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About Commercial Radio


David Jessell was the first voice on commercial radio on LBC in 1973.

David Jessell was the first voice on commercial radio on LBC in 1973.

The first commercial radio station to broadcast in the UK was LBC which launched on 8th October 1973. It was followed shortly after by Capital Radio in London and a number of other stations in major towns and cities across the country. Since then the industry has gone from strength to strength, offering services of all shapes, sizes and genres. Today there are 342 licensed commercial radio stations broadcasting in the UK.

Following a period of consolidation in the late 2000s the majority of stations now fall under the ownership of two main groups: Global and Bauer, with the rest of the industry made up of mid-sized operators, smaller groups and independents.


Commercial radio today

Commercial stations broadcast to 35m people every week and the industry is stronger than ever with more choice for listeners on a variety of platforms – including FM, AM, DAB and online. In 2016 commercial radio had record revenues of £646m.  Commercial radio’s contribution to the economy is also considerable.  The industry as a whole supported £683m in gross value added to the economy and supports 12,340 jobs across the country.  Additionally, our impressive Return on Investment for advertisers is worth an impressive £4.6bn.


Advertising on radio

For 43 years, commercial radio has provided brands with a way to speak to huge numbers of the population via a medium consumers trust.  That hasn’t changed today, and Radiocentre’s research shows that – as part of a wider multi-channel campaign – radio remains as effective today as ever.

Radio provides reach, with nearly 35m listeners every week; resonance, as an emotional influencer with power to enhance brand perceptions at a subconscious level; and results, delivering an average ROI of £7.70 for every pound spent.

Radio advertising also stretches beyond the traditional 30 second ad, with longer ads, sponsorship, branded content and innovate digital solutions increasingly providing advertisers with new and more creative ways to get their message to potential customers.

For more on how to plan and buy radio, how to make great radio ads, and to use our tools, research and case studies click here.

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june, 2018

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