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Rajar figures, Quarter 2, 2011

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Jonathan Wall Jonathan Wall | 09:57 UK time, Friday, 5 August 2011

studio signs

The latest audience figures show good results for speech radio in the UK.

The Rajar figures for quarter 2, 2011, cover April, May and June.

The figure for 5 live is 6.54 million listeners per week. The combined total audience reach for 5 live and 5 live sports extra is 6.7 million.

Sports extra maintained an audience of 800,000 listeners per week.

We are pleased to post a third successive figure above 6.5 million which we have never done before. We've also been above 6.25 million for six successive quarters.

It's the highest figure on record for a quarter that doesn't have the benefit of a World Cup football tournament or an Ashes series, and it means that our news programmes in particular have performed very well this time.

The total audience figure for Breakfast (06:00-10:00) is just short of three million, we've also seen the second highest figures ever in the 10:00-12:00 slot in the morning which Victoria hosts and in the 22:30-01:00 Tony Livesey programme.

All of the rest of our programmes between 12:00 and 19:00 have also done very well.

Our sports audience always takes a little dip in quarter 2, particularly on Saturdays in late May and June when the domestic football seaaon has ended. However, our midweek sport in particular has held up very well, compared to last year when we had big World Cup matches.

It's a good story for other speech stations. BBC Radio 4 recorded a highest-ever reach of 10.85 million listeners. Talksport also did very well, maintaining their audience numbers of 3.2 million.

There are always challenges ahead and goals we want to achieve. We hope to grow sports extra over the next couple of years into a station that can consistently reach over a million listeners each week.

Like Radio 4 and Talksport, it's also important we keep bringing new audiences over to speech radio from music radio - in our case, that means we will need to increase listeners in the 25-44 age range by promoting our content even better over the year ahead.

We are pleased with another good performance, and I am particularly pleased that audience figures in some of core news content programmes like Breakfast, Victoria Derbyshire and Drive have been so strong.

Jonathan Wall is 5 live's Deputy Controller


  • Comment number 1.

    However you want to dress it up... 5 Live is down in the last quarter and down year to year.

  • Comment number 2.

    So what are the actual audience figures for Livesey and Derbyshire or Bacon for that matter ?It means nothing to anyone if you say you have recorded the second highest figures but won't disclose the numbers.Last time this came up we were told that 5live doesn't do individual programme audience figures.Its hardly surprising the wonderful Radio 4 is doing so well,most ( including me ) are the listeners 5live have alienated with its trivia and tabloid approach to reporting.

  • Comment number 3.

    "we will need to increase listeners in the 25-44 age range"

    Out of curiosity what is the average age of a 5 live listener? Do you think celebrity focused lightweight programmes like Richard Bacon are what 'younger' audiences want?

    I admire your attempts to spin figures for 5 live that are down for the second quarter in a row and year on year as "good results for speech radio in the UK"

  • Comment number 4.

    I have a question. When 5 live started it was said that the station would be shared equally between news and sport. I am sure that was said many times. Now apparently it is 75% news and 25 % sport.

    Has this change taken place following the introduction of the new 100% sports channel, 5 live sports extra?

  • Comment number 5.

    I think there's two stories going on here in the RAJAR stats. 5live extra's figures look extremely healthy, despite Q2 being a traditionally quieter quarter. I predict Extra's Q3 results will be very good because of the strength of England's cricket at the moment in the home test matches, aided of course by the incomparable TMS team.

    For 5Live itself, the figures are not good, and the crunch will come in the 2011 Q4 results early next year - Q4 is traditionally a strong quarter for 5Live, but it will depend on how many top footie commentaries have been snaffled by TalkSport.

    On the 'how much news' issue, the Trust recently rejected TalkSport's claim that 5Live wasn't reaching its news percentage target, but TalkSport has now upped the ante and has charged 5Live with "a wilful reluctance to define what it regards as news".

    Personally, I use 5Live only for footie, cricket and baseball, but I do feel 5Live has a case to answer on TalkSport's latest charge.


