New RAJAR listening data confirms predominance of digital radio platforms

  • Digital listening surges to 65.8% of all radio listening
  • DAB now the predominant platform for radio listening accounting for 43% of all listening compared to 34.2% for AM/FM
  • New digital stations deliver strong performances
  • Digital listening now accounts for the majority of in car listening at 53%

Digital listening has surged past 60% to now account for 65.8% – or almost two-thirds – of all radio listening, according to new data for Q3 2021 released by RAJAR today (28 October 2021). The data release marks RAJAR’s return to publication with a new modified methodology having been suspended for 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the new data, listening via DAB is now the most popular means of all radio listening accounting for 43% of all listening (and 65% of digital listening), exceeding listening via AM/FM which accounts for 34.2% of listening. Listening via online and apps accounts for 18.1% of all listening (and 27.5% of digital listening) and listening via DTV accounts for 4.7% of all listening (and 7.2% of digital listening).

The new data shows that 41 million adults, or 74% of the population aged 15+, now tune into digital radio every week, and 69% claim to own or have access to a DAB radio.

The strong performance of digital platforms has been boosted by the launch of a number of new digital stations in the last 18 months, which receive their first RAJAR results today,  including Times Radio with a reach of 637,000 listeners; Capital DANCE with a reach of 287,000 listeners; and Boom Radio with a reach of 233,000 listeners.

These stations join a host of established digital-only stations which continue to perform strongly, including the most popular digital-only station BBC 6 Music with 2.687 million listeners, and KISSTORY, the most popular commercial digital-only station, with 2.255 million listeners.  BBC Radio 4 Extra is the third most popular with 2.036 million listeners, followed by BBC Radio 5 live sports extra with 1.697 million listeners. Other stations in the top 10 most popular digital-only station include Absolute 80s (1.690 million listeners); Virgin Radio (1.631 million listeners); and Heart 80s (1.493 million listeners).

Digital listening in car now accounts for 53% of all in car listening, with DAB in car accounting for 46.6% of listening (compared to AM/FM’s 47%) and online/apps listening in car accounting for 6.4% of all in car listening – an indication that more drivers are now listening to radio in car via app using their smartphone.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: ‘’The new RAJAR listening data for Q3 2021 confirms the importance of digital listening and digital platforms which now account for two thirds of all radio listening. It’s funny to consider that some radio industry commentators used to question the viability of DAB which is now comfortably the predominant radio platform accounting for 25% more hours of listening than FM and AM combined.  It’s good to see the new distinctive digital-only stations launched during the pandemic finding audiences and supporting digital growth.”