Stable quarter for BBC radio according to latest Rajars

It was a stable quarter for BBC radio (Q4 2019, 16 Sept - 15 Dec) with 33.58 million listeners and a share of 51% (from 33.45m/49.4% in last quarter and 33.97/50.9% last year), according to latest data from Rajar.

Published: 5 February 2020
We are focused on keeping live listening strong and looking for new ways to do so, but we also want to ensure we offer more for our audiences however they want to listen.
— James Purnell
  • Speech stations did well with BBC Radio 4 reaching nearly 11 million people, BBC Radio 5 live topping 5 million, and a record audience to BBC Radio 4 Extra
  • BBC Radio 3 had its biggest audience since 2016

Figures released last week show that during the same three months, there was a record number of plays of on demand content on BBC Sounds, including radio programmes, podcasts and music mixes.

James Purnell, Director of BBC Radio and Education, says: “Our brilliant stations are much loved by our audiences and in this quarter we’ve seen some strong numbers for our speech stations, including a record for Radio 4 Extra.

“The latest figures show some of the challenges we face across the radio industry with retaining a live listening habit amongst young people, whose audio consumption is rapidly changing. We are focused on keeping live listening strong and looking for new ways to do so, but we also want to ensure we offer more for our audiences however they want to listen.

“During this quarter alone, we saw more than 100 million on demand plays of our content on BBC Sounds, double the previous quarter, demonstrating the increasing popularity of our radio programmes outside of our linear schedules.”

BBC Radio 1 posted a reach of 9.72 million listeners aged 10+ (from 10.21m last quarter and 10.19m last year). There were 8.79 million 15+ listeners (from 9.35m last quarter and 9.38m last year). The Radio 1 Breakfast Show now attracts 5.13m million listeners 10+ (Mon-Thu), from 5.46m last quarter and 5.59m last year. This quarter saw 4.81 million 15+ listeners (Mon-Thu), compared to 5.05m last quarter.

BBC Radio 2’s weekly audience was 14.44 million (from 14.18m last quarter and 14.89m last year). The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show attracted 8.24 million listeners per week, compared to 7.9m last quarter and 9.07m last year.

BBC Radio 3’s audience was 2.13 million (compared with 1.93m last quarter and 1.83m last year), the station’s highest in three years.

BBC Radio 4 posted a weekly reach of 10.98 million during the quarter (10.34m last quarter and 10.48m last year). The Today programme (Mon - Sat) has 7.17 million listeners each week, from 6.6m last quarter and 6.8m last year.

BBC Radio 4 Extra reached a record audience, attracting 2.27 million listeners per week (from 2m last quarter and 2.1m last year).

BBC Radio 5 live posted a reach of 5.41million listeners (4.98m last quarter and 4.97m last year).

Amongst digital-only stations, BBC Radio 1Xtra had a reach of 1.06m weekly listeners 10+ from 1.16m last quarter and 1.17m last year (987,000 weekly listeners 15+ from 1.07m last quarter and 1.06m last year), BBC Radio 6 Music drew 2.49 million listeners (from 2.41m last quarter and 2.3m last year). BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra attracted 914,000 listeners per week (from 2.2m last quarter and 667,000 last year).

BBC Asian Network drew 519,000 listeners, compared to 602,000 listeners last quarter and 527,000 last year.

The BBC World Service posted a weekly UK audience of 1.38 million (from 1.21m last quarter and 1.56m last year).

BBC local radio reached 7.5million listeners per week, from 7.43m last quarter and 7.8m last year.