Commercial radio reaches biggest ever audience

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Commercial radio has reported its largest audience yet, with 36.3 million listeners tuning in every week.

New figures for Q1 2020 from RAJAR, the body responsible for measuring radio audiences in the UK, also show the sector’s average listening up year-on-year, to 13 hours per week, and share of listening also up, from 45.7% in Q1 2019 to 47.8%.

These results for commercial radio are boosted by a higher than average share of digital listening. Digital – including DAB, online and apps – now makes up 61.6% of listening, reflecting the success of brand extensions and new services that stations are offering their listeners. Listening online and via apps is up 27.6% to 15.7%, with a similar trend shown across all of radio as audiences tune in using a variety of different methods, including smart speakers, which continue to grow in popularity.

Overall listening to radio remains strong, with nine out of 10 adults in the UK listening every week. Radio reaches 48.9 million listeners every week, with audiences tuning in for an average of nearly three hours per day (22.2 hours per week). Online remains the fastest growing area for radio, and its total share of listening now stands at 14%, up from 11% in Q1 2019.

Siobhan Kenny, CEO of Radiocentre, the industry trade body for commercial radio, said: “Covering the beginning of the year, mostly pre-lockdown, these latest RAJAR results for January to March show commercial radio hitting record numbers. Audiences’ high level of trust and increased availability during lockdown can only build on that.”

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