Listener Numbers Down at Most Stations

There being not much sun about to enjoy going outside and listening to the radio, the majority of Scottish radio stations saw dips in their listenership numbers between the beginning of March and the end of June – compared to the previous three months.

In the case of BBC Radio Scotland, it’s share of the audience fell from 8.9 per during the first quarter of the year to eight per cent during the second will have also been partly caused by the Scottish football season – which it covers extensively and to big audiences – ending mid-way through the latter.

According to the latest RAJAR figures, though, the stations to buck the trend include the two Radio Forth stations and the two Northsound ones. ForthOne commanded a 12.9 per cent share of its available audience – up from 12.4 per cent the previous quarter – while Forth2’s audience share was up from 3.4 per cent in Q1 to 4.2 per cent the next.

Meanwhile, Northsound One’s percentage share of its available audience increased from 18.9 in Q1 to 20.4 in Q2, while Northsound Two’s percentage share rose from 6.5 to 7.5 over the quarters.

However, programme director, Mike Graham, at speech-only station, talk107, will be disappointed, if not devastated, that a recent marketing campaign and impressive presenter appointments are not being wholly reflected in the figures.

Its share of its listening audience – in Edinburgh, Fife and Lothians – is down from 1.2 per cent in Q1 to 0.8 this last one. A crumb of comfort is that, compared to this time last year, its reach – when someone tunes in for at least five minutes a week – is up 62 per cent.

Elsewhere, GMG’s Real Radio Scotland was celebrating what it describes as “spectacular” year-on-year increase of 48,000 listeners – up to a record 771,000 – with the average listener now tuning in for 11.9 hours each per week. Market share has gone up to 18.6 per cent of the total listening audience – another all time best for the station.

GMG also operates Smooth Radio in Glasgow and 96.3 Rock Radio. In a press statement, it said: “Meanwhile, the newly rebranded Smooth Radio in Greater Glasgow (Saga 105.2 FM relaunched as Smooth Radio on March 26) is showing early signs that listeners love what they hear after recording steady growth in audience. Its weekly reach now stands at 192,000 adult listeners, an increase of 7000, quarter on quarter. And it’s a Rocking success over at 96.3 Rock Radio – Scotland’s first classic rock station – with 51,000 adults now tuning into the station each week. Music from the likes of U2, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and ACDC has encouraged listeners to tune in for an extra 27,000 hours a week taking its weekly total listening hours to 318,000.” It’s percentage share over the quarters had, however, dropped, from 2.4 to 2.1.

Back at the BBC, BBC Radio Scotland’s online offering continues to be performing well, with The Iain Anderson Show continuing to receive the most ‘listen again’ requests – with 68,592 in Q2. But Radio Two is now the station with the largest number of listeners in Scotland with a reach of 925,000 (21.7 per cent), though its actual performance is down both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. Hours of
listening to Radio 2 rose to 12.2hrs, a quarterly and yearly increase.

Head of BBC Radio Scotland, Jeff Zycinski, says the new studios at Pacific Quay in Glasgow and new technology at all BBC production centres in Scotland will open up new possibilities for listeners.

He said: “Our state of the art music and drama studios will allow us to offer some really exciting things. We’re already in pre-production with our play-of-the-month series and we’ll be inviting audiences to join us for many more live music sessions. We are currently developing further ideas for news, history, comedy and arts programming.”

And at the only UK-wide commercial pop and rock music station, Virgin – owned by SMG and being put up for sale – there was the good news of highest reach in three years. Said a press statement: “The latest RAJAR figures reveal a strong performance for Virgin Radio, both nationally and in London, across reach and hours. Nationally, Virgin Radio has achieved its highest reach in three years, up year-on-year from 2,338,000 to 2,534,000 (8.4 per cent) and up quarter-on-quarter from 2,449,000 to 2,534,000 (3.5 per cent).”

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