    P.S. For those interested in RAJAR spin terminology, here's an amusing (but telling) translation guide.

  • Comment number 6.

    Surely the demographic of listeners to music radio stations is easier to define than the speech ones ? A rolling news/sports speech station such as 5live is different altogether and should be aimed at all types of listeners, open to all and not targetted with this BBC marketing obsession with age groups and life styles ( i.e. Radio 4 = white, middle class listeners ). By this blog Mr.Wall you are giving the impression that older listeners or anyone over 44 are excluded from 5live and if that is the philosphy no wonder your figures are down and many have gone over to get their serious news from Radio 4.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why can't we be told the truth, at regular intervals in a clear way? Instead we get Birt-speak and spin and obfuscation on the simplest matters. We, the public paid over £73 million for this station (excluding sports rights) last year and yet we are treated as an inconvenience. The off-hand, 'we know best' bloody mindedness will come back to bite you pretty soon.

  • Comment number 8.

    Talksport has half the audience of 5 Live with a fifth of its budget; and none of it paid by the public. Pretty good going.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    It is a pity that Carrie is not posting at present because I would like to make some apology to her. She has always complained about 5 live. Is she right?

    I have always said that 5 live has not deteriorated since it began. However, now I find that the news element has increased from 50% to 75%. I did n't know that. For that increase in the news element, there should be an improvement in the news coverage. However it does n't seem to have improved. It is as before, when it was 50%.

    I am a fan of 5 live. However, has the news improved? What is being done with the increase from 50% to 75%? The midday news programme has been cancelled. There is a magazine programme presented by Shelagh Fogarty at 12.00. Look what this blog poster Jonathan Wall says now in his last paragraph. He mentions core news programmes, Breakfast, Victoria Derbyshire and Drive. In other words there are programmes which are not core news programmes, or in other words, the station takes its foot off the accelerator after 12.00 midday until 16.00 with regard to news. That is what posters are saying here and in the Guardian media, and in the report which finds that news output on 5 live is about 54% not 75%.

    The French version of 5 live, called France Info has news bulletins every 15 minutes not every 30 minutes as on 5 live. The business news radio station BFM Business has stock market reports every 15 minutes. Here is a suggestion for 5 live. Use the 75% news time to have more frequent news bulletins.

    This post is a little long so I'm going to continue on to another post to finish off on a cheerful note.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well to finish off an a cheerful note, i am a fan of 5 live, where I disagree with Carrie and others is in being destructive. You can turn the radio to another station or turn it off completely.

    I am trying to be constructive.

    One thing about news coverage, I believe it is expensive. The BBC can do it. If you look at all the DAB radio stations available in Britain, there is no other national radio news station. It is too expensive. Sky TV loses money, I believe, and BBC TV News 24 is more popular than Sky. Public service broadcasting organisations such as the BBC, Radio France, Deutsche Welle can do good unbiased news services.

    If Radio 5 live gets going with 75% news, there is no competition with Talk Sport.

  • Comment number 12.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 13.

    @12 listening figures down for two quarters in a row, and down year on year - how is that brilliant Fedster?

    5 live needs to get back to providing effective and comprehensive news coverage and ditch much of the celebrity chat and trivia. Leave the white van men to TalkSport and stop dumbing down in the hunt for ratings.

  • Comment number 14.

    Yes post 12 was rather perverse.I think he was in some obscure way congratulating 5live on their great achievement of losing listeners.

  • Comment number 15.

    Radio 5 is, regardless of ratings from whichever source, to me a highly rated talk radio station. During working hours I can only tune in whilst driving between site visits, it is however to the contents credit that I have felt compelled to respond by pulling over and texting or trying to phone in, mainly thanks to Victoria Derbyshire - a brilliant broadcaster.

    Radio 4 is, to myself, far too pretentious, more in keeping with the old home service, as if at any time the warning of an impending raid by the Luftwaffe was to be expected - it is as antiquated as starched collars, a living fossil, comforting to a certain few but alas not relevant to many.

