Total UK radio audience falls, digital rises

Radio Media Channel Advertising

The latest changes in UK radio trends, according to the official Rajar figures for the third quarter of 2011, see’s the total number of people listening to radio weekly has dropped slightly but digital radio has registered a growth in audience.

Figures show that 90.7% of the people listen to the radio at least once a week, a fall from 91.7% in the previous quarter. Translated in numbers, this means 47.1m listeners for the period from July to September, compared to 47.6m from April to June. Despite the decline, figures are still higher year on year, as the number of listeners at the end of September 2010 was 46.8m.

In addition, the report indicates that the audience now spends longer periods listening, as the listening hours have grown by 2% year on year.

By contrast, digital radio is gaining speed steadily, as the percentage of people tuning in to stations via digital platforms is now over 28%, marking a rise from 26.9% in the second quarter and 24.8% in 2010. The number of digital radio listening hours are also on the rise, having reached over 300m.

Not surprisingly, BBC Radio 2 is still the most popular station with 14.3m listeners, a growth of 2.5% on the second quarter. Heart still tops the list of the most listened to commercial stations, although its audience declined slightly by 0.5% to reach 7.6m listeners.