The most popular radio stations in the UK

What are the most listened-to radio stations in Great Britain, according to the RAJAR audience figures? We take a look

A German radio dial, showing names of stations
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Share this page on Google+ publishes all the audience figures for every radio station - here are Radio 2's audience figures for example. You'll find audience figures published here, linked-to from most radio station pages: and linked from some radio station owners too.

The figures below, however, also include radio station brands: we're treating "Heart" or "Kiss" as one station here, rather than each individual local radio service. This gives a clearer view of the popularity of station brands. These figures are based on RAJAR audience research ending December 2014.

The quick answer? The biggest radio station in the UK is BBC Radio 2. But it's a little more complicated than that.

The top 10 radio stations with the most listeners

Normally, when people ask for the most popular radio station, they mean the one with the most amount of listeners. This will always give national or London stations as a result, and ignore smaller, local radio stations - even though, in many areas, the most popular station is a local one.

  1. BBC Radio 2 (15.3m listeners every week)
  2. BBC Radio 4 (10.8m)
  3. BBC Radio 1 (10.4m)
  4. Heart (9.0m)
  5. Capital FM (7.1m)
  6. BBC Radio 5 live (5.6m)
  7. Classic FM (5.6m)
  8. KISS (4.9m)
  9. Smooth (4.8m)
  10. talkSPORT (3.0m)

The top 10 radio owners with the most listeners

It's also important to look at radio owners, since they have the market in commercial terms. Click through to discover the stations they own.

  1. BBC national radio (31.7m listeners every week)
  2. Global Radio (21.2m)
  3. Bauer Media (16.0m)
  4. BBC local/regional radio (9.0m)
  5. UTV Radio (4.4m)
  6. Communicorp UK (3.3m)
  7. BBC World Service (1.4m)
  8. Orion Media (1.1m)
  9. TLRC (0.5m)
  10. Jazz FM (0.5m)

The top 10 radio stations with the highest amount of listeners in their area

If you want to look at popularity based on how many people listen in their area (and thus, take on board local radio stations as well as national), then the 'reach percent' is the best figure to examine. This shows you people who've listened for at least five minutes a week, and takes no account of whether they listen any longer than that. Typically, this shows local radio stations in remote parts of the UK.

  1. Island FM (62% of people in their area tune in every week)
  2. Channel 103 FM (56%)
  3. Manx Radio (55%)
  4. Radio Borders (52%)
  5. Moray Firth Radio (46%)
  6. Yorkshire Coast Radio (46%)
  7. Radio Pembrokeshire (45%)
  8. BBC Radio Guernsey (45%)
  9. CFM (43%)
  10. Wessex FM (43%)

The top 10 radio stations with the highest listening share in their area

The share of listening in a station's broadcast area is normally the best way of monitoring how popular a radio station is. This makes it easier to work out how popular the station's entire broadcasting output is, in comparison to others in its area.

  1. Island FM (45.7% of all radio listening in their area is to this station)
  2. Channel 103 (35.7%)
  3. Radio Borders (34.1%)
  4. Manx Radio (26.7%)
  5. West Sound (26.4%)
  6. Moray Firth Radio (23.6%)
  7. CFM (21.4%)
  8. BBC Radio Guernsey (20.9%)
  9. BBC Radio Ulster (20.8%)
  10. Yorkshire Coast Radio (19.9%)
  11. 102.5 Radio Pembrokeshire (19.8%)

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