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Rajar Q2 2016: Commercial radio comes out on top

Rajar’s Q2 radio listening figures provide a rosy outlook for the commercial sector. After falling behind in Q1, commercial radio has beaten the BBC in terms of listening, with 35.57 million listeners (vs. 35.07 for BBC stations). That’s a 2.72% increase year-on-year and 942,000 additional listeners. Attributing to the overall success was talkSPORT, which had its second highest result to date with 3.3 million weekly listeners (likely a result of Euro 2016) as well as the launch of new stations Virgin Radio, talkRADIO and talkSPORT2.

Other highlights include:

  • Capital had the highest commercial reach in London; average weekly audience of 2.27m
  • The Rickie, Melvin and Charlie Breakfast Show on KISS is the largest national breakfast show
  • 45% of all radio listening is via a digital platform
  • 27% of adults listening via a mobile phone or tablet at least once per month
  • Even higher amongst 15-24 year olds with 39% of listening via mobile or tablet

All Response Media Viewpoint

We may love the BBC, but there’s no doubt this is better news for advertisers. With commercial listening figures on the rise, there are more radio impacts up for grabs. Radio can often get overlooked or dismissed by brands worried about measurement or how to convey their message effectively without visuals. But with the right script, radio is proven to work for brand and DR clients and can be optimised by station, region, audience demographic and daypart, as you can with TV.

It’s also possible to attribute radio activity to uplift in web traffic or orders through the use of response analysis systems such as ARMalytics. Text or offer codes are another popular measurement tool. RAJAR’s latest figures indicate that the commercial radio sector is strong and growing – currently reaching 90% of the UK adult population every week and nearly catching up to TV which stands at 93.5%. The average radio listener is tuning into 21.5 hours of live radio each week, so there’s no denying the opportunity for advertisers looking to support or scale their current strategy.