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RAJARs show more people listening to 5 live

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Adrian Van-Klaveren Adrian Van-Klaveren | 15:40 UK time, Thursday, 13 May 2010


I promised I'd write about the latest set of RAJAR listening figures when they were published. Well they're out today and they show that 5 live's weekly audience is the second highest in the station's history (in case you're interested the highest came in 2002 at the time of the Japan/South Korea World Cup).

5 live now has 6.48 million listeners a week. That's up 370,000 on the last set of figures and up more than a quarter of a million on this time last year. Encouragingly it's the first time our weekly reach has been above 6 million for five quarters in a row. Our share of total radio listening is now 4.6 per cent - a 0.1 per cent increase from last quarter.

5 live Sports Extra's audience has risen slightly to 0.68 million and the total audience for 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra now stands at just over 6.5 million, again up on both the quarter and the year. There's also a marked rise in digital listening which is so important for our future because of the limitations of medium wave.

There's a good performance across the schedule with many news and sport programmes showing reasonable gains. I've consistently said that one quarter is far too little information to judge the new weekday schedule so we'll need to see how the numbers settle down over the next few months. Trends are what really matter with RAJAR figures and we're obviously encouraged by the overall station performance.

After the drama of the election, we're looking forward now to the next few months; our key priorities are to chart the impact of the early months of the new government and of course to offer the best possible coverage of the World Cup - as well as anything else the world throws at us.

Adrian Van Klaveren is Controller of 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra
  • 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 press, the big RAJAR stories were the overall growth in digital listening, Chris Evans' huge Radio 2 debut and the big jump in listeners to 6 Music. 5 live's boost to listening was covered in The Guardian and The Times.


  • Comment number 1.

    Red-top tabloids, "Real-life" magazines, talent shows etc. have large ratings, doesn't make them good or worthwhile, and they are commercial activities. The BBC should not be chasing ratings by aping commercial stations - in dumbing down down to barely listenable drivel.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Adrian - thank you for posting. I would like to know more about how the changes have affected listener numbers throughout the day, but can understand that that may be more of an internal review on a programme by programme basis. It will also be interesting to compare with future or past figures, the listener numbers around the time of the Prime Ministerial debates and the election coverage.

    I wonder if you have seen the comments about 5 live on the Guardian website. There are a real cross section of views there about the station which unfortunately we do not really get to see on these blogs.

    Finally, I hope John Pienaar and all who have worked extra long hours on the extended election coverage will get a mention at some point for the hard work they have been putting in over a range of programmes and their generally clear and informative reports.

  • Comment number 3.

    Thanks for this post. Could we please see cumes and share for each daypart for a key demographic, perhaps all people 25-49 and a comparison between Q1 2009 and Q1 2010. It is far to simplistic to use these All People 10+ numbers across all dayparts as a benchmark of success.

  • Comment number 4.

    PS, I agree with Prosperogirl ... John Pienaar is a real asset to the station. Balanced, insightful and politics delivered with wit and good humour.

  • Comment number 5.

    Good old Pienaar.

  • Comment number 6.

    Yes, John pienaar is a great asset to 5live!

  • Comment number 7.

    Yes I completely agree about John Pienaar. He's done an outstanding job for us throughout the election - the next set of figures will give us some indication of how many people listened to our election coverage, which I personally was delighted with. In reply to post 2, yes I've been reading with interest the comments on The Guardian site - a varied selection of opinions there which just show how subjective judgements about presenters can be. In terms of the detailed figures, Prosperosgirl is right to suggest that these are better used for internal review - there is a danger both now and in the future of concentrating far too much on movements in individual numbers for various half-hours of the schedule. As I've said already, trends are what really matter here and even then ratings are only one way of judging the success of what we do.
    Adrian Van Klaveren
    Controller, Radio 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra

  • Comment number 8.

    All is not totally rosy in the garden ...

    Seen today's Charlie Sale column in the Mail? Murray referred too as an 'irritating Irish presenter'.

    Nice to know I am in tune with a respected columnist on a national with 2.4M readers and not a marginalised lone wolf.

  • Comment number 9.

    Lots of comments about John Pienaar on here, so I figure it's a good opportunity to link to the last edition of his Political Peanuts.

    Watch and enjoy!

