Record audiences tune in to Radio 5 live sports extra during a sensational summer of sport

Latest Rajar data (Q3 2019, 24 June - 15 September) shows that BBC Radio 5 live sports extra reached record audiences with 2.2 million weekly listeners during the summer months (from 1.48m last quarter and 1.67m last year).

Published: 24 October 2019
Our brilliant coverage of both the Cricket World Cup and the Ashes saw huge numbers of people listening live, helping push sports extra to its best ever figures.
— James Purnell

The Rajar data reflecting all radio listening in the UK also reveals there’s been a significant increase in podcast listening amongst audiences, now at 8.4 million (from 7.1m last quarter and 6m last year), with almost a quarter of young people (15-34) now listening to podcasts.

A record 7.4 million people are listening to BBC stations online and through apps.

James Purnell, Director of BBC Radio and Education, says: “We enjoyed a sensational summer of sport and the impact of that can be seen in the figures for Radio 5 live sports extra. Our brilliant coverage of both the Cricket World Cup and the Ashes saw huge numbers of people listening live, helping push sports extra to its best ever figures. The country was gripped by Ben Stokes at Headingley and England’s World Cup win. I’m proud so many people followed the action on the BBC.

“Young people’s audio habits have already been transformed with music streaming and the boom in podcasting. These are now spreading wider, with the overall podcast audience growing by 40% during the past year alone and online listening is increasing too.

“Our goal is to keep live listening as strong as possible. We also want to grow BBC Sounds which allows our audiences to discover new podcasts and music mixes, expertly curated by our teams, as well as listen to all our stations and catch up on their favourite shows conveniently. BBC Sounds now has more than two and a half million weekly users, up around 50% since July.”

All BBC radio’s weekly reach over the period was 33.45 million (34.08m last quarter and 34.29m last year) and a share of 49.4% (49.3% last quarter and 51.7% last year).

BBC Radio 1 posted a reach of 10.21 million listeners aged 10+ (from 10.56m last quarter and 10.56m last year). There were 9.35m 15+ listeners (from 9.56m last quarter and 9.60m last year) while the network’s share of listening was 5.8% (from 5.9% last quarter and 6.0% last year). The Radio 1 Breakfast Show now attracts 5.46 million listeners 10+ (Mon-Thu), from 5.69m last quarter and 5.28m last year. This quarter saw 5.05 million 15+ listeners (Monday - Thursday), compared to 5.19m last quarter.

BBC Radio 2’s weekly audience was 14.18m (from 14.59m last quarter and 14.64m last year) while the station’s share of listening was 15.9% (16.4% last quarter and 17.1% last year). The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show attracted 7.90m listeners per week, compared to 8.27m last quarter and 8.82m last year.

BBC Radio 3’s audience was 1.93m (compared with 2.03m last quarter and 1.93m last year) and its share was 1.3% (1.3% last quarter and 1.2% last year).

BBC Radio 4 posted a weekly reach of 10.34m during the quarter (10.57m last quarter and 10.64m last year) and a share of 11.0% (11.1% last quarter and 11.6% last year). The Today programme (Monday - Saturday) has 6.72m listeners each week, from 7.02m last quarter and 6.98m last year.

BBC Radio 5 live posted a reach of 4.98m listeners (5.24m last quarter and 5.03m last year) and a share of 3.2% (3.2% last quarter and 3.4% last year).

Amongst digital-only stations, BBC Radio 1Xtra had a reach of 1.16m weekly listeners 10+ from 1.17m last quarter and 1.12m last year (1.07m weekly listeners 15+ from 1.10m last quarter and 1.04m last year), BBC Radio 6 Music drew 2.41m listeners (from 2.29m last quarter and 2.52m last year). BBC Radio 4 Extra attracted 1.99m listeners per week (from 2.22m last quarter and 2.01m last year).

BBC Asian Network drew 602,000 listeners, compared to 614,000 listeners last quarter and 631,000 last year.

The BBC World Service posted a weekly UK audience of 1.21m (from 1.45m last quarter and 1.48m last year).

BBC local radio reached 7.43m listeners per week, from 7.59m last quarter and 7.84m last year.