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It's RAJAR day at Radio 4

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Mark Damazer Mark Damazer 11:22, Thursday, 6 August 2009

Radio 4 DAB

It's a RAJAR day - when the radio industry gets its audience figures.

I must stress that RAJARs are not the be all and end all of matters. Quality, range, impact - all count a great deal. But still - I'd rather they were good than not. And they are.

We appear to be increasing quarter-on-quarter in microscopic increments - from 9.98 million reach to 9.999. (Reach is defined as the number of people who listen to at least 15 minutes a week). I left here last night uncertain about the theological decency of rounding this up to 10 million. I am told that this is indeed considered to be 10 million. Hooray.

Share - is a little down quarter-on-quarter - from 12.5% to 12.1% but is still very satisfactory. The average amount of listening per listener is over 12 hours, the most for any BBC network.

I am not quite sure why we are having such a good RAJAR year. The likeliest answer is the strength of the economic story. R4 did very well early in 2003 when the war with Iraq was happening and also in the quarter of 9/11 so maybe it's that.

What is clear (to me at any rate) is the strength and depth of R4's coverage of this sort of serious story - and of MPs expenses where we put together some very strong programmes - peppered with exclusive interviews. It was The World at One that had Anthony Steen's extraordinary outburst - and The Report had the first interview from within the House of Commons fees office. Nick Robinson's programme - featuring the first broadcast interview with The Telegraph's editor Will Lewis - gave a terrific insight into the dilemmas of reporting the story.

And meanwhile - there' s been Smiley (the brainchild of Patrick Rayner in BBC Scotland Drama), Inside the Ethics Committee - one of my favourite factual treats - drama meets ethics - which is on at the moment. And The Odd Half Hour last night at 1830 - and so on.

The best bit of this job is listening to the programmes.


  • Comment number 1.

    The entry level found counting someone as a listener has always struck me as odd ... 15 minutes a week is hardly listening at all - indeed for Radio 4 it is unlikely to be a full programme.
    The figures show average listening around 12 hours per week (1-2 hours per day).
    So - how many of the 10 million are below the average (mean)?

  • Comment number 2.

    ..........What do you think is causing Radio 4's continuing surge in listenership?.........

    Maybe because every other station is even worse? It's certainly not by taking notice of your listeners' comments on BBC messageboards!

  • Comment number 3.

    "Theological decency"? What the heck has theology to do with it? If you mean ethical or acceptable, say so.

  • Comment number 4.

    Ah, Mr Damazer, while you are here - a 'special request'. Please, pretty please, can you repeat [or at least give an online taster] of 'Clue' as presented by Rob Brydon. I totally missed this programme, not even catching a smidgin. I was convinced he might be the best of the bunch in terms of potential 'full time' presenters, but without hearing the show I cannot judge.

    Does anyone else have a review or know of any critics who did review this ?

  • Comment number 5.

    I absolutely agree that 'Inside the Ethics Committee' is a splendiforous programme, and it is long overdue that Joan Bakwell is back on the wireless.

    Can I also rain on your parade ever so slightly and suggest that the reason BBC Radio is doing so well is that it doesn't have to worry about belt-tightening as advertising 'dollars' migrate to online advertising ??

    So I wouldn't crow too loudly as Rupert Murdoch already looks to be on the warpath... What about having a 'paywall' so that we could buy old episodes of 'Just A Minute!' ??


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