    Aaron Eccles, Senior Producer, 5 live

  • Comment number 10.

    Extremely disappointed with this from AVK -- "In terms of the detailed figures, Prosperosgirl is right to suggest that these are better used for internal review" ... why is that? These figures are available to all subscribers. They are not only provided to the BBC but others. What is there to hide from a little more transparency over the performance of individual dayparts against a key demographic c/w the same quarter last year? Is it that performance has been poor against some demographics in some dayparts? Hmm.

  • Comment number 11.

    That baby looks like me when Colin Murray is on air - help.

    Another weekend having to avoid his wretched mono drone and inability to let someone else answer HIS questions. Could you send him on an interviewing course please?

  • Comment number 12.

    Carrie! One thing at a time! I think he still needs to make it to the £200 How to use Facebook class and the £100 How to listen course. Perhaps our ever present blogs editor could let us know if Mr Murray has been on those courses yet? Only then will he have time for the how to interview course. I'm sure the BBC staff only get a certain number of hours a week for learning and development.

  • Comment number 13.

    Balanced coverage! Where on earth did you buy your weighing scales from?

    Look what we've ended up with. A one party Tory state!

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with Nick, or in this case ryanw (post #10). Of course we should be able to see the detailed figures. The phrase was "It's your BBC". Well, if it's my BBC, I'd like to see those figures please Adrian.
    I think the fact that the figures are not being provided says it all anyway. Anyone who listened before and after December 2009 will be in no doubt of the downward spiral the station has taken, especially during the day. It's inconceivable that there are more people listening to Gabby Logan and Richard Bacon than listened to the Midday News, when it was on, and Simon Mayo in the comparable time slots.
    How long does it take for the obvious shortfalls to reveal themselves as 'a trend'? Listeners can see it, why can't the BBC executives?

  • Comment number 15.

    I've posted on a similar vein in the past but it really angers me when racism is allowed to pass without comment. Post #8 categorises Colin Murray as an 'irritating Irish presenter'. He may well be irritating, he certainly is Irish, but 'Irish' is a noun and when it's used as an adjective it becomes racist. Try swapping the word 'Irish' with 'black', 'asian' or 'muslim'. I don't think it would have got past the moderators and rightly so.
    Racism at any level should be condemned, not tolerated and even congratulated as it was in that post.
    I'm white, Scottish and middle aged but only the last one is acceptable as an adjective!

  • Comment number 16.

    Read it again gee gee. It is a direct description from an article printed in the Daily Mail.

  • Comment number 17.

    Speaking of Irish presenters, Stephen Nolan is likely to be stuck in Manchester with flights west to orthern Ireland suspended due to the ash cloud. Just after 12am last night he said on his show "doesnt do boats". Under no circumstances would I expect the BBC to use our money to put him up in a hotel for more night(s) due to the ash. If there's a ferry and he refuses to go, then he should pay for his accomodation and be forced to lose pay/take leave if he misses in Northern Ireland television commitements.

  • Comment number 18.

    As long as they don't ask Nolan to stand in for someone whilst he is over here. And how will he do his programme remote from his production staff if there is breaking news in Northern Ireland? Oh well.

  • Comment number 19.

    FYI - since some are asking for further data - publication of RAJAR data is governed by RAJAR's 'publication code', which lays out limits on what participating stations may publish. Remember, the RAJARs are paid for by subscriptions from the BBC and commercial radio. You can download the publication code itself (PDF) and a Powerpoint presentation about it from the RAJAR web site. An interesting read.

    Steve Bowbrick, blogs editor

  • Comment number 20.

    Steve, in that case a simple yes/no answers will do. We dont need the numbers. Please tell us for the All People 25-49 demographic for each daypart has the 5Live audience share and cume gone up or down c/w with Q1 2009?

    A simple thing to find out using the Rajar tools. Look forward to the prospect of hearing the answers for each of the dayparts.

  • Comment number 21.

    Thanks the the Rajar publication info. Interesting.

  • Comment number 22.

    Lots of comments about John Pienaar on here, so I figure it's a good opportunity to link to the last edition of his Political Peanuts.
    Well, I heard that there are lots of comments about John Pienaar, but I am waiting for his last edition. That is what I am looking. It seems to create good impression on his audiences.
    John from Digi[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]


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