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5 live's RAJAR Figures Quarter 1 2011

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Adrian Van-Klaveren Adrian Van-Klaveren | 09:49 UK time, Thursday, 12 May 2011

Screen grab of RAJAR press release

Today is what everyone working in radio calls RAJAR Day - the publication of the latest listening figures for radio in the UK. What the numbers show are how many people listen to each radio station in the UK for at least five minutes within a quarter hour period in the first three months of this year. For 5 live, we once again have a very encouraging set of figures. Our total audience is 6.65 million for 5 live alone and 6.8 million for 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra combined.

The number of listeners is up nearly 3% year on year though down on our record-breaking previous quarter. As always with 5 live, you have to look at the major sports and news events taking place over a period which inevitably have an impact on listening figures. Although busy, the first part of 2011 didn't really match the previous quarter which had included the Ashes and the Ryder Cup as well as some major news stories such as the autumn spending review and the early winter snowfalls.

Overall the picture is that 5 live's audience is up on the year by 170,000 listeners and at its fourth highest level ever (and the highest for any quarter not including a World Cup or Ashes Cricket series). For the first time in the station's history, we are consistently recording listening figures above six million. It's also very pleasing that Sports Extra's listening figures show an increase and are at their highest level since the summer of 2009.

It's a very busy time at 5 live at the moment. The BBC Trust's review of 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra has just begun and across the BBC we're looking at how we spend our money following the licence fee settlement. What these numbers show are how nearly 7 million people really value what 5 live and Sports Extra have to offer each week.

Coming in a week in which we've also picked up seven Gold Sony Radio Academy Awards - more than any other radio station - it's a good note to end on.

Adrian Van Klaveren is the Controller of 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra


  • Comment number 1.

    Disappointing that figures are down significantly on the previous quarter with big international news stories like the Japan Earthquake, Egypt and Libya did listeners turn to more serious news channels for the coverage?

    I see BBC Radio 4 has its biggest ever audience. Maybe listeners don’t see 5 Live as the home of news anymore?

  • Comment number 2.

    So news may have been a turn off for some of your listeners because boy were there some big stories, and you sent an awful lot of your staff to cover them, Adrian. More 5Live SE listeners and less on the 5 Live station. Perhaps you should become a sports station only and create a new news station?

  • Comment number 3.

    The second biggest loss of listeners in over 5 years (or 23 surveys) is described as "a very encouraging set of figures."

    "The first part of 2011 didn't really match the previous quarter" ... try -440,000 listeners.

    I wish the FULL set of Rajar numbers would be released then we can see exactly who this diet of tweets, trival and tittle-tattle appeals too. Which daypart, which demographic.

    There is no legtimate excuse for not releasing the numbers. This Rajar ruse can't continue.

    Anyway, the focus should be substance not ratings, something 5Live is also losing.

  • Comment number 4.

    Two additional perspectives, to show how the media is covering the Rajars this morning.

    "BBC Radio 4 reaches record audience
    Station hits just under 11 million listeners due to The Archers storyline and momentous international news stories"

    -- Funny how "momentous international news stories" boost Radio 4's ratings while 5Live loses 440,000 listeners. Lends credence to Dom's theory in #1.

    "5 Live sheds listeners as TalkSport thrives
    BBC Radio 5 Live lost more than 400,000 listeners in the first three months of 2011, while commercial rival TalkSport attracted its highest ever audience. "

    -- Doesn't look like the media are buying the spin either.

  • Comment number 5.

    These figures are what they are, just a bunch of numbers. Anyone can use these numbers to justify their existence and in this case, the BBC licence fee. So, a whopping increase of 3% is such a big deal.
    The only people interested in these figures are those working in radio. These figures will not make me listen to R5L more often or less often. It is one of the stations in my car that I listen to.

  • Comment number 6.

    As long as I can remember Radio 4 was my choice of listening but when 5live first came along I tuned to that instead.Now I find myself tuning back to Radio 4 once again to get the serious news.Far too much tabloid or celeb culture on 5live and we all know who the culprits are but no one appears willing to change this , so no wonder Radio 4 has gained.

  • Comment number 7.

    I value the remote control for my radio, more and more. Because more and more, I need to zap 5live. I never listen to a full programme and with Danny back in the afternoons on London, I'm sorted. I never listen to 'Breakfast' so I don't have to suffer the mother of three.(how does she do it?)

    Footnote (with rose-tinted specs?): Remember this line-up:
    Peter Allen & Jane Garvey
    Diana Madill
    Eddie Mair
    Sybil Ruscoe
    John Inverdale
    Valerie Sanderson

  • Comment number 8.

    Excessive use of Richard Bacon is one of my reasons for reducing my hours of listening.

  • Comment number 9.

