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Top 20 digital radio stations in the UK

BBC and Bauer lead Global in digital switchover

By James Cridland
Posted 2 December 2014, 5.46am est
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Top digital station figures are regularly published (every RAJAR day, in fact), and I thought it would be interesting to compare digital radio figures to station's overall figures.

Over half of BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live's listeners are using digital radio, according to recent RAJAR research.

These figures show people who tune into the station using digital radio at least once a week: "digital radio" being defined as DAB, DTV and online. They don't show the total amount of listening on each platform; and a listener only needs listen once a week via digital to appear on these figures.

31% of Heart's listeners tune in via digital, in comparison to 43% of BBC Radio 2's listeners. You'd have thought Heart should be higher: their FM signal doesn't reach many parts of the UK, yet they are available on DAB in many places.

Capital's 36% figure is the same as BBC Radio 1, interestingly; yet, once more, Capital is a digital-only station in many parts of the UK. Kiss UK has a 61% digital figure: but is only available on FM in three parts of the UK.

Bauer's brands appear to perform better. The Absolute Network (not entirely fair to treat this as one station) shows 85% use digital; Planet Rock's 89%. Magic's 40% is for "Magic UK", a number that I believe includes the Magic stations in the North of England.

Perhaps the most obviously comparable: talkSPORT has 45% of their audience using digital, in comparison to BBC Radio 5 Live's 54%.

Top 20 digital stations, by total weekly reach

  1. BBC Radio 2: 43% (6,507m digital; vs 15,014m overall)
  2. BBC Radio 4: 52% (5,498 vs 10,621)
  3. BBC Radio 1: 36% (3,778 vs 10,550)
  4. Absolute Radio Network: 85% (3,393 vs 4,005)
  5. BBC Radio 5 Live: 54% (3,138 vs 5,809)
  6. Kiss UK: 61% (2,960 vs 4,858)
  7. Heart: 31% (2,852 vs 9,075)
  8. Capital: 36% (2,638 vs 7,343)
  9. Classic FM: 39% (2,008 vs 5,199)
  10. BBC Radio 6 Music: 100% (1,994)
  11. Smooth: 39% (1,916 vs 4,692)
  12. BBC Radio 4 Extra: 100% (1,629)
  13. Magic: 40% (1,427m vs 3,547)
  14. talkSPORT: 45% (1,413 vs 3,148)
  15. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: 100% (1,216)
  16. BBC 1Xtra: 100% (1,057)
  17. Planet Rock: 89% (976 vs 1,098)
  18. Kisstory: 100% (973)
  19. Heat: 100% (965)
  20. The Hits: 100% (949)

RAJAR Q3/2014; top 20 digital figures published by Digital Radio UK, total audience published at RAJAR's website.

James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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