Digital radio boosted by record online listening
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Digital radio boosted by record online listening

Digital listening share has increased to a new record of 58.6% up from 56.4% in Q1 2019 - representing a 4% growth in share percentage - boosted by the rapid growth of listening online via smart speakers, according to RAJAR Q1 2020 data released today.

Digital reach is also at a new record with 36.9 million adults, or 67% of the population, tuning in via a digital platform, up from 36.3m in Q1 2019.

Listening via online and apps now accounts for 14% of all listening and nearly a quarter (24%) of digital listening, having grown by 25.4 million hours (or by 23%) year on year. With 32% of adults now claiming to own a smart speaker, online listening in home was for the fourth consecutive quarter the fastest growing platform and location, increasing by 21 million hours (or by 26.6%) year on year.

Listening via DAB now accounts for 40% of all listening and 69% of digital listening, while listening via DTV now accounts for 4% of all listening and 8% of digital listening.

With new national commercial digital stations having launched in the last quarter of 2019, digital listening to national commercial stations grew by a further 13.9 million hours or 8.2% year on year, while digital listening in car maintained the new record set in the last quarter at 44.5% of all in car listening and growing by 5.5million hours or 5.5% year on year.

The most popular digital-only station is BBC 6 Music which grew by 1.6% to hit a new record of 2.556 million listeners, followed by KISSTORY, the most popular commercial digital-only station, which grew by 12% to reach 2.066 million listeners. BBC Radio 4 Extra is the third most popular with 1.983 million listeners.

Other stations showing strong growth include Virgin Radio, which increased by 15% from Q1 2019 to reach 1.496 million listeners; Radio X which grew by 7.3% to reach 1.651 million listeners; LBC which grew by 8.6% to 2.444 million listeners; talkSPORT2 which grew by 15% to reach 489,000 listeners; talkRADIO which grew by 25% to reach 424,000 listeners; and Magic Soul which grew by 37% to reach 393,000 listeners. LBC News launched with 470,000 digital listeners (of 657,000 total listeners). Scala Radio, which launched in March 2019, grew by 20% compared to its first reading in Q2 2109 to reach a new record of 310,000 listeners.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said:

“After the record digital listening growth in Q4 2019, what we have seen in the first quarter in 2020 is a shift towards listening online and via apps which now accounts for a record 14% of all radio listening. This is being prompted by the growth in use of smart speakers, which are in almost a third of homes, and record levels of online growth for commercial radio. This is an important long term trend and one we expect to see amplified during lockdown when there will be more listening in home and less on the move.”


Bauer Media expands Hits Radio Brand Network
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Bauer Media expands Hits Radio Brand Network

Bauer Media has today announced that the stations it acquired in 2019, Lincs FM, Celador Radio, UKRD and Wireless local stations, will join the Hits Radio Brand Network, providing the highest listening hours of any commercial radio brand.

Access to DAB digital radio will secure the multi-platform digital future of these stations as the radio market shifts further towards digital platforms, whilst the creation of a national network will deliver a mix of local content alongside content from nationally known presenters, as well as providing significant scale for advertisers.

Dee Ford CBE, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Radio, comments:

“Audiences love and trust radio. Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world. This ensures the provision of local news and information, traffic and travel as well as access for advertisers to highly valued audiences.”

Hits Radio Brand Network comprises Hits Radio - delivering a music proposition which is a soundtrack of the biggest hits and nostalgic throwback tracks and local breakfast shows; Greatest Hits Radio - offering classic hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s alongside regional drive time and networked breakfast shows.; and Country Hits Radio - playing the very best country pop music.

Most of the stations which joined Bauer following the acquisitions of Lincs FM, Celador Radio, UKRD and Wireless will rebrand to Greatest Hits Radio from September, and a small number will retain their local branding.

In line with today’s news, Bauer Media has entered into a licensing agreement with Nation Broadcasting that will see three of their radio stations; Sam FM South Coast, KCFM and The Breeze – South Coast, also join the Hits Radio Network. They will continue to broadcast local shows while Bauer will provide additional network programming. In addition, it is envisaged that Bauer will sell national and regional advertising for all stations formally represented by FRS from June 1st.

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