    Darlogas, you've forgotten Julian Worricker. Yes, 'fluffy' Five Lite is not the preferred provider of news about Japan, the crisis in the Eurozone (when was that last discussed by Victoria Derbyshire?) and the events in North Africa. Programmes and items about other programmes, especially tv programmes, have taken the place of real news – the Apprentice, discussed ad nauseam by VD, Saturday night's tv with a special section during Sunday morning's 'news' programme – while other reasons to turn off include the music 'reviews' on Monday morning and the trivial 'news' about singers and actors that requires its own 'correspondent'. (I apologize for all the inverted commas, but words like news and correspondent don't seem to mean the same to Five Live as they do to me.) I'm afraid in the last 18 months to 2 years Five Live has pursued the lowest common denominator, and my listening has diminished accordingly.

  • Comment number 10.

    5Live's average 2010 reach was 6658k, so I think 2011 Q1's 6653k can at best be seen as static. 2011 Q1's total hours of 47148k, nearly 7% down on 2010's average of 50381k, must be seen as something of a disappointment.

    No wonder the beatified Robbie Savage felt sufficiently tired and emotional at the denouement of the Sonys to ask Richard Keys to, err, 'step outside for a moment'.


  • Comment number 11.

    I don't think I have ever heard just one single BBC tv programme being given so much publicity or hyped up by 5live as The Apprentice.I appreciate Derbyshire used to work on the ' I'm Fired ' spin off but what are the other motives behind all this tedious coverage ? Another good reason to switch to Radio 4.Is there somekind of a backroom deal going on with this 5live obsession ?

  • Comment number 12.

    I was appalled last night that Tony Livesey cut short a live eyewitness report of the earthquake last night to cover The Apprentice.

    The Apprentice isn't news. What is the fascination?

    I wouldn't be surprised if there is a secret deal -- a silent commitment to cover this each week with the BBC Publicity team.

    I couldn't agree with the sentiment you expressed more Binkie.

  • Comment number 13.

    Livesey featured football again albeit the tediously poorly behaved Lennon and his loathers.

  • Comment number 14.

    9. At 13:08pm 12th May 2011, DaPonte wrote:
    Darlogas, you've forgotten Julian Worricker.

    Shame on me forgetting the Worricker!

    I do agree with the rest of your comments, DaPonte.

    Don't get me started on the Big'un from Bury, or 5live trailers; though my remote ensures I'm in control.

  • Comment number 15.

    Messages 7, 8 and 9 seem to say much of how I feel about Radio 5...

    For many years my radio dial was welded to Radio 5, rarely at all these days.

    Of course radio evolves and presenters change but for the first 10 years approx the station and who fronted it were quality. Are there no presenters of that standard any more? Or are they all working behind the mike or elsewhere?

  • Comment number 16.

    Add your comment.

    'The BBC Trust's review of 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra has just begun and across the BBC we're looking at how we spend our money following the licence fee settlement':
    Adrian, since R5 is a continuity of artefact inadmissible in perpetuity as anything of a 'person'-whatever the lurk and smirk of the artifice, then R5 can as much have 'our money' as the pot can have the pocket of the potter.

  • Comment number 17.

    "The most democratic station in the country" strikes again closing down ANOTHER thread, this time the Coalition anniversary thread, IGNORING the legitimate questions and concerns as usual.

  • Comment number 18.

    ryanw - it was closed because it descended into the familiar chaos, with people making personal criticisms of each other rather than engaging with the topic. The House Rules are clear, so if people ignore them, their comments can be removed by the moderators, and threads can be closed. It's pretty simple.

  • Comment number 19.

    I do apologize Hasit for what happend in the previous blog that you had to close it was partly my fault.

    Are there any new blogs that will be published this week?

  • Comment number 20.

    Maybe a blog to look forward to the Champions League final, are there any plans for this,Hasit?

  • Comment number 21.

    Hasit, your heavy handedness does us all a disservice. There was no need to close that blog.

    There was a legitimate conversation being had about the coverage. These of course are swept under the carpet conveniently again added to the frustration.

    If posts stray there is a mechanism to refer those posts to the moderator.

    An invention may have been appropriate to ask posters to remain on topic but as you know these blogs are often not fit-for-purpose and the desire of the audience is to talk about other 5Live matters, usually about the "Best bits, events, changes and announcements." which is suppose to be the purpose of this blog. It gives us the opportunity to share thoughts about the station, bring news to other listeners (like George Riley's move to breakfast) which are ignored by the blog, and bring further context to propaganda posts like this Rajars one.

    It would be far better of course if you had a Open Thread each week.

    I can tell you this will be the most popular post of the week.

  • Comment number 22.

    .... or maybe a blog where folks can air constructive views on suggested improvements to Five Live that might just get listened to?

  • Comment number 23.

    More than a little disingenuous this morning to hear a Sony breakfast programme award winner sweeper this morning on the breakfast show.

