Radio Listening Surge Begins to Level for Galaxy

A recent surge in the reach of commercial radio station, Galaxy Scotland, has begun to level off, according to the latest official listening figures.

Says RAJAR, the reach of the station – 'reach' measured by a person aged over 15 tuning in for at least five minutes per day – might have been a staggering 105.3 per cent between April-June last year and the same three months this year, but between the first three months of this year and the second, the increase was a still impressive, but nevertheless more modest, 9.7 per cent.

Nevertheless, the station was still in cheerful mood, its programme controller – Stuart Barrie – declaring, in a statement: “The whole team is delighted with these fantastic new RAJAR results. We remain committed to building on this growth and success and delivering the number one station for 20-somethings in Scotland.”

Added the statement: “429,000 people are now tuning in to Galaxy, representing an increase of 38,000 people (9.7 per cent) quarter on quarter and 220,000 (105 per cent) year-on-year. Listeners are also displaying their loyalty to the station by listening for a total of 3,188,000 hours each week, showing an increase of 1,787,000 hours (127 per cent) year-on-year.

“The Breakfast Show with Des and Vanessa has also gone from strength to strength with an increase of 15,000 people (seven per cent) quarter-on-quarter, up to 230,000 people.”

Elswehere, there were big reach increases, between Q2 last year and Q2 this year for Central FM (25.6 per cent), Clyde 2 41.1 per cent), Smooth (12.8 per cent) and 96.3 Rock Radio (17.4 per cent), reflected in increases between Q1 this year and three months later: 19.5 per cent, 14.9 per cent, 11.8 per cent and eight per cent, respectively.

For BBC Radio Scotland, it was a mixed bag. Its average reach may have increased from 955,000 to 966,000 between Q1 and Q2 this year (ie up  1.2 per cent), but its share of its available audience was down over the same period, from 8.1 per cent to 7.8 per cent.

Between March and the end of June, there was the General Election, the start of Wimbledon and the early stages of the World Cup in South Africa.

Said BBC Scotland, in a statement: “For BBC Radio Scotland the overall position is stable but with an upward direction of travel in reach terms: the bottom line is that we now record 966,000 listeners every week, that's 11,000 more than last quarter and 21,000 more than the equivalent period last year.”

Jeff Zycinski, Head of BBC Radio Scotland, is quoted, saying: “These are a positive set of figures for BBC Radio Scotland with our numbers up quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. It was a very busy period for everyone at the station, but especially our news teams covering the General Election. The period also covered the end of the Scottish football season and it’s good to see that listeners were still enjoying our Sportsound programme just as much as the Radio Academy judges who awarded it a Sony Gold back in May.”

While the figures for Clyde 2 were up, for sister station Clyde 1, it was falls all round. Year-on-year, the percentage reach figure was down 11.5 (from 599,000 to 530,000) while its Q1-Q2 reach was down 6.9 per cent.

Other big fallers were Northsound One (16.1 per cent, year-on-year, and 5.7 per cent Q1 v Q2), Northsound Two  (7.7 per cent, year-on-year, 9.4 per cent Q1 v Q2) and Clyde 1 (11.5 per cent, year-on-year, 6.9 per cent Q1 v Q2).

Northsound, Clyde and Forth are among the network of Scottish radio stations owned by Bauer Media, which, across Scotland, saw its year-on-year percentage rise by 0.8 per cent and its Q1 v Q2 percentage drop 0.1 per cent. Its central Scotland-only stations collectively fared not quite as well: down 5.2 per cent, year-on-year, and down 1.4 per cent, Q1 v Q2.

In a statement, Bauer said: “The company has more listening hours than BBC Radio 1 and 2 combined in Scotland and reaches 1.8 million listeners each week – 41 per cent of the population.

“The network’s AM stations have also shown a stellar performance with Clyde 2 in particular increasing its reach by 15 per cent in the last quarter.

“Each of the stations in Scotland claim the number one spot for reach and number one for breakfast in the commercial arena underlining the network’s commitment to retaining a close connection with its local audiences.

“Radio Borders leads the UK with a phenomenal 56 per cent reach, testament again to the station and network’s relationship and understanding with its consumers, and ongoing commitment to delivering relevant and engaging content.

“West Sound added audience and reported its highest listenership for five years and Forth One remains number one station overall adding another 3000 listeners.”

Bauer Radio Scotland's managing director, Graham Bryce, is quoted, saying: “This is a really strong performance from the company as a whole in what is a tough market. Our teams across the country work incredibly hard to ensure we bring the best programming to our listeners and the fact that we are reaching 41 per cent of the population in these communities is fantastic. The key to our success is all of our teams really understand their station audiences and connect with them on and off air.

“I’m delighted that we are number one for reach in every market and still also boast the number one commercial breakfast show in all areas which is a real testament to the talent, local personalities and local connections we have.”