RAJAR Q1 2020: The headlines from the RadioWorks Group

May 2020  RadioWorks Blog

rajar q1 2020, headlines, results

RAJAR Q1 2020: Commercial radio and digital listening rise again, while local listening thrives | LBC reclaims London Breakfast Show title

Here are the radio listening headlines from RAJAR Q1 2020. All statistics are for weekly listening unless otherwise stated.

Commercial radio remains ahead of the BBC yet again with 36.3m (66%) weekly listeners, which is up from the previous year and quarter. As the survey period predates the lockdown, the current effects of Covid-19 have not been reflected in these results, however there is still a lot to celebrate.

The theme this quarter? Resilience.

As we look back on the decade, you can’t help but notice commercial radio’s resilience as it maintains a stable yet sturdy position throughout the years. With device led consumption on the rise and local listening shining through, listeners have more access to radio and its diverse content than ever before thanks to the industry’s willingness to transform and innovate.


Digital listening continues to grow. Share overall now sits at a record 58.6% with 67% tuning in via DAB, DTV, Online or App every week.

Looking at commercial radio, Digital listening share remains stronger than the BBC’s with 61.6% vs 55.9% respectively.

Although slightly down, KISSTORY is still the number one commercial digital-only station in the UK with 2.06m weekly listeners. Other digital-only stations remain strong as we’ve seen with Absolute 80s (1.5m) and Heart 80s (1.2m).

Connected Devices

Focussing on connected devices, RAJAR Q1 2020 results show significant consecutive growth in online and app listening. Share has grown from 11 to 14% year-on-year. Reach has also risen (26.4%), which is up from 24.5% last quarter and 23% in 2019. With the proliferation of devices and tech, we can assume that this number will continue to climb over the coming months.


Network breakfast

Unsurprisingly, Heart Breakfast maintains its number one position nationally with 4.1m weekly listeners. Capital is the second largest breakfast show in the UK, reaching 3.3m, followed by Absolute Radio with 2.2m.

London breakfast

In the London Breakfast battle, LBC has had yet another successful quarter, bagging 805k weekly listeners – an impressive increase year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter. Heart marginally surpasses Capital (781k) for second place with 793k, followed by Magic (610k).


Here are the UK’s top commercial network stations:

  • Heart Brand – 9.4m
  • Capital Brand – 7.5m
  • Hits Radio Brand – 6.6m
  • Smooth Brand – 5.7m
  • Kiss Network – 5.1m
  • Absolute Radio Network – 4.7m
  • Magic Network – 4.1m
  • Virgin Radio Brand – 1.5m


Looking specifically at local and independent stations – overall, local is up! This will be pleasing to Bauer having completed its acquisitions of various local stations in the UK. Here are the highlights:

  • Smooth Radio North West maintains its number one spot in the regions outside of London with 1m weekly listeners.
  • XS Manchester has grown its reach to 132k from 115k, a positive boost to the brand following Ofcom’s decision to reject the request for a format change.
  • Hallam – 379k (17% growth quarter-on-quarter)
  • Sunrise Radio – 372k (up from 318k)
  • Nation Radio Wales – 171k (up from 155k)
  • Premier Christian Radio – 121k (up almost 16% quarter-on-quarter)
  • Wish FM – 61k (up from 50k)
  • Radio City Talk signs off with 32k weekly listeners (up by 10% from last quarter)



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