BBC Radio Scotland Passes Million Milestone, says RAJAR

BBC Radio Scotland 'reached' an average audience of in excess of a million listeners during the first three months of this year, according to the latest official listening figures.

Says RAJAR, the station's reach – defined to be at least five minutes listening, by adults, during the course of a week  – was an average 1,045,000 during the first quarter of this year, up 12.2 per cent on the average for the previous three months, when the figures stood at 931,000. This time last year, the reach was an average 955,000, making the year-on-year reach figure for Q1 this year up by 9.4 per cent on 12 months ago.

In terms of the listening time throughout Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland accounted for a share of some 9.2 per cent, up from the Q4 2010 figure of 8.4 per cent; but, as ever, hugely eclipsed by Radio Borders – part of the Bauer Media network of commercial stations – which dominates its locality, to the extent it accounted for 39.1 per cent of available listening time in its transmission area during the first three months of this year.

Says a BBC Scotland statement: “Early analysis of the data suggests the station made gains in the weekday morning schedule. The report also shows that the strong performance was sustained beyond the period of the severe weather at the turn of the year when huge numbers turned to BBC Radio Scotland for the latest twists and turns of one of the biggest stories of the winter.”

The statement quotes BBC Radio Scotland's head, Jeff Zycinski, adding: “We're all delighted by this set of figures…and it looks like listeners have responded well to our new daytime line-up of Gary Robertson, Kaye Adams, Fred MacAulay and John Beattie. To have more than a million listeners every week – a quarter of the adult population in Scotland – is a great privilege and responsibility.”

Hard on the heels of being declared winner of the Small Station of the Year prize at the Sony Radio Awards earlier this week, Central FM will be doubly celebrating, having seen its Q1 2010-Q1 2011 reach leap by some 31.7 per cent; albeit the Q4 2010-Q1 2011 change was a more modest plus-eight per cent.

Elsewhere, Clyde 2 – also part of Bauer – saw its Q1 2010-Q1 2011 reach figure increase by 15.8 per cent (from 221,000 to 256,000) and its Q4 2010-Q1 2011 figure leap by 36.9 per cent, its Q4 2010 listener reach having dipped to 187,000.

This time last year, Capital FM Scotland – then called Galaxy FM Scotland, before a rebranding – enjoyed a 100 per cent increase in its year-on-year reach. Not surprisingly, the surge could not last forever, and this time around the figures are a 17.6 per cent reach increase, year-on-year, and a 2.7 per cent increase in reach between Q4 last year and the first three months of this year.

Significant year-on-year increases were enjoyed by Tay FM (up 31.3 per cent, although the Q4 2010-Q1 2011 increase was a more modest 10.2 per cent), Dundee-based Wave 102 (up 23.1 per cent, though there was no change between Q4 2010 and Q1 2011), Smooth Radio (Glasgow) (up 18.6 per cent, although, again, there was a more modest Q4 2010-Q1 2011 increase, of 6.5 per cent) and 96.3 Rock Radio (up 38 per cent, with the Q4 2010-Q1 2011 figure an increase of 13.1 per cent).

Smooth and Rock are owned by GMG Radio, which also operates Real Radio Scotland. Says a statement from it: “Real Radio is attracting 654,000 adult listeners each week, with listeners tuning in for almost six million hours every week – up almost half a million hours (quarter-on-quarter).

“Smooth Radio has recorded its highest-ever reach for the licence with a record 261,000 adult listeners tuning in each week, an increase of 41,000 (year-on-year)

“Rock Radio has also recorded it highest-ever reach with 69,000 adult listeners tuning in each week, an increase of 19,000 (year-on-year). Listeners clearly love what they hear, with listening to the classic rock station virtually doubling in the last year from 264,000 to 515,000 hours per week.”

The statement additionally quotes Gavin Bruce, managing director for GMG Radio Scotland, saying: “I’m absolutely delighted all three brands at GMG Radio Scotland have made positive strides forward. For 30 per cent of all listeners across the Central Belt to be tuning into one of our stations is fantastic and is recognition of our continued effort to provide the very best radio stations in Scotland.”

Meanwhile, Northsound 2 didn't fare so well, however, with its year-on-reach down by 20.8 per cent and its Q4 2010-Q1 2011 reach also down, by an albeit less bruising 2.3 per cent. Sister station, Tay AM saw its year-on-year reach fall by 9.1 per cent, and its quarter-on-quarter reach drop by 11.4 per cent.

Northsound is also part of the Bauer Media network, which, overall in Scotland, saw its year-on-year reach increase by 0.5 per cent and its Q4 2010-Q1 2011 reach also increase, by 1.1 per cent – translating in terms of share during the first three months of this year to an average 18.9 per cent, down slightly on the average 20.2 per cent during the first quarter of last year. 

Says a statement from Bauer Media Scotland: “[We have] underlined [our] leading position in the Scottish radio market. The media giants, Radio Clyde and Radio Forth, dominate the Central Belt airwaves increasing to over one million listeners per week.

“Bauer Radio Scotland has an overall weekly audience of 1.7 million listeners according to the latest RAJAR audience figures. This is a reach of 42 per cent of the available radio listening audience.

“Bauer Media Scotland stations have the number one commercial breakfast shows in each of their markets. All of these stations are also overall number one in these markets.

“Other Bauer Media RAJAR highlights across Scotland include:

“Forth 1 is the market leader with an increased weekly reach of 299,000. Its breakfast show, Boogie in the Morning, leads listening in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife with a market share of 18.5 per cent.

“Clyde 1 increases its weekly reach to 579,000 and Superscoreboard, broadcasting weeknights (6pm-8pm), commands a market share of 18.1 per cent, retaining its position as number one for football in Glasgow and the West.

“Tay FM now has 130,000 listeners every week, reporting a year-on-year increase of a massive 31 per cent which is its highest figure in six years.

“West Sound including West FM has shown increases in both reach and hours, wave-on-wave.

“Radio Borders remains officially the UK's number one radio station for reach at 58 per cent and market share at 39.1 per cent. It reports an audience of 61,300 listeners each week an 11.4 per cent increase year-on-year.

“Moray Firth Radio remains the dominant station in Inverness, Moray and parts of the North-East reaching 51 per cent of people each week, which is a huge 14 points ahead of its nearest competitor.

“In Aberdeen, Northsound 1 increases its reach to 131,000, placing it number one in its market place and reaching 42 per cent of the available radio listening audience in its transmission area (TSA).

“Bauer Scotland’s AM portfolio of stations increased in reach by ten per cent and now has an audience of 469,000 listeners each week combined across all stations TSAs. Total hours show a six per cent improvement, wave-on-wave.

“Clyde 2 has reached its highest point since 2007, with 256,000 listeners each week.

“Forth 2’s mid-morning show delivers an amazing increase in total listening hours jumping from 69,000 to 202,000, which is an increase of 193 per cent.

“Northsound 2 and Tay AM are both also showing signs of steady growth with slight increases in reach and hours across various shows.”

The statement goes on to quote Graham Bryce, managing director of Scotland Radio at Bauer Media, saying: “It’s fantastic news that we reach over one million listeners in the Central Belt every week. Bauer Media Scotland's strategy of focusing on the local market is paying dividends despite a highly competitive market place.

“In particular, the revitalisation of Clyde 1 has been a massive success. Localness and audience engagement is our key focus and is proving the right strategy for audiences and commercial partners alike with 21,000 extra listeners tuning in every week.

“At a time when many other commercial radio stations are turning increasingly to networked content, we’ve made a conscious decision to continue to listen to our audience feedback and as result we remain committed to delivering local content for local listeners. We actively encourage an open dialogue with our listeners to ensure we deliver the most influential and relevant content they want to hear and we’re confident this approach will further increase brand loyalty.

“Our ongoing success can be attributed to our professional teams across the network who have an in-depth understand our local station audiences and connect and interact with them on and off air through multi-platform channels.

“Bauer Media is continuing to lead the radio market with its existing portfolio of established and respected radio stations. We remain focused on creating truly integrated stations that positively entertain, inspire, interact and engage with audiences.”

Says another statement, this time issued by Wave 102 managing director, Adam Findlay: “Wave 102 has posted a 23.8 per cent year-on-year audience increase in the latest listening figures as reported by national measurement body, RAJAR.

“The Dundee station which set its stall out over three years ago as a 100 per cent locally-run and controlled radio station has shown steady annual increases over this time.”

The statement quotes programme controller, Alistair Smith, saying: “I am very pleased to see such healthy year-on-year growth figures. We have made a commitment to unashamedly super-serve the local people of Dundee a blend of big hit music ranging from the '60s right through to contemporary big hits – but we pay as much attention to the ‘bits’ between the music that makes us 100 per cent locally, all broadcast out of our HQ in South Tay Street.”

Continues the statement: “Our sister station in Aberdeen, Original 106, posted very healthy year-on-year growth figures as well, showing a 15.7 per increase in total listening hours giving them a new record high of 45,000 listeners tuning in every week since its launch four years ago.”

Programme controller, Neil Weightman, is quoted, saying: “Original 106 is truly a unique station in Scotland with an album-led music format whilst remaining 100 per cent locally focused to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. We’d like to thank all our listeners for keeping it local and choosing us.”

Adds Findlay: “Both stations have shown very healthy audiences gains over the past year showing our strategy of serving the local population a diet of great music mixed with local content is still very popular. We’re delighted with these results.”