  • Comment number 16.

    Please can we NOT have news bulletins every 15 minutes. If there is an IMPORTANT development then a programme could be broken into but to me, bulletins every 15 minutes break up the flow of the programme.

    I listen so much less to 5 live than I used to - I may have it on in the background but I just don't LISTEN. I hate dumbed down celebrity trivia and women's magazine articles which seem to fill much of the output.

  • Comment number 17.

    Well said zeld.Perfectly put.

    Thank goodness that the wonderful Radio 4's standards haven't dropped like 5Lives.Everytime I tune into Radio 4 I learn something new.No wonder it has increased its listeners and 5live has lost theirs.Still if you want tabloid articles or pop music reviews , Derbyshire is definately for some.

  • Comment number 18.

    Btw an article in the MOS today referring to 5lives delayed move to Salford and a 5live main man fearing it will sound like local radio.It is beginning to sound like that now old chap before the big switch and what many more intelligent contributors have said on here recently.

  • Comment number 19.

    Afternoons are poorly served by speech based radio in general.

    5 live has Richard Bacon with a celebrity interview normally with somebody looking to plug something that has often already been on several other TV and radio programmes such as BBC breakfast, yet another interview with a comedian, often live music and then a trivial feature such as the Moan-in or Help.

    Radio 4 has the Archers and the Afternoon Play.

    TalkSport has yet more Premier League discussion interspersed with repetitive adverts.

    If you want a break from speech radio there is Radio 2 with Steve Wright with pre-recorded interviews with the same or similar guests to Richard Bacon. Hardly an alternative.

    So nobody is really providing current affairs based speech radio in the afternoons, surely this should be the role of 5 live?

  • Comment number 20.

    @zeldacious you say that news bulletins every 15 minutes break up the flow of the programme. What station have you heard that has bulletins every 15 minutes? I for one would like to see what it is like.
    Of course France Info, which I recommend, has bulletins every 15 minutes. It makes the station fast moving. You don't get bored. People have to get to the point when they speak. I would say that the bulletins are reasonably short, and that there is a longer bulletin, called a journal, on the hour.

  • Comment number 21.

    @bigtimeearthscetic, post 15 You have praised 5 live. This is your opinion. I should like to give something from an unbiased source to support you. This is the report on 5 live commissioned by its rival TalkSport. The report says this. www.guardian.co.uk/media/interactive/2011/aug03/talksport-report-bbc-5-live

    "It may sound uncomfortably lofty, but sponsoring direct conversation and interaction between the audience and the decision makers is a crowning glory of 5 live. It has genuinely changed and enhanced British civic society." end of quote.

    Yes, I say, 5 live has been a major change, a breakthrough, which Radio 4 has n't and Talk Sport has n't.

    As for Victoria Derbyshire, the report praises her programme, Gillian Reynolds, the very experienced radio critic in the Daily Telegraph, has praised her.

    However, I say, nothing is perfect and there is room for improvement. Considering that 5 live is now supposed to have 75% news, some parts of the schedule are unsatisfactory, I say, and so does the report.

    I propose news bulletins every 15 minutes, for one thing. I wonder what you think of that

  • Comment number 22.

    re. previous post this link may be clickable-

  • Comment number 23.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have had another thought about what is special about 5 live. Some people have praised Radio 4. Here is a comparison between 5 live and a conventional radio station such as Radio 4

    At Radio 4 you have a conventional way of doing things. You deal with one subject then move on to another. The Today programme is like that. 5 live is not so conventional.

    If you think of a kitchen where the person cooking has several items to prepare, some saucepans on the cooker etc and leaves some to cook whilst preparing another, this is like 5 live. Several items may be in progress and be revisited later to see how they have developed. That is 5 live. It can have several things going on at the same time. That is why it is special. That is why it sparkles. I am thinking of Victoria Derbyshire's programme, and also when John Inverdale presented Drive recently, for example.

