BBC morning news slumps in Rajars

This quarter’s Rajar figures have revealed that the BBC’s morning news programmes have taken a hit with the weekly reach of Radio 4’s Today programme (pictured) falling from 6.12m to 5.87m listeners and Radio Five Live’s Breakfast show falling form 2.32m to 2.257m.

The BBC reported a drop in its share of listening, which fell to 54.7 per cent from last quarter’s record of 55.4 per cent.

The figure is still up on the year at 54 per cent and the reach of all BBC radio stations is up on the quarter (32.57m) and steady on the year (32.89m).

However it was a disappointing quarter for Radio 4, which experienced a drop in listeners of 100,000 over the quarter. At 10.7 per cent, the station’s share is down year-on-year from 11.2 last year and quarter-on-quarter from 11.7 per cent.

The fall was blamed on a disproportionately high share created by the general election and a “particularly slow news quarter”.

Despite the boost from the run up to England’s World Cup campaign, Five Live reported a 2.2 per cent drop in reach quarter-on-quarter but a 6.3 per cent increase year-on-year.

Head of research at BBC Radio, Jo Hamilton, insisted that the figures were still a good performance for quarter two.

Alison Winter, Head of Research at the Radio Centre said that commercial radio’s weekly reach was down year on year from 31.19 m to 30.74m but had marginally increased on the quarter from 30.42.

Nationally commercial radio achieved a record high of 13.27m up from 12.95m a year ago.

LBC, which announced plans last