Ratings Review: RAJAR Quarter 3 2007 

25 October 2007 tbs.pm/42

The new set of RAJARs for June to September 2007 are out, and there are many interesting things to report.

First to the BBC Local Radio stations, and their top 10 by reach percentage…

01. BBC Radio Jersey – 45%

02. BBC Radio Cornwall – 36%

03. BBC Radio Guernsey – 35%

04. BBC Radio Cumbria – 33%

05. BBC Radio Stoke – 32%

06. BBC Radio Humberside – 30%

07. BBC Hereford & Worcester – 29%

08. BBC Radio Suffolk – 27%

and then we have a 4-way tie

09=. BBC Radio Derby – 25%

09=. BBC Radio Devon – 25%

09=. BBC Radio Norfolk – 25%

09=. BBC Radio Shropshire – 25%

BBC Radio Cornwall’s performance is a real standout in that list, despite having a lot of competition in the area, with Pirate FM, Atlantic FM, and on DAB, Plymouth Sound as well, broadcasting across the county of Cornwall, and despite being 2% down on the last quarter.

Pirate FM have done well this quarter with 31%, up 1% on the last quarter. But the local story in Cornwall is Atlantic FM, who are up 3% on the quarter, despite still being in third place overall.

Nearby Plymouth Sound are down 2% on the quarter to 29% reach. BBC Radio Devon are holding steady at about 25%. Gemini FM are down 1% to 34%, whilst Lantern FM are down 2% at 39% reach.

Orchard FM have managed their own standout performance, gaining an extra 3% to 39% reach. South Hams Radio is down 1% at 14%.

Meanwhile, the newly merged Classic Gold and Capital Gold brand, known only as Gold, is floundering badly. Gold Plymouth is down 1% to 3% in percentage terms, but that represents losing about 25% of their audience, from a reach of 13,000 listeners to a reach of just 9,000. The audience for the 1152 AM frequency has collapsed since the local Plymouth Sound AM was closed and replaced with the semi national Classic Gold Plymouth, as it was. Perhaps OFCOM will do well to remember this when the Plymouth AM licence comes up for renewal. The licence is due to expire at the end of 2015.

However, the Exeter & Torbay version is a bit of a standout gaining 2% to 5%. An extra 7,000 listeners for the AM station which partners Gemini FM.

It’s a little trickier to discern the top perfomers in local commercial radio,due to the sheer number of stations but here we go…

01. Radio Borders – 54%

02. Radio Pembrokeshire – 53%

03=. Manx Radio – 52%

03=. Channel 103 FM – 52%

05. Island FM 104.7 – 49%

06. Moray Firth Radio – 47%

07. West Sound – 45%

08. Spire FM – 44%

09. Yorkshire Coast Radio 42%

10. C. F. M. Radio – 41%

Notable there is that the two locals for the Channel Islands, Channel 103 FM and Island FM, both manage to outscore their BBC counterparts, and as well, between BBC Radios Geurnsey and Jersey, Channel 103 and Island FM, they manage to almost completely dominate radio listneing in the Channel Islands. The national stations between them don’t get much of a look in.

Also notable there is Manx Radio which is unconnected to the ILR network, and began broadcasting on 29 June 1964, 9 years before ILR began and 3 years before any BBC Local Radio stations. 1964 was the height of the pirate radio revolution in Britain. Radio Caroline had begun broadcasting just 3 months earlier on 28th March and Radio Atlanta had lanuched on 12 May. At the time of Manx Radio’s launch, Radio Atlanta was days away from closure and eventual merger with Radio Caroline to become Caroline South.

On the national front, BBC Radio 2 continues to be the most popular national station with just over 13 million listeners. Radio 1 is next with around 10.5 million listeners and third is BBC Radio 4 with just over 9.25 million listeners.

Next comes the most popular national commercial radio station, Classic FM with over 5.8 million listeners. Radio Five Live is just behind them with just under 5.5 million listeners.

Of the pseudo-national commercial networks, the top performers continue to outperform the national stations on AM and Digital, TalkSport and Virgin Radio. Magic is the best performing network with 3.43 million listeners, followed closely by Heart with just under 3.33 million listeners. Kiss is also a top performer with just under 3.1 million listeners, as is Galaxy’s network with 2.6 million listeners.

By comparison, Virgin have around 2.47 million listeners and TalkSport, a mere 2.31 million.

Comparing very unfavourably in the network stakes is Gold. I highlighted the Plymouth station as a particular failure of the brand, but as a whole, the network is not much better. The network of stations on AM and DAB gets just under 1.5 million listners, which is down from the around 1.58 million listeners of the combined Capital and Classic Gold networks last quarter. When you think that this includes station in high population areas such as London, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, this performance comes across as doubly poor!

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Ian Beaumont Contact More by me