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Series 14 - Episode 5

Latest RAJAR listening figures

Thursday 4 February 2010, 11:51

Mark Damazer Mark Damazer

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It's RAJAR day. It happens four times a year. We get figures for the previous quarter's listening - in this case Oct- Dec 2009. And although not quite as vertiginous as the previous quarter - the figures are pretty decent. The headlines are that 9.84 million of you listen to at least 15 minutes a week - and you listen on average to 12 hours 34 minutes - which is up from the previous lot of RAJARs - and more than any other station. Radio 4's share of the total radio market is 12.5% - which is also up. And we have slightly more listeners than at this stage last year. So all in all we're happy enough.

What causes change in listening figures ? In television it's easy to track. There are overnight figures for every programme and you can predict what sort of programme will get a huge audience (Strictly, X Factor) and what will harvest fewer viewers. There are no overnight figures for radio, and in the case of Radio 4, there is quite a lot of stability in listening patterns. We know that almost all that we do at 0900, say, will get an audience hovering around the 2 million mark - or that the Afternoon Play will get about 800,000. We would have to do something violent to change that hugely.

But over a period of time I hope that the quality of the programmes and some changes here and there persuade more people to try Radio 4 - or to stay with Radio 4 longer. Our success is for you to judge.

Sometimes - but rarely - a big event influences listening. Thus 9/11 and the Iraq war in 2003 both boosted the RAJARs - with programmes like Today, The World at One, PM and The World Tonight attracting a larger audience wanting the depth and analysis we hope we provide.

It is possible that the recession has had an impact on our figures. It's not easy, though, to isolate the effect.

And as I always say - RAJARs are relevant. Quality and range matter more.

Mark Damazer is Controller of BBC Radio 4

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    Comment number 1.

    Not quite directly a RAJAR question, but related...

    Way back sometime last year (when this blog had a 'Farming Today week', when you/they introduced the Farming Today Bees) it was suggested to you Mark that "Farming Today" might benefit from a later repeat, this suggestion wasn't dismissed out of hand...

    Now that R4 has broken the unwritten rule of having a book of the week - and repeating each episode again in the evening - perhaps now is the time to think about what will happen after the "A History of the World in 100 Objects" series ends, how about moving "Front Row" to 7:30pm and repeating "Farming Today" at 7:15pm after the Archers? Not only might this increase the Farming Today RAJAR over all figure, it will give the non farming majority a better chance of understanding the industry from were their food comes from, it might also indirectly boost the RAJAR figures for "The Archers" too, nor should it impact on the audience for Front Row either to any great deal.

    One final point, the Schedule pages (for example) look a mess in my browser (Firefox), the font is way to small on standard setting whilst the Day, date, month, Year heading cuts across the wave of the background resulting that part of the blue heading text in against the blue background rather than being against white (as heading is in these blogs)!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Hello, Mark! We have been discussing RAJAR and AHOW on the BBC message boards, and I was wondering whether you might be able to answer some questions:

    "these RAJAR figures; what happens to our podcasts and LAs ?
    They really should be added in if RAJAR is used to defend/attack channels in decisions or arguments - eg the license-fee and public broadcasting. Are they?"



    I, for example, rarely listen to Radio 4 linearly, which means that I would probably not be recognised by RAJAR as a Radio 4 listener, although I do listen again on the BBC iPlayer to programmes which I subsequently comment about on your message boards. If you take educational programmes like IOT and AHOW, your hope, I guess, would be that you can find a new audience for Radio 4 amongst younger people. Is non-linear listening currently "statistically significant"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Re my comment @ #1 about repeating Farming Today:

    Actually it was Tony Pilgrim who replied to the suggestions, not you Mark.



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Find out about this year's panel and theme