Commercial radio remains the destination of choice for millions of people. Each week over 35 million listeners tune in to the widest choice of stations at any point in the history of radio.

Action Stations is full of fantastic examples of these commercial stations providing a valuable public service to their audience. Although extensive this is just a small sample of how local stations are embedded in their communities and engaging with millions of listeners every day.

The report found that commercial radio stations:

• broadcast an average 13 hours 15 minutes of public service content each week (news and sport, travel, weather, charity appeals, local events)
• provide 25 news and sport bulletins each day on average
• attend more than 10,000 local events each year
• raise a total of over £25m directly for charity
• engage with listeners over one million times a day
• support live music (90% of stations) and unknown artists (83% of stations).

Executive Summary

Commercial Radio Business

  • Commercial radio supports 12,340 jobs across the UK
  • The sector supports £683m in gross value added to the economy
  • For every £1 invested radio returns £7.70 to advertisers (a return on investment of £4.6bn based on advertising revenue of £592m in 2015).

News, weather and travel

  • 13 hours 15 minutes of public value content broadcast each week (news & sport, travel, weather, charity appeals, local events)
  • 6½ hours of news & sport, over 2 hours of weather reports and nearly 3 hours of travel updates
  • 54% of news bulletins feature local news in daytime
  • Each station provides 25 news and sport bulletins every day as well as 28 weather reports and 27 travel updates.

Community and social action

  • Attend over 10,000 local events each year
  • Broadcast an average of 80 community bulletins each week
  • Raised an impressive £25m directly for charity in 2015 alone
  • Charities advertising on radio also received a return on investment of £227m for (based on an advertising spend of £13.6m in 2015)
  • 100% of local stations surveyed said they engaged with local MPs in 2015.

Technology and innovation

Listening habits have changed with new technology – but live radio remains strong and accounts for 74% of all audio listening (and 84% of in car listening)

Radio stations increasingly use technology to provide up-to-date local news from central news hubs with reporters on the ground

Audiences contact and interact with stations over one million times a day – whether on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat or texts, email and phone calls.


 78% of listeners are introduced to new music on local commercial radio

90% host live sessions and 83% feature unknown artists, many of whom have gone on to greater success

Commercial radio supported over £103m to music sales and paid a further £50m in music rights payments in 2015.