeners but gains 5% in total hours. The nation loves kiss!

Classic FM gains over 300,000 listeners – returning what it lost in the last quarter – now reaching 5.6 million in total.

TalkSport breaks 3.2 million listeners in terms of reach – making strides back towards its previous reach record.

LBC appears to have dropped in reach on both AM and FM but on the flip side has increased its average hours.

This RAJAR is showing that local radio is fighting back as we’re seeing many local stations resurgent against the bigger brand rivals.

All in all, commercial radio is in rude health reaching more and more people up from 34.4 million to 34.9 million listeners, but on average they’re listening for fewer hours.

For more insight on what this quarter’s RAJAR means for brands using radio advertising contact us.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk. @timcradioexpert

It’s not what you’re on to – its what you’re in to : RAJAR update

31 Jan

Total radio listening was up 1% year on year – with over a billion hours crammed into our good nation’s very British eardrums. But how it found its way into our eardrums is an arena where we are seeing massive change. Across the board, we are seeing a plethora of devices and ways to listen that break the traditional FM/AM dial mould – but we’re also seeing a fragmentation of the listener hours across an ever stronger fold of the more niche stations.

The Results in Summary

The big middle of the road stations, Heart, Capital, Magic and Kiss in London – all maintained a dominance but absorbed some quite significant drops. But it was the smaller niche stations that pushed upwards and onwards.

And that’s good for Choice…..

So let’s start with Choice FM. London’s now major alternative urban station posted a very aggressive and pleasing 568,000 weekly listeners. Then there was XFM who came back with a vengeance and had a positive RAJAR for the first time in many moons. Smooth in London went large and also did well nationally with its older calmer more eclectic mix of music and style. A result that will please Global Radio as they eye up their slinky new outfit.

A big star this RAJAR was Absolute Radio, posting rises across the portfolio of stations and streams, Absolute London fared well and the headline was Absolute’s Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show now being London’s second biggest behind Dave Berry and Lisa Snowden on Capital. It’s old style thinking but if you start the day with a station, it does tend to stick around a little longer in your listening habits.

It’s also looking more and more like Bauer are in the lead to buy Absolute Radio. Meaning the battle of the top 2 (Global v Bauer)  is started to look less like David and Goliath and more like Tiger Woods v Rory McIlroy.

As well as Absolute, nationally, Talksport fell back a little bit – but its figures always swirl around like an Andy Murray lob shot in the wind, as its listenership fluctuates with the live sporting events it carries. Classic FM posted rises and its mega audience still pushes way beyond 5 million. That’s a lot of listeners…….

The Heart and Capital networks both posted fair results throughout the regions but the Global policy of talent investment centrally, delivered locally (!) is paying more dividends to the balance sheet than the RAJAR highlights reel. On the other hand, Bauer’s portfolio of stations generally did well. Magic topped London but Key 103 also took the Manchester crown. Metro had a big one in Newcastle, Clyde 1 piled on the Glaswegian listeners and overall there was a sense that passionate local big city radio has once again proved that it has a very solid contemporary relevance.

Big shout out to Real Radio Wales too – topping half a million listeners making it a real heavyweight station now and a fabulous way to deliver an important geographic audience to advertisers.

Radio Devices – How we listen

Digital listening was up 14% year on year to a 33% share of all radio listening to any digital platform. This largely thanks to the UK Radioplayer and innovative stations such as Absolute Radio leading the way with their Apps and streaming services. Thanks to increased and better access to many different platforms and the release of faster internet on mobile devices (4G), online listening reaches 51 million hours per week – up 43% Y on Y. To add to this 19% of adults have listened to radio via their mobile phone – up 28% year on year.

All in all – the big headlines

  • Listening: We’re listening more and more – radio is match fit and surging across new platforms like an enthusiastically overfilled bath.
  • London: Magic tops London, Capital and Absolute go 1st and 2nd  in London’s Breakfast Show wars. Smooth and Choice FM deliver big rises and more relevance in a more fragmented market (sharing is caring)
  • National: Classic up, Absolute up, Talksport down a little but its gender skew now 81% male, so when it’s right…..it’s oh so right.
  • Regions: Clear trend towards rewarding Bauer’s strategy of local passionate big city content. National talent based Global content does well but pumping passionate local content seems to do even better. There’s room for both.
  • How we listen:  Everybody Appy? We are listening online and via mobile more than ever, with online listening up 43% year on year. Radio and click thru move ever closer and become more symbiotic.

For more info on what this quarters RAJAR means for radio advertising in your area or for your brand drop us a line or give us a call now.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk. @timcradioexpert

Magic FM proves it’s a DAB hand as Radio’s Resilience shines through…

25 Oct

As Londoners wake up to dulcet tones of Radio 4 in the morning, flicking over to Magic as they stumble out into the foggy morning commute, the UK’s radio has had some interesting results this quarter.

After a nail biting few months when the industry thought people would never turn away from Olympics coverage on the BBC it would seem that commercial radio has not been affected to the extent feared. With 89% of the population tuning in to radio and thanks to shows on Absolute Radio (teaming up with BT London Live) and Talksport supporting the BBC it was not as much of an issue as first thought.

Mobile phone listening is on the rise thanks to the raft of new digital platforms. Reportedly 18% of adults listen to radio on their mobile phone an increase of 12% year on year, which is hardly surprising due to the great apps such as the Radioplayer and new digital services like Absolute Radio (with their high quality app and in-stream advertising).

Surely in London it’s all about the commercial radio breakfast show? This last quarter and year has seen an upheaval and change in the London morning marketplace that we haven’t seen for a few years, with the loss of Chris Moyle’s on BBC Radio 1 and Johnny Vaughan leaving Capital FM, how are Dave Berry & Lisa Snowdon doing and how is Christian O’Connell getting on? Well, based on audience reach, Capital is still the favourite clock radio alarm station but Magic has made up ground percolating into second place (822,000 listeners) whilst Heart has slipped back into fourth place.

We’ll be pouring through the detailed results region by region / sector by sector  in the coming days. To see what this means for you the advertiser and how best to navigate your budget around this quarter’s RAJAR changes get the inside track from Radio Experts. And for more insight on RAJAR, the radio marketplace, great opportunity curation and a masterclass in planning buying and creating great radio advertising campaigns – please get in touch, or follow us on twitter.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk. @timcradioexpert