This week sees the publication of the listening figures for UK Radio. Rajar is jointed owned by commercial radio and the BBC and gathers the listening figures, the currency of listening for the industry.
Stations will get the figures at 10:30am on Wednesday morning, with the publication at 00:01 on Thursday morning. It has become a flurry, an extremely busy period in any station with analysis taking place from 10:30 onwards to get the overall story of the release- what is the headline? I’ve posted previously on the frantic and busy nature of the job at hand.
The mainstream radio press and general media will have very little attention space for the release. You just might see a post about something to do with overall national numbers for Radio 2, or Greg James on Radio 1. Some might even try and pull out some story about how Ken Bruce leaving Radio 2 has shown x, y or z. As I have posted before, those actual numbers won’t be evident until later- so those stories are probably inaccurate or at least premature.
The untold story of Rajar, irrespective of the individual movements in radio station numbers, is the overwhelmingly consistent power of the medium. Radio listening is truly massive. Its the untold story and ignored by everyone by and large.
The hours listened to radio, ALL RADIO has moved very little as you can see from the graph. Over ONE BILLION hours listened to radio in a week, every week over the last year. That number might be news to you- its part of the untold story of Rajar. EIGHTY NINE PERCENT of the UK population listen to the radio in a week. 89% in a week!
Sure radio has declined in its number of listeners- you have often heard the story of streaming growth, smart speakers, internet, downloads etc etc. Ten years ago after all in December 2012 All Radio reach was NINETY PERCENT. Yes that’s right in 10 whole years All Radio has dropped a massive 1 percentage point. In actual numbers though surely its more telling I hear you say- don’t hide behind percentages. Ten years ago in Dec 2012 Wave 4 release All Radio reached just over 47 million people in total in a week. In the most recent release prior to this week (Wave 4 2022), All Radio reached nearly 50 million people a week (49.6m). Radio appears to be dying upwards!
The untold story of radio? It is massive and continues to be massive. It doesn’t mean it should be complacent, but the news of its death appears to be a tad premature. Yes it should evolve to survive, and it has been doing. Radio is relevant, present and important. Remember when you read stories of how radio is being overtaken, the stories are written by “non-radio entities” who wish they had the influence and impact that radio has. It’s in their interest to make radio smaller not shout about how big it is.
Good luck to all my friends, former colleagues and passing acquaintances this week with the latest release. I hope the Rajar God is good to you and all those you hold dear. Just like buses, there will be another release along in 3 months so even if its not pretty this time, it will be temporary.
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