'Disappointing' decrease in local radio listeners

local radio stations graphic Fewer people are listening to local radio

BBC local and regional radio lost 683,000 listeners this year according to the latest Rajar radio listener figures.

The controller of English Regions, David Holdsworth, calls this quarter's figures disappointing. BBC Local Radio on its own saw a decrease of 408,000 compared to this time last year.

Local radio's share of listening also showed an overall reduction to 7.7% compared to 8.1% last year. The average hours listened per listener per week were 9.5 compared to 9.76 last year.

Holdsworth says he is hopeful things will get better: 'I remain confident that we're on track to develop growth long term.'

This decrease is in line with general radio listening, which is down by 800,000 compared to last year.

Network BBC radio stations have also lost listeners. Radio 1, 3 and 4 all reduced their reach by 3% on this time last year.

Asian Network boost

There are some stations bucking the trend. Among them is BBC Asian Network whose audience rose by 16.1% on last year's figure to 547,000. This comes after the BBC Trust confirmed in May that the station will face 18% cuts instead of the 34% that had been proposed initially. The station will have a slight decrease in broadcasting hours, closing between midnight and 6am.

Radio 2 has also gained listeners over the year. Listeners have gone up 3.5% to 14.5m listeners.

Chris Evans' Radio 2 show keeps the title for the most popular breakfast show. That's despite losing 279,000 listeners on last quarter, with just under nine million people tuning in. The programme still has two million more listeners than Radio 1's Chris Moyles who announced he is leaving the show in September.

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