    It is a station which is not conventional. France Info is like that. That is why news bulletins every 15 minutes are no problem. They would be on a conventional station like Radio 4.

  • Comment number 25.

    Coreze - LBC have bulletins every 15 minutes.

  • Comment number 26.

    @ zeldacious Thanks for mentioning a station which has news bulletins every 15 minutes. I've had a listen to it. I'll also listen during the week.

    The one news bulletin that I have heard on LBC seems very light on news. There was one item only the Tottenham riots plus one very short item.

    I wonder how often 5 live has travel reports. I have the impression that they are more frequent than once very half hour.I would guess that 5 live listeners would find a brief news bulletin more useful than a travel report. Of course at LBC you get both, the news and the travel together, every 15 minutes.

    Anyway I'll have a listen to the week day broadcasting on LBC, and see what it is like and come back on this board. Thanks for mentioning this station.

  • Comment number 27.

    @zeldacious Yes, I've had a listen to LBC this morning monday. The LBC travel reports seem impressive. Their reports are the same length as 5 live's and yet they only cover London. It makes you think that travel reports on a national station such as 5 live cannot hope to cover everything.

    I would say that LBCs morning presenter Nick Ferrari is right of centre politically. Certainly he expresses his own opinions, which BBC presenters are not allowed to do.

    I would say that more frequent news bulletins on 5 live would give the programmes a more precise feel to them. However it is what other people think that matters.

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't see how a fall in figures can be claimed as anything other than that. As for trying for specific age group reach, it is insulting that at some point you are seen as being unwanted as the programmes aren't aimed at you. I have listened to the station for a long time and have heard most of the evolution of presenters and journalists. It is far too light these days.

    I would never call Radio Four pretentious, I think there is something there for anyone and it is a station where you would look at the listings and choose your exposure.

    I am becoming one of the lost 5 Live listeners because I do appreciate proper interviews and not some of these Moan of the Week and Help! features which blight the afternoon when they are also interspersed with people flogging their book/film/programme.

  • Comment number 29.

    Incidentally, the BBC Press release on the Rajars last week gives alot of praise to Radio Four and hardly mentions 5 Live until paragraph 10, when it gets five lines or so on its falling numbers. The powers that be are obviously more pleased with the Radio Four figures.

  • Comment number 30.

    Coreze - Nick Ferrari's politics are slightly to the right of Atilla the Hun.

  • Comment number 31.

    The part of the blog which mentions listeners aged 25 to 44 is a mystery. Several posters have picked this up- Jasmine, Binkie, and just recently Pastiche. The words are -

    "Like Radio 4 and Talksport it is also important we keep bringing new audiences over to speech radio from music radio. In our case it means we will need to increase listeners in the 25-44 age range by promoting our content even better over the year ahead."

    "Promoting our content" what does that mean? I thought it meant increasing a publicity campaign for 5 live on music stations where they say listeners aged 25-44 are to be found. However perhaps it means something else. Does "promoting our content" mean changing the content of 5 live to appeal people aged 25-44 who listen to music stations? It is a mystery.

    I bet that stations like Talksport, LBC and Radio 4 want listeners whatever their age.

  • Comment number 32.

    I can only think that 5live management employed some Market Research company to give them even more numbers and listener demographics ( which they are so fond of together with targetted audiences ) to play around with and somewhere along the line ' 25-44 ' cropped up.I have no idea what it all means but as you say any other speech radio station would be grateful for any type of listeners young or old and should therefore cater for everyone.They seemed tie themselves up in figures which really have no real meaning to anyone at all.Btw LBC 1152 is excellent for concise news but is only available on Sky and Virgin Media for some reason.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'd be pleased as punch if they didn't repeat that "this is 5 Live" ad about 98 times an hour. We know already!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 34.

    ....or Victoria Derbyshire saying

    ' this is Victoria Derbyshire '........ every other minute.

  • Comment number 35.

