Entertainment & Arts

Radio 2 host Chris Evans loses one million listeners

Chris Evans
Image caption Evans took over BBC Radio 2's breakfast show from Terry Wogan at the beginning of 2010

Chris Evans' BBC Radio 2 breakfast show has lost just over one million listeners in the past three months, according to industry body Rajar.

It had 8.48 million listeners a week, down from last quarter's record 9.53 million, but still higher than his predecessor Sir Terry Wogan.

Digital station 6 Music reached a record 1.19 million listeners - doubling its audience from last year.

The figures come after the BBC Trust rejected plans to close the station.

BBC Radio 4 and 5 live recorded their biggest ever audiences during the general election period, with the Today programme also attracting a record number of listeners.

Radio 4 reached 10.4 million people every week, up from 10 million last quarter, with the Today programme bringing in an extra 540,000 weekly listeners - while 5 live drew 6.76 million listeners per week.

However despite the record figures, the overall reach all of BBC Radio fell slightly to 34.59 million from 34.88 million in the last quarter with a share of 54.6%, down from 56.5%.

In May, Rajar said Evans had added more than one million listeners to the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show after replacing Sir Terry Wogan at the start of the year. His show is on air for half an hour longer each day than Sir Terry's programme.

Tim Davie, director of BBC Audio & Music, said: "This is another good set of figures for the radio industry.

"I'm delighted to see our speech networks attracting record audiences, fuelled by interest in the general election and illustrating the public's enduring demand for high quality news, analysis and discussion on radio."

Meanwhile, Rajar's data showed that commercial radio has grown by nearly one million listeners across the year, increasing to 32.8m, with an overall share of 43.2%.

"This is a fantastic set of results for the commercial radio sector showing long-term and sustained growth by every measure," said Andrew Harrison, chief executive of industry body RadioCentre.

Overall radio listening in the UK hit a record high, breaking the previous record set last quarter, to reach 46.8 million adults, or 90.6% of the population aged over 15, tuning in to their favourite radio stations each week.

It also revealed that 25% of all radio listening was via digital platforms, an increase of 17% year on year.

Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) set ownership increased by 7.6% year on year, with more than one third of the population now claiming to live in a household which has a DAB receiver.

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