A morning spent riffling through the latest RAJAR figures by our media team reveals that there’s certainly a lot to smile about in the world of radio today. The report, measuring radio listening figures across the UK for the second quarter of 2014, is indicative of (very) impressive growth across the board with recent mergers and acquisitions clearly adding value to networks and stations.


Across the period, 48.1 million UK adults tuned in to their favourite radio station on a weekly basis. That’s an impressive 90% of the population. Commercial radio stations, particularly, fared very well in recent months, gaining 330,000 listeners (whilst the BBC’s audience fell by 87,000). This equates to 64% of UK adults listening to commercial radio stations every week (34.4 million people).


Evidently, radio advertising is currently paving a profitable avenue for brands aiming to reach the British public through commercial stations, both nationally and locally. Then again, we already knew that.


National stations


As ever Global Radio UK reigns supreme as the most listened to group nationally, bringing in an average of 21.3 million listeners monthly. In the last 12 months the network has acquired Real and Smooth and is clearly reaping the rewards, noting a 6.1% audience increase since Q2 2013.


Heart Radio, part of the Global group, led as the UK’s largest commercial radio brand, having acquired all Real Radio stations earlier this year. The network enjoyed an average of 9 million weekly listeners across the period. The Capital brand followed with 7.3 million listeners.


Classic FM, the largest national commercial radio station, saw an increase of 2% reach.


The Smooth Network increased their reach by 7%, with a weekly audience of 4.6 million. Recent investment into rebranding and marketing strategy, combined with the acquisition of eight Gold stations earlier this year, are clearly paying off! The network is hot on the heels of Kiss, the former drawing in a weekly audience of 4.63 million.


Bauer Radio group have grown by 13.3% across the last 12 months and for a second quarter outperformed Radio 2 in audience figures. Bauer Radio’s collective network (including Magic AM, Kiss and Absolute Radio amongst others) brought in an audience of 15.9 million.


Total Absolute Radio saw a marginal drop in listeners compared to the previous quarter (down 2.9%) – but still managed to attract 1.8 million listeners.


BBC Radio 2’s disappointment was shared with Radio 4, the station dropping 4.1% QoQ. Radio 1, on the other hand, grew by 2.5% as UK radio listeners gradually warm to breakfast presenter Nick Grimshaw (pulling in 5.97 million weekly listeners).


talkSPORT brought in its largest audience figures to date (3.4 million) thanks to the World Cup – delivering 5.6% QoQ growth. BBC Radio 5 live sports extra secured an additional 36% of listening hours across the period – far outperforming the England football squad.




Smooth Radio’s move to Global Radio has proved very successful to date, with the weekly audience growing by 38%, a continuation of the impressive progress noted in Q1.


Success was also enjoyed by London’s Capital station which continues to hold on to its title as London’s most listened to station. Audience figures increased to 2.2 million weekly listeners, with the breakfast show (hosted by Lisa Snowdon and Dave Berry) once again gaining popularity.


Magic 105.4 didn’t perform as well across the period with a 0.7% drop QoQ, the breakfast show falling from second to third place in the rankings.




2014 has been a year of massive change so far for the Welsh radio marketplace, and the Q2 RAJAR figures allow us to see the effect this is already having on audience sizes.


Whilst a little slow off the blocks initially, the value of Heart Wales’ recent rebranding efforts are becoming overtly apparent now, with an impressive 12% audience increase QoQ (50,000 listeners) for Heart Wales South – fantastic news for brands looking to target the South Wales region through radio advertising.


Swansea Sound matched this growth, seeing a 12% increase in listeners.


Non-commercial station, BBC Radio Cymru, having recently restructured their schedule, added 4000 listeners to their audience across the period and now reach 147,000 people weekly.


Elsewhere, our neighbours in Manchester gained 65,000 new listeners to Manchester XFM.


Overall, an outstanding quarter for UK radio stations with the vast majority of commercial stations pulling in very impressive figures. For brands currently advertising through radio – a reassuring sign. For brands considering the media platform – a boost of encouragement. Whether you’re looking to reach potential customers on a national or regional scale, radio advertising provides an excellent opportunity to engage with your target audience through a cost-effective, friendly and targetable outlet.


As ever, we’re only a phone call away should you wish to further discuss this latest RAJAR release (or get in on the radio action!).


Source: RAJAR Q2 2014