RAJAR’s Q1 2022 results, published across the radio industry, made for happy reading.

  • It was a record across commercial radio, with over 37M listening weekly.
  • Combined listening with the BBC was the biggest ever across all UK radio.
  • It was also record-breaking across our Wireless brands, with almost 6.5M listeners tuning in for over 40M hours weekly.

Listening skews digital

In terms of platform, we’ve seen a natural increase in digital listening, which now accounts for over two thirds of all radio listening hours.

This increases to 89% amongst Wireless national stations.

Over 2 in 10 of all Wireless national hours are internet-based, and 12% via smart speakers – significantly higher than the market average. This enables us to understand our audiences in more detail, as well as opening up commercial opportunities.

When we look at average hours by device, smart speakers do the best, contributing to average hours of 11.5 per listener across all radio, highlighting the importance of the device in holding attention.

Age profile is changing

Across specific stations, youth brands such as Radio 1, Kiss and Capital saw their all-time lowest listeners.

15-34’s are still listening to the radio, although not as much, hinting they’re listening to a smaller set of stations, as well as consuming other media channels.

For stations like Capital, this seems to have resulted in a programming switch with the addition of older songs.

Breakfast is back

When we look at how listening patterns have changed and how they have changed post pandemic, we’ve seen a more recent increase in the breakfast peak of listening across radio overall.

This may indicate school runs and commuting patterns are returning slightly.

But mid-morning (10-1pm) remains a key slot, especially for speech radio. James O’Brien continues to have a higher audience vs Nick Ferrari on LBC, for example.

Driven by news

Overall, and in summary, it was a highly successful set of results for Wireless.

As the news agenda continues to be a focus for more and more people, listeners are turning to brands they trust for analysis.

  • TalkRadio continues to be the home of popular opinion, achieving its 9th consecutive period of growth.
  • Times Radio now reaches over 700k listeners weekly, delivering award winning and authoritative analysis from the Times brand, and attracting 74% ABC1 profile.
  • The talkSPORT network’s reach increased by 5.4% to 3.3m listeners, with listening hours up 3.2% to 18.2m, driven by exclusive GameDay coverage.
  • And across Virgin Radio, Chris Evans and Graham Norton continue to attract high profile guests, helping contribute to over 2M listeners across the Virgin Network.

As we look forward, listening behaviour will continue to naturally change, although we are well placed to take advantage of this, as well as the amplifier effect of utilising radio alongside print and digital.