RAJAR Q2 2019: Commercial Radio remains ahead of the BBC for the tenth time in a row…

Aug 2019  RadioWorks Blog

RAJAR Q2 2019

Here are the radio listening headlines from the RAJAR Q2 2019 release. All statistics are for weekly listening unless otherwise stated.

48.8m (89%) adults listen to radio every week, and 66% of adults listen to Commercial Radio.

Commercial Radio is up again and ahead of the BBC for the tenth consecutive quarter, now reaching 36.1m people every week. The BBC’s figures remain stable this quarter, with a weekly reach of 34m.


The networked stations have remained strong, posting high listening figures well into the millions.

  • Heart Brand 9.72m
  • Capital Brand 8.23m
  • Hits Brand 6.49m
  • Smooth Brand 5.75m
  • Kiss Network 5.38m
  • Absolute Radio Network 4.74m
  • Magic Network 4.12m.

Virgin Radio continues to grow following the arrival of Chris Evans, with a respectable 1.55m listeners.

In the national Breakfast Show battle, Capital’s Roman Kemp finishes first with a weekly reach of 3.8m – a great start for the newly networked show. This is followed by Absolute Radio’s Dave Berry Breakfast Show (2.2m) and Kiss Breakfast (1.9m).

Capital Breakfast remains London’s No.1 Commercial Radio station, hitting 1m weekly listeners. Tom and Daisy continue to grow Kiss Breakfast after launching their new show. The pair are now reaching 764k weekly listeners which is closely followed by Nick Ferrari’s Breakfast Show on LBC (755k).

Capital is still the biggest station in London with 1.83m listeners which is up quarter-on-quarter and Kiss is back at No.2 with a weekly reach of 1.58m.

The first set of results for Classical Music station Scala Radio have shown great promise. The new arrival has performed well with a weekly reach of 258k listeners. New Country Music station ‘Country Hits Radio’ posted an equally as impressive set of results with 208k weekly listeners.

Digital Listening

Digital listening continues to post steady figures with 66% of adults tuning in to Digital Radio (through a DAB, DTV, Online or App) every week.

RAJAR Q2 2019 results show significant growth in online and app listening, posting a weekly reach of 24.5%. This is up from 23% last quarter and 19.6% year-on-year.

Focusing on Commercial Radio, Digital listening share remains stronger than the BBC’s with 58.5% vs 53.6% respectively.

Kisstory has overtaken BBC 6 Music and is now the largest Digital-only station in the UK with 2.3m listeners. Digital-only stations stay strong with Absolute 80s hitting 1.8m and Heart 80s 1.5m. With these promising results, we’re keen to see how this bodes for Heart’s newest Digital-only station ‘Heart Dance’.

Looking at how we listen, 28% of adults continue to listen to radio via a mobile phone or tablet once a month. This remains up year-on-year.

In an average week, 69% of all adults listen at home, 64% in car (or other modes of transport) and 25% listen at work or elsewhere.

Craig Eastwood, Head of Planning at RadioWorks Group commented: We’re delighted to see yet another strong result for Commercial Radio as it remains ahead of the BBC on reach for the 10th consecutive quarter. Keeping with the BBC theme, a special mention must go to Kisstory as it overtakes 6 Music as the largest DAB station in the country – a huge milestone for commercial Digital Radio.

It is the first RAJAR for Scala, Country Hits and Capital’s newly networked breakfast show. The latter now reaches 3.8 million weekly listeners and has become the biggest show on commercial radio. With Heart following suit, it will be interesting to see how well Heart performs next quarter. Virgin’s audience has continued to grow over the last 3 months thanks to the Chris Evans effect. The success of bringing BBC listeners across to the station is a huge testament to the unique programming and the accommodating nature of the Sky partnership who are reaping the rewards.

For the first time, the RAJAR results include smart speaker ownership. 26% of adults have welcomed Alexa, Cortana or Siri to their homes and 94% use them to listen to the radio. With this trend set to continue at speed, we are predicting growth in bespoke campaigns targeting smart speaker users, making audio advertising more interactive than ever.


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