    @binkie post 32 You mention the station LBC 1152, a London news station only available on Sky and Virgin. I think it also available on line. However after 19.00 it is the same as the FM station. Here is the link for LBC 1152

    I have never heard the station. It is useful to mention other stations. 5 live may be be able find some ideas from rival stations. At least, looking at other stations, we posters can make useful comments. Of course LBC is a London station not a national station, but it is a continuous news station, and is comparable in that way.

  • Comment number 36.

  • Comment number 37.

    Thanks for that coreze.I live outside of London but always find LBC 1152 a good news service and with very little in the way of waffle and which 5live could learn a great deal from.

  • Comment number 38.

    @binkie It seems that you are right. LBC 1152, is only available on Sky and Virgin.

    I have tried the web link above but it just plays the FM station.

  • Comment number 39.

    Well I know this is off topic in one sense, but not in another.

    The 5 Live staff have done a brilliant job over the last couple of days reporting the riots and looting. Anita in Croydon was brave and quite amazing, and last night I thought it was held together absolutely fantastically by Adil Ray.

    I would like to say well done to all the outside broadcast staff as well as the folks coordinating the coverage like Adil.

  • Comment number 40.

    It is good to have Jon Sopel on Breakfast and the phone-in. He’s the kind of professional and knowledgeable presenter you should be having on 5 live if you are serious about fulfilling your remit as a news and sport station.

    I see Richard Bacon has John Bishop on yet again, it feels like he is on Bacon at least once a month. Also wrestler Hulk Hogan and the Moan-in. Does this programme really make up part of the 75% news content? I presume this type of programme is aimed at reducing the average age of a 5 live listener? It is condescending to think that younger listeners are not interested in news, current affairs and sport and that dumbing down is required to attract them. Stop focusing on growing listening figures in a particular demographic and instead concentrate on providing comprehensive, interesting and knowledgeable news coverage and discussion.

  • Comment number 41.

    Jasmine, I agree about Jon Sopel. What a relief to have a calm, informed voice on 5 Live.

    I can't comment on your point about Richard Bacon. I haven't listened to his programme for some time. He seems to epitomize what 5 Live has become in large measure: trivial, shallow and sycophantic.

  • Comment number 42.

    Bacon will be leading the way this afternoon, going from joker Bishop to the most serious civil disturbances I have ever seen in the UK.

    I know what will be on the Moan in. Pity it isn't Help! today as we could all call in and see what he comes up with.

  • Comment number 43.

    5live has done a first rate job over the past few days and Jon Sopel was superb this morning.5live at its very best.Well done for keeping everyone up to date and well informed.The ' stand in ' presenters have been outstanding.

  • Comment number 44.

    @ Jasmine post 40, You and others may be interested in a quote form the service remit of 5 live. It says "The service should appeal to to news and sports fans of all ages...." Here is a link -

    25-44 looks like unacceptable tunnel vision.

  • Comment number 45.

    Thank you for the link, Coreze. I couldn't find on the controller's mission statement anything about appealing to the lowest common demoninator nor about pursuing 'entertainment stories' (and I include Victoria Derbyshire's Monday music reviews) over and above news. It is these aspects of current 5 Live output that I find disappointing and that increasingly make me switch off.

  • Comment number 46.

    Often you see on message boards complaints that the BBC is left wing. The BBC has a duty to be unbiased and that is an advantage.

    If you look at LBC, it seems to have presenters who express their own views and who are well known commentators on the right of the political spectrum. Thee may be a few exceptions. If you compare the BBC with that, the BBC may look left wing, or at least less overtly right wing.

    Gillian Reynolds the very experienced radio critic in the Daily Telegraph is not someone who expresses political views. She has written recently an article praising radio 4, and sure enough, the accusations of left wing bias appear from Telegraph posters. There are a few posters who ague the other way.

    There is one thing, the Telegraph sells more newspapers than the Guardian, however the web site of the left leaning Guardian is more popular. Of course there are right wing posters in the Guardian web site too.