    This programme didn't win. It is a totally different programme now, with Rachel Burdon not Shelagh, it's 50% different and 100% worse.

  • Comment number 24.

    What a pleasure it was the listen to the commentary on tonight's Championship qualifying final with David Pleat in the chair providing special comments... Pleat and Graham Taylor always make intelligent and thoughtful contributions enriching the coverage. Something others could learn.

  • Comment number 25.

    The Daily Mail's Charles Sale sums up many listener's views in his column this morning, describing Colin Murray as a 'BBC irritant'. Spot on Charlie!

  • Comment number 26.

    Another sign last night that wasting millions of license fee payers money on the move to Salford will make things worse not better.

    Tony Livesey had a torch relay feature last night with faux relay (what a trival waste of time) through Manchester. Not only was this a poor way to cover the news and didn't convey the reach, context or logistics of hosting such an event, it was insular, lazy and another sign of how 5Live is fast become 5Lancs.

    Live crosses to the finance reporter (hasn't she got better things to do wit her time like report finance) racing through the streets of a city largely unknown or of no interest to most. It added no value to the programme. It wasn't edifying and wasn't funny.

    Producers need to wake up to the face that news that we're just driving down Deansgate means nothing to the overwhelming majority of people in the UK who haven't been to Manchester and have no intention to. At least London is a world city with well-known landmarks and much more familiar to many more people than Manchester.

    Livesey's programme in very poor at not broadcasting to the country but being in a North West bubble, far more than programmes delivered from London. Having Racheal Hodges in London does little to mitigate this.

    It's looking increasing likely that less London-centric 5Live will just be a more insular, more exclusive Manchester-centric 5Live, which is a million times worse.

  • Comment number 27.

    Well with Livesey having spent so many years doing the BBC Radio Lancashire Breakfast programme and sport on NW Tonight it is understandable that his focus is NW centric

  • Comment number 28.

    Shame for the rest of the country though, Dom. I am interested in everywhere and naturally I understand the need to get outside London, but don't seem to hear about regional or city Britain unless something specifically newsworthy happens. Sadly the University of Salford will soon be the go-to place for academic comment, and the vox pops will be from Canal Street and Deansgate. I've been pulled elsewhere today for saying similar to ryanw but perhaps in a less charitable way.

  • Comment number 29.

    I felt that Livesey had improved after a shaky start but he has soon descended into the place that so much of 5Live seems to inhabit. Endless promotion of himself, Twitter, Manchester et al means that as soon as the football finishes and he pops up to trail his show (forgotten album tracks, ever met anybody who has a body part shaped like a vegetable, favourite crisp flavour, The Apprentice blah blah blah, things left on buses, yawn) it is time to switch off. Which means that when the football season finishes next week 5Live can cross off another listener for three months at least.

  • Comment number 30.

    Last night on Livesey: they choose to hear from a volunteer from the Trafford Rape Crisis Centre talking about Clarke. She works at the Manchester Metropolitan Uni. This was on the phone, so the editor could have chosen any spokesman from any rape crisis centre anywhere in Britain. But no.

    I see Henman is being paid £14,000 a day for input during Wimbledon fortnight. £196,000 isn't bad earnings for a few boring monotonal comments. So what do the radio tennis pundits get, please someone tell me?

  • Comment number 31.

    Hazit: are you getting a bit above your station as the BC censor of anything that goes against the company line? There's probably a handbook you are following knowing the BEEB

  • Comment number 32.

    @30. Forgot to mention the concert BBC is hosting featuring film themes - yes, it's in Salford folks. Despite there being many wonderful concert halls all over Britain where such a concert could have improved national inclusivity for the BBC, somehow they have decided it has to be there.

  • Comment number 33.

    I read with great interest most of the blogs that people bother to contribute to but don't comment very much these days. Most of these problems would be solved as someone has previously said in message 22.

    BTW - Where is the promised phone-in blog that were promised eons ago?

  • Comment number 34.

    Intresting piece by Alan Green in last Tuesdays Belfast Telegraph.

    In the piece titled "Fans deserve the chance to be heard" he defends 5lives 606, you can read more here https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/columnists/alan-green/fans-deserve-the-chance-to-be-heard-16001122.html, 1 of the stand out points he made was that his 606 phone in last season actually got more listeners than an actually live commentary of a football match!!!

    Just goes to show how popular footy phone ins are, so Moz Dee put that in your pipe and smoke it!!!

  • Comment number 35.

  • Comment number 36.

    zeldalicious - as part of my predecessor Imogen's '24 hours' series, there was this piece about Your Call.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    Thank you Hasit but that piece does not cover the promise we were made that we would be able to BLOG on the You Call subject instead of Messaging/twittering/facebooking or whatever.

    I wish I could find the piece where the BBC person said we would be able to blog but as I cannot find out (if there is a way) of how to go back to past blogs I have written on, that is out of the question.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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