RAJAR Q4 2019: Commercial Digital Stations Appeal To More Than Just Younger Audiences

Feb 2020  RadioWorks Blog

rajar q4 2019

Here are the radio listening headlines from the RAJAR Q4 2019 release. All statistics are for weekly listening unless otherwise stated.

2019 demonstrates all listeners embracing digital, with mature audiences posting strong digital listening. 62% of Commercial Radio listening now comes from digital devices, boosting digital-only stations that appeal to mature audiences such as Jazz, talkRADIO and Virgin Radio, all of which have posted impressive results. These increases indicate that digital commercial stations cater to more than just younger audiences. Additionally, today’s Rajar results mirror the latest 2019 Winter Midas report showing DAB listening is strongest with 55+ adults.


There has been no change in the top 3 National Commercial stations ranking since last quarter. Heart Breakfast remains the number one National Commercial Breakfast station with 4.3M weekly listeners. They’re followed by Capital with 3.4M weekly listeners and Absolute 2.3M weekly listeners. That said, Chris Evans posted yet another successful quarter with 1.2M weekly listeners. We look forward to next quarter which marks our first chance for year on year analysis of his Virgin show.

Roman Kemp’s stint on the hit TV show I’m a Celebrity has propelled him back to number one in London. Now reaching 950K weekly listeners, Roman returns from the Jungle with nearly a quarter of a million new listeners (+34% Quarter on Quarter). Bouncing back to the number 2 spot is KISS breakfast posting 795K weekly listeners in the capital. Excellent news for the station as it reflects a 51% growth quarter on quarter. The station recently hired a new Content Director Rebecca Frank, indicating more exciting developments to the KISS brand. Q3’s London Breakfast leader LBC is down slightly this quarter to third with 765K weekly listeners. Nevertheless, they’ve still seen impressive year on year growth (+8%).


Networked stations remain strong, despite several seeing a dip this quarter; Heart Brand 9.5M, Capital Brand 7.6M, Hits Brand 6.7M, Smooth Brand 5.6M, Kiss Network 5.3M, Absolute Radio Network 4.9M, Magic Network 4.2M and Virgin Radio 1.5M listeners.

Digital Listening

Digital through a DAB, DTV, Online or App has grown its share of listening to 58.5% (up 9.3% year on year), while reaching 66% of UK adults each week.

As mentioned previously, Commercial listening share is stronger on Digital Platforms with 62% vs. the BBC’s 56%.

This quarter has seen the first set of figures for several new Digital only stations. The strongest of which was Heart 90’s which achieved 627K weekly listeners in its first quarter. Putting this new brand in a strong position to go up against Absolute 90s (851K).

Listeners demonstrated a strong interest in Country Music with Smooth Country debuting with 204K weekly listeners. This follows Bauer’s Country Hit’s radio solidifying their top spot in the genre with 247K weekly listeners (+6% quarter on quarter).

Kisstory remains the number one Commercial Digital only station with 2.2M weekly listeners. A dip in their weekly figures has allowed BBC’s 6 Music to reclaim the overall most listened Digital Only station.


Outside London, Manchester’s Hits Radio has achieved quarterly growth, now reaching 264K weekly listeners. The new breakfast show of Fleur East, Greg and James, is finding its legs with 7% growth (quarter on quarter).

Capital’s new acquisition of Quidem and subsequent re-brand as Capital Mid Counties has delivered 96k weekly listeners in their first Rajar.

The oldest regional commercial station, Clyde 1 finishes 2019 on a high with a 15% year on year increase (628K adults weekly).


Looking at how we listen, 28% of adults tune in via a mobile phone or tablet once a month. Five years ago, 15-24 year olds listened on mobile and tablet nearly twice as much as listeners over 25, but that gap is now less than 5% as digital listening becomes more accessible.

In an average week, 59% of all adults listen at home, 25% in car (or other modes of transport) and 16% listen at work or elsewhere. Location listening has not shifted since last quarter.




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