    Fi Glover ex-5 live has recently presented a new programme on Radio 4 about the difference in generations, first the baby boomers born in 1946, and second the new generation born in 1990. Gillian Reynolds reviews this.5 live listeners may find Gillian Reynolds column worth a glance.

  • Comment number 47.

    Here are Jonathan Wall's responses to some of your comments:

    @Russ I would say it's very hard to describe the figures as "not good" even if you do think I am putting a positive spin on them. They are the highest figures for any quarter 2, apart from World Cup 2002 and World Cup 2010. I'm not sure that can be described in the way you have done Russ. I think your assessment of sports extra is a good one

    @Binkie "anyone over 44 is excluded from 5 live." I was very careful to make sure no-one got that impression because it's not true! Performance in over 44s is very good. Comparatively, just like other speech stations, we need to do even more to bring over more listeners from music radio to speech radio who tend to be in the 25-44 age group.

    @Welcome2theMachine "this is Birt-speak." I've just given you the numbers and said we are pleased with them. I don’t think that's out of control spinning!

    Thanks for all your comments. I know it is because you all care about the station and the future direction of the station.

  • Comment number 48.

    Certain presenters are unable to disguise their political leanings.

    I also think that there is very little respect shown in interviews to many of those they find unacceptable. I believe whatever your politics the Prime Minister should either be called that, or MR Cameron when being talked about. Using surnames for people in that position is not showing respect for the position.

    I wish Jon Sopel would do far more on the station to restore some proper journalism, I am not going to be able to cope with Bacon.

  • Comment number 49.

    Re #47

    "we need to do even more to bring over more listeners from music radio to speech radio who tend to be in the 25-44 age group"

    Why? These are two very different types of radio and in my opinion there is no need to try and get those who prefer to listen to music radio to listen to 5 live. Blurring the distinction between speech and music radio by having music reviews on Victoria Derbyshire and live music on Richard Bacon weakens 5 live, moves it away from being the home of news and sport and risks further alienating its core listeners. Being licence fee funded 5 live should be providing something that is not provided by the commercial sector instead of trying to poach listeners from music radio.

  • Comment number 50.

    I agree with Jasmine @49

  • Comment number 51.

    Why doesn't Derbyshire do a classical music or blues and jazz review on a Monday morning sometimes instead of bland pop music, which is obviously aimed at teenies ? In 5lives quest to accommodate other certain age groups ( which you obviously and wrongly stereotype ) you really do have to take on board that we are not all mad for gangster rappers or Lady Gaga.

  • Comment number 52.

    Two posters - Da Ponte post 45 and Jasmine post 49- have criticised Victoria Derbyshire's half hour music review. Simon Mayo's two hour film review should also come in for criticism. I know people say that music should be on a music station. However, I have heard music being reviewed within a Radio 4 arts magazine programme, something like Front Row. It was some time ago.

    Music, film, books, TV theatre etc. are discussed in arts programmes on Radio 4. Does anyone disagree that they should be mentioned on 5 live? The question is how much time should be devoted to them

    5 live is not like Radio 4. 5 live has news and sport as its only reason to exist. Jonathan Wall used the term "core news programmes" in the last paragraph of his blog. I would say that if a programme is not a "core news programme" then it is a sports programme. There is no other category. There is no category "entertainment programme".

    All programmes should face this question are you a core news programme or sport? If you are neither what are you doing on 5 live?

  • Comment number 53.

    I agree Coreze, Radio 4 has a very different remit as a broad speech based radio station including comedy, news, documentaries, art and drama while 5 live is meant to be a news and sports station with 75% of content being news.

    The TalkSport commissioned review of 5 Live states that the Monday Music Review "sits oddly in a news format."

    Also regarding Richard Bacon it says:

    "This two hour programme has, to my mind, by far the lowest news content of the daytime output. The reason is very simple. The spine of the programme is the celebrity guest interview. Guests appear to be straight off the celebrity PR circuit and they are there to plug their book, their DVD, their show, their tour, themselves. All the major guests this week were plugging their wares. It can be very effective light entertainment. But it is not news."

    "I find it hard to imagine that the Bacon team can sit down and say with hand on heart that they are a programme that discusses the news."

    In my opinion reviews do have a place on 5 live, Simon Mayo used to effectively include reviews within his afternoon show but adopted more of a varied magazine format. The TV reviews, book panel and film reviews used to sit comfortably alongside extended discussions of news stories and interviews with a diverse range of guests not just celebrities and comedians.

    Personally I don’t think the Film Show works as well or fits with the remit now it has been extended to a two hour standalone programme.

    The Help and Moan-in features could never be described as news. Bacon’s editor had the sense to drop the Moan-in and cut the celeb interviews short today to focus on the riots which was the correct decision.

  • Comment number 54.

    Thanks, Nigel. I accept my "not good" description of the 5Live reach figures was a tad harsh, and was a knee-jerk reaction to the seductive spin of the blog. (RAJAR spin blogs such as this one do tend to pull their punches.) Perhaps "holding up quite well in the circumstances" would have been more appropriate. Anyway, judge for yourselves.

    With regard to the "need to increase listeners in the 25-44 age range by promoting our content even better over the year ahead", I fear 5Live is in something of a quandary. The only sectors holding up against the decline in radio usage over the last decade (and I'm not just talking about 5Live here) have been the 45-54, 54-65 and 65+ ones. There is a significant long-term decline in usage of non-pirate stations amongst the young.

    I do not subscribe to the "you'll only get them if you get them young" notion, because people's listening habits do change, and the older sectors tend to migrate increasingly to the 'Radios 3 and 4' end of the business. What I would say, for the non-sports sector, is that for 5Live to try to go after a young market is akin to flogging a dead horse if you insist your yardsticks of success for that market remain in conventional 'live reach' and 'listening hours' measures.


  • Comment number 55.

    @ Jasmine Yes, I've read your posts, and the other posters posts as well, and I'm wondering how we can come out of this as winners.

    What has happened at 5 live is that have signed contracts with people and they are stuck with them, with inappropriate contracts and 5 live has to defend them - even if it is indefensible. If you want something indefensible, look at what what Nigel Smith says in post 47 to explain how this blog by Jonathan Wall mentioned ages 25 to 44.

    So we are stuck with these shows. Just take Simon Mayo as an example. Nobody pushed him out of 5 live. He wanted to go to Radio 2. In order to get him back for the Friday film review. His agent has negotiated a two hour film review, closing down the news programme for Friday afternoon. 5 live should never have agreed to that.

    Victoria is not such a big issue. I think that she is interested in music, and could present a shorter review, perhaps spread over the week, a little each day. A record a day or a brief extract of a record.

    Perhaps is not a good idea. I don't know. At least Victoria works full time for 5 live. These new contracts have been signed with outsiders who come in one day a week and present programmes at the weekend. As for Richard Bacon, you are right, he has been told to present a programme which is light on news. Something could be done about that. He is a full-timer at 5 live, sort of. They say he was very good on the show at 10.00 in the evening.

    However, what do we do? We listen to other stations. Just as Richard Bacon is on the air, the USA is starting its day. It should be possible to find an American news station and a good one very easily. With an internet radio, you can listen easily.

    Of course for me, I love French radio. However, I bet there is an American station for those who find some parts of 5 live unsatisfactory.

    Let's hope that they fix 5 live pretty quickly. They should remember one thing, 75% news. In fact the BBC Trust is looking into 5 live. What is on 5 live at present is, in some parts, indefensible. The BBC Trust can only surely change it for the better.

  • Comment number 56.

    @ Russ you must be some sort of radio specialist. Certainly if you measure radio listening from 2001, it has declined. However, it was low in 1998. It seemed to have spiked up, possibly due to the terrorist alert. A similar pattern is observed with the French news station France Info.

    However, France Info, the French equivalent of 5 live, is doing well. It has recently overtaken Europe 1 to become the fourth most popular station in France, with 10 per cent of the listening share. Of course, France Info can be heard on FM, unlike 5 live.

  • Comment number 57.

    Coreze it is very well known that the reason Mayo left 5 Live is because he refused to go to Salford.

  • Comment number 58.

    Can we please be told once and for all what Bacon's listening figures actually are.
    If not, why not?.....is it because they are so awful?

  • Comment number 59.

    @ Arthur Mee The listening figures for Richard Bacon are probably not high. One reason is that that this hour of the date is low for radio listening, a flat period, before it picks up again in the late afternoon.

    This time slot on 5 live has always had celebrity interviews, I think. The question is has the news content been squeezed out to an excessive extent? My suggestion is that all programmes should have news bulletins every 15 minutes, as LBC has. This would go some way to ensuring a certain minimum content.

    Jonathan Wall deputy controller in this blog says that the strategy is to persuade music radio listeners to move to speech radio. He says that Radio 4 has the same strategy. However, can you see in Radio 4 a move to lighten the output to make it more like music radio? I don't think so. In fact Radio 4 is increasing the length of its news programme the World At One from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

  • Comment number 60.

    Re post 51 - Binkie. VD's presenting style has always embraced what she feels is 'cool or hip'. When she does football her tone becomes very blokeish in a sort of 'hey, I know what I'm on about .... I support Bolton (!)' way.

    I think the music slot is Vic's way of maintining her hip strategy. But it's wrong and has no place on Five Live.

  • Comment number 61.

    I started listening at this time when Simon Mayo occupied the slot.
    Far from wall to wall celebrity,incessant references to twitter and "tell us what you think," Simon interviewed authors, scientists, artists, politicians, journalists, academics.....need I go on?
    The celebrity tosh has no place at this time of the day on Radio 5.

  • Comment number 62.

    Arthur, celebrity tosh has no place on a NEWS and SPORT station at all!!

  • Comment number 63.


  • Comment number 64.

    Richard Bacon on holiday for a week but entertainment correspondent Colin Paterson sitting in for him. The following week has Bacon from the Edinburgh Festival so yet more interviews with comedians plus some programmes with live audiences which were like pantomimes last year. 5 live a news and sport station?

  • Comment number 65.

    @arthur Mee, Pastiche and Jasmine I must bow to your superior knowledge about the the Richard Bacon programme. I don't listen to the radio usually at that time. Therefore I have rarely heard Richard or Simon Mayo. However no doubt you are right in general, because what you say is confirmed in the Talksport commissioned report, already quoted in post no.5 on this blog which has a click-on web reference.

    I always think that 5 live can be fun to listen to and a younger presenter may have a more laid-back style than someone older. Therefore I would be happy that Richard Bacon did not have the same style as Simon Mayo. What is fundamental is whether there is news and sport in the programme.

    In the media Guardian today there is an article about a week Listening to BBC Radio London. You can compare BBC Radio London with 5 live. The first thing to note is that apparently BBC Radio London has news bulletins at least as frequent as 5 live.

    However BBC Radio London is speech radio, talk radio, and so was the old Radio 5. the predecessor of 5 live. It can be fun to listen to. However there is a difference between that and a news and sports service. that can be fun too, but it is not the same thing. 5 live is a news and sports service, not a general talk radio station.

    Of course 5 live does not play records, whereas the old 5 live did and so does BBC Radio London, What 5 live should do is to drive forward with the news and sport. That is the focus, and not to have too much time on diverting from that. I have not heard much of Simon Mayo's old programme, but I would suggest that it digresses a little from a news and sport focus, and Richard Bacon would seem to be doing the same thing.

    However, it can still be fun with a news and sport focus. I praise, for example, Victoria Derbyshire and John Inverdale on Drive, and there are others no doubt.

    I wonder what you think.

  • Comment number 66.

    Suggestion: Why not have Danny Baker and Jon Sopel present a programme together on 5 live? Fun and news and sport at the same time.


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