Today the latest RAJAR data is out and it’s a hugely important day for the industry. This comes after an 18-month delay due to the pandemic which has resulted in massive consumer change alongside gradual changes, new stations launch, network re-brands, a newly adapted survey methodology, and all the normal ups and downs.

The New RAJAR on the Block

There have been several new stations that have come into life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The strong performers are Times Radio with an impressive reach of 637,000 listeners, Capital DANCE with a reach of 287,000 listeners, and Boom Radio with a reach of 233,000 listeners. In my opinion, the performance of Times Radio has been driven by the pandemic resulting in people becoming more tuned with regular news updates. Boom Radio has surprised me as it plays music tailored for “Boomers” who I didn’t think would be a growing demographic, however, it has proved me wrong with an incredibly strong performance on its debut.

Written by Tom Clilverd
Austins analysis

COVID has brought about inevitable changes in our daily lives, and now RAJAR shows how it has shifted our listening behavior. For the first time in 18 months, the radio audio measurement survey RAJAR has released its quarterly book highlighting an overall record commercial radio listening high of 36.8m listeners per week. What really interests me is seeing the impact on daypart listening. Pre-pandemic there was a clear spike across the highly sort after breakfast (0600-1000) time band with peak listening at 8 am, and then a second spike around PM drive (1600-1900). Q3 2021 data shows that listening now actually peaks at 10 am and is relatively flat across the day. With working from home still very much being part of the new norm we are seeing radio continue to be the perfect accompaniment to those listening in their makeshift home offices.

Personally, nostalgia stations such as Kisstory and the newly surveyed (and my new guilty pleasure station) Greatest Hits Radio have become stalwarts at home, and it seems I am not the only one. Kisstory has delivered a record 2.2m listeners which makes it the UK’s largest digital-only commercial station and Greatest Hits Radio debuts at 3.2m.

Written by Sam Austin
Digital Listening Surges

This quarter we have seen Digital listening surge past 60% now accounting for 66% of all radio listening. The continued momentum of digital listening comes as no surprise with this having been a trend over the last couple of years. Looking at total listening by platform linear radio hours now account for just 34% of all listening and DAB on its own accounts for 43% of hours making it the most popular platform. Additionally, Internet listening (apps, online and smart speakers) is strong with an 18% share of listening. I do believe internet listening has been bolstered due to the pandemic forcing us to spend more time at home than ever before. Overall, it’s great to see that radio has still been easily accessible to consumers and has proven itself as a flexible medium through an unprecedented and turbulent time.

Written by Kieran Maguire
Radio Networks Summary

After long-awaited RAJAR results, the industry is relieved to finally have figures confirm what they suspected for the last 18 months – Digital Listening has increased, Radio listening via a voice-activated speaker is on the up, and Radio is still holding very firm as the first point of call for news, music, and opinions.  Whilst listening hours have shifted ever so slightly due to a change in consumption and habits, it’s unsurprising that both Bauer and Global are boasting their highest ever reaching figures for their networks. People, who now work from home, have increased their hours listening to their favourite stations. Over the last 2 years, both have acquired a fair few more stations to add to their Heart, Capital, and Greatest Hits networks, and thereby both are showing a collective reach of nearly 85% of the commercial radio listening a week. But the shining star of commercial radio has to land with new station Times Radio with an impressive 637K listeners a week for their first RAJAR!

Written by Jess Bernard