BBC Scotland suffers radio figures drop

BBC Radio Scotland was one of the notable fallers in the latest set of radio listening figures, suffering a near ten per cent drop in its listening numbers between the beginning of July and the end of September.

According to RAJAR – whose figures are out this morning – the station’s reach across the quarter-year fell by 9.9 per cent.

And the reason, says the station was a relative lack of football.

“Our live football coverage is a strong part of our output and this quarter included several weeks of the pre-season which may have been a factor in the dip,” said a spokesperson, who added: “Our extended deal with the SPL to provide live commentaries will prove to be a big boost for armchair fans going forward. This season is already shaping up to be an exciting one and BBC Radio Scotland will be bringing unrivalled live coverage as the campaign unfolds.”

The spokesperson continued: “We have settled into our new home and are looking forward to increasingly significantly our output of original features, comedy and drama and bringing more live music from Pacific Quay over the coming months.”

Compared to the beginning of July and the end of September last year, the quarter reach figure was down 12.8 per cent.

‘Reach’ is measured by the number of people (adults 15+) in the UK who listened to a radio station for at least five minutes in the course of an average week during the quarter.

But BBC Radio Scotland wasn’t the only Scottish station to see its reach percentage drop over the quarter, with Kingdom FM falling by 13.7 per cent, Northsound One by 7.5 per cent, XFM Scotland by 9.8 per cent (caused by an 11.5 per cent drop in XFM Scotland (West) as opposed to a 0.7 per cent drop in XFM Scotland (East)), and Wave 102 FM by 7.4 per cent.

And among the substantial reach risers, there was ForthOne (7.7 per cent), 96.3 Rock Radio (9.8 per cent), Radio Borders (5.6 per cent) and Real Radio Scotland (4.9 per cent).

Meanwhile, Tay FM enjoyed a massive leap, up 18.3 per cent. In a similar vein, Edinburgh-based speech station, talk107, experienced a 11.5 per cent increase in its reach – albeit from a low base of 26,000 adult listeners tuning in for an average five minutes, to 29,000.

By comparison, BBC Radio Scotland’s drop this last quarter was from 909,000 listeners to 819,000.

And Real Radio Scotland’s increase was from 771,000 up to 809,000, prompting it to say in a statement: “Real Radio Scotland is celebrating today after achieving an unrivalled 31 per cent reach for UK regional commercial radio across the Central Belt listening market.

“According to the latest audience research the station now attracts a record 809,000 adult listeners each week – an increase of 73,000 year on year. The average listener now tunes in for 12.1 hours each per week providing Real Radio with almost ten million hours of listening per week (9.8 million) – which would all but equal that of London’s 95.8 Capital FM.”

The statement continues: “For the first time, Real Radio is now Glasgow’s outright most popular station attracting 568,000 adult listeners per week against Clyde 1 FM’s 564,000.

“Across the Central Belt, between 6-9 am Robin and Cat’s weekday breakfast show attracts 506,000 listeners, representing 19 per cent of all adults. This is the first time Real Radio’s breakfast show has reached over half a million adult listeners per week.”

Along with its sister station’s Smooth Radio and Rock Radio, the three GMG Radio owned stations north of the border now command almost a quarter of all listening across the Central Belt. Since GMG Radio purchased Scot FM six years ago and rebranded it as Real Radio, the station has seen the audience double and listening hours and market share quadruple.

Says Jay Crawford, programme director for GMG Radio Scotland: “Real Radio’s success story has been an incredible one but for our three stations to be attracting almost a quarter of all radio listening in the Central Belt is testament to the extraordinary passion of our team here in Scotland.

“This is without doubt the highlight of my 33 years in broadcasting.”

Meanwhile, SMG-owned Virgin Radio enjoyed mixed fortunes, when it came to reach: this last quarter, it suffered a 2.4 per cent drop, but its year-on-year figure was still positive: at four per cent.

Other notable year-on-year movers were Kingdom FM (down 23.2 per cent), talk107 (up 26.1 per cent), XFM Scotland (down 22.1 per cent), Clyde 2 (down 26.3 per cent), Forth One (down 14.4 per cent), Forth2 (down 14.2 per cent), Wave 102 FM (down 24.2 per cent), Tay FM (up 22.9 per cent) and Smooth Radio (down 17.5 per cent).