Helen Boaden

Category: Performance

BBC Radio stations’ unique, high-quality offer has helped to preserve radio listening in the UK in the face of ever-increasing competition.

Our continuing focus on distinctive content and digital innovation, such as the launch of our Playlister service, means radio is well placed for future challenges.

Helen Boaden, Director, Radio

Ambitious content across all networks

BBC Radio continues to produce outstanding creative content across all its networks daily and through single standout moments:

Radio 1’s Talk It Out encouraged listeners to share their problems and receive expert advice, while the Teen Awards recognised more young ‘heroes’; Radio 2 broadcast a live minute-by-minute, three-hour documentary on the assassination of JFK and ran the year-long People’s Songs, telling the story of modern Britain through 50 records; Radio 3 celebrated anniversaries of Britten, Verdi and Wagner with complete opera cycles for each, while its Free Thinking festival of ideas returned to Gateshead to explore ‘Who’s in Control?’; on Radio 4, Cultural Exchange invited 75 leading creative minds to choose their favourite cultural work, while Grayson Perry’s Reith Lectures gave a powerful and playful insight into contemporary art.

An unrivalled breadth of music

The BBC’s national networks offered a unique range of music, from Radio 2’s Folk Awards at the Royal Albert Hall and the inaugural 6 Music Festival in Manchester to new urban music at 1Xtra Live and the 119th season of the BBC Proms, which had more sell-out concerts than any previous year and included a last night led for the first time by a female conductor, Marin Alsop.

New British talent was showcased in the Sound of 2014 poll on Radio 1, Radio 3’s New Generation Artists and the Asian Network’s New Music Day, whilst 120,000 unsigned acts have now uploaded their music on to the ‘BBC Introducing’ website.


Whilst time spent listening remains under pressure in the face of digital competition, BBC Radio has been highly resilient in terms of reach with record audiences for Radio 2, Radio 4, 6 Music and the Asian Network. Hours continue to be under pressure though they have stabilised in the last quarter. Over the year, 90% of the population listened to the radio every week; 67% to BBC Radio.


In October, as part of our move towards a more personalised service for our listeners, we launched Playlister, a service which allows users to tag tracks as they are played on BBC Radio and build up and export their personal playlists.

Digital Radio listening continues to grow, with 37% now through digital devices. Radio 1 became the first radio station to attract a million subscribers to its YouTube channel and the iPlayer Radio app now reaches more than 6 million browsers every week.

Browsers infographic

Serving all Audiences

  • 6 Music reach is now nearly 2 million, cementing its position as the UK’s leading digital station.
  • Radio iPlayer now reaches over 6 million browsers every week, and launched an app for Android devices in April 2013.
Radio infographic

Quality and distinctiveness

  • In a year of outstanding creativity and ambition we have seen BBC Radio audiences grow across traditional networks, digital stations and online.
Our continuing focus on distinctive content and digital innovation, such as the launch of our Playlister service, means radio is well placed for future challenges."

Helen Boaden, Director, BBC Radio

Performance by Service - Radio

An accessible alternative to this graphic is available to download from the Annual Report PDF. 

Performance by service chart - Radio

Sources: RAJAR (Radio reach and time spent). Appreciation Index: Pulse panel of 20,000 UK adults 16+ by GfK.

Reach definition: 15+ minutes for all stations and audiences aged 15+.

Arrows denote whether there has been a change of +/-2.5% from the previous year’s AI.

* Radio 1: among its target group of 15 to 29-year-olds, reach was 39.7% and time spent was 06:25.

† 1Xtra: among 15 to 24-year-olds, reach was 7.6% and time spent was 04:27.

‡ Radio 2: among its target group of 35+ year-olds, reach was 35.3% and time spent was 12:40.

§ Asian Network: among its target group of British Asians under 35, reach was 16.2% and time spent was 05:13.

()Figures in brackets from 2012/13.

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