Latest figures reveal how pandemic shaped UK radio listening habits

Latest figures reveal how pandemic shaped UK radio listening habits

Radio, Radio İndustry

10/28/2021 2:07:00 AM

Latest figures reveal how pandemic shaped UK radio listening habits

First figures since 2020 show boom in speech radio but public loses appetite for music breakfast shows

Although moments such as talkRadio host Mike Graham berating Insulate Britain activists and arguing overcan reach millions of people on social media, the main station is still only listened to by 450,000 people a week.While Murdoch’sNews UKdoes not break down the financial performance of individual stations, the high start-up costs and lack of traditional adverts means Times Radio is likely to be running at a loss, with it considered to be partly a marketing expense for subscriptions to its namesake newspaper.

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The release of the audience figures – produced by the industry organisation Rajar – has been long awaited in the radio business. Stations have rushed to emphasise that a new methodology for the survey of listening habits means the figures are not comparable with pre-pandemic data.

One of the changes has been to introduce a technique where members of the public allow their phone microphone to be used to constantly check whether they are listening to a radio station, similar to an automated version of the popular Shazam music recognition app.

However, even taking the measurement changes into account, there are signs of difficulties for some high-profile music radio breakfast shows. There has been speculation that listening habits may have changed due to the increase in the numbers of people working from home rather than listening to the radio in their cars on their commute, as well as the ubiquity of music streaming.

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Radio 2’sZoe Ballprogramme is now reaching 7.2 million people a week, down from 7.9 million people in the equivalent time period for 2019. At the same time Radio 1’s Greg James, Virgin Radio’s Chris Evans, and Magic’s Ronan Keating and Harriet Scott all saw falls in the audiences for their breakfast shows.

Meanwhile, theBBChas seen growth in the combined audience for the corporation’s local and regional stations, which jumped enormously to 9.2m weekly listeners – compared with 7.4m in the equivalent pre-pandemic time period.As expected, the figures also point to a massive shift to listening to the radio via online streams on mobile phones and smart speakers such as devices running Amazon’s Alexa.

Read more: The Guardian »

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