Record reach for 5 live sports extra

Geoff Boycott in media gallery Test Match Special, featuring Geoffrey Boycott (above), boosted 5 live sports extra

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Coverage of England's Ashes victory over Australia led to record audiences for Radio 5 live sports extra this summer, according to the latest Rajar figures.

The station drew 1.5m listeners, eclipsing a previous high of 1.15m in 2011.

Digital music station 1Xtra also reached its biggest audience, attracting 1.2m.

Elsewhere, audiences for most BBC stations remained fairly steady given the seasonal dip in the summer.

Radio 2 gained a million more listeners than a year ago, reaching 14.9m this summer - just short of the station's record-breaking audience of 15.44m this spring.

Breakfast audiences

  • Radio 1 5.58m
  • Radio 2 9.35m
  • Radio 3 0.53m
  • Radio 4 6.81m
  • Radio 5 live 2.43m

Helen Boaden, director of BBC Radio, said she was pleased with the Rajar figures, adding: "Radio 2 is a remarkable success story and continues to reach huge audiences whilst never failing to surprise and amaze with the diversity of its output.

"The record figures for Radio 1Xtra and Radio 5 live sports extra show the continuing growth of our digital-only portfolio, which now attracts 5.44 million listeners per week."

Overall, BBC radio reached 35.1m people - equal to an audience share of 53.4% - during the third quarter of this year, which covered 24 June to 15 September.

Ups and downs

Radio 1's audience dropped year on year by 373,000 listeners, reaching 10.8m. It follows Nick Grimshaw's replacement of Chris Moyles in the breakfast slot last autumn as the station pursues more young listeners.

Radio 3, Radio 4 Extra and the Asian Network also experienced small yearly reductions in their ratings, but there were slight increases in audiences for Radio 4, 6 Music and BBC World Service in the UK.

Nations' ratings

Fred MacAuley
  • Local radio in England 7.1m
  • Radio Scotland (above) 888,000
  • Radio Ulster 533,000
  • Radio Wales 474,000
  • Radio Cymru 143,000

Radio 5 live's audience remained stable at 6.1m (see breakdown below).

English Regions controller David Holdsworth said figures for local radio audiences in England were "encouraging news in what is a very competitive market". The stations experienced a yearly audience rise of 0.4m to 7.1m this summer, just less than last quarter's 7.2m.

Holdsworth added: "We'll continue to provide quality local public service broadcasting to our audience to develop listener growth in the long term."

The digital share of radio listening grew from 31.3% a year ago to 35.6% this summer, while radio listening via a mobile phone increased by a third to draw 23.8% of adults.

But among 15-24 year olds, 41% were recorded as having listened to radio through their mobiles.

Weekly reach Q3 2013 Q3 2012 Q2 2013

All BBC radio

35.1m

34.7m

35.9m

BBC network radio

32m

31.6m

32.64m

BBC radio for Nations/Local

9.3m

8.96m

9.54m

Radio 1

10.8m

11.2m

11m

Radio 2

14.9m

13.9m

15.4m

Radio 3

2.03m

2.15m

1.99m

Radio 4

10.9m

10.85m

10.98m

Radio 5 live

6.1m

6.1m

6.04m

1Xtra

1.2m

1.1m

1.11m

Radio 4 Extra

1.6m

1.7m

1.57m

5 live sports extra

1.5m

1m

0.95m

6 Music

1.7m

1.6m

1.8m

Asian Network

0.55m

0.58m

0.59m

World Service

1.5m

1.39m

1.36m

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