The RAJARs are in
The latest set of radio listening figures are out, giving us a picture of how we're doing in terms of the actual number of people listening. These figures cover the last three months of 2009 so before the changes to the schedule we made in January.
The headline for 5 live is that 6.11 million people listen to us each week. There are always a number of seasonal factors which affect 5 live listening, above all related to the sporting calendar. So the story of these figures is that we're up on the year by 120,000 but down on the previous quarter (which included the Ashes series and Wimbledon) by 280,000. What's most encouraging is that this is our highest figure for this quarter for six years; it's also the first time in five years where 5 live's weekly reach has been above six million for four quarters in a row.
Listening to 5 live Sports Extra is even more seasonal and there's a significant quarterly drop here but, with 660,000 listeners per week, listening to the station is again up year-on-year.
Of course listening figures are by no means the only indicator of how we're doing and there are many other ways of measuring the quality, range and ambition of our programmes. But these numbers do give us a snapshot both of who's listening and for how long. We'll be looking over the next few days at the detailed picture for each programme. Of course we want more people to listen for longer and we'll continue to work on ways of achieving this.
We're bedding in the new programmes which we launched in January as well as trying to make sure 5 live as a whole is as compelling as possible. I think our coverage over the last few weeks of events ranging from the Iraq inquiry to the Australian Open has clearly shown what we're capable of. As we build up to both the General Election and the World Cup, there should be plenty more highlights over the next few months.
Adrian Van Klaveren is Controller of BBC Radio 5 live
- RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) is jointly owned by the BBC and commercial radio trade body the Radio Centre. Participating listeners are asked to record their radio listening in quarter-hour time blocks for one week.
- The RAJAR figures for 'linear listening', not including on-demand listening or podcasts, in a table and the official quarterly press release (PDF).
- In the media pages, The Times focuses on Terry Wogan's 'valedictory' final quarter and The Guardian on the performance of the national commercial networks. The Guardian also has a page tracking TV overnights.
- Picture, radio debian, by Alosh Bennett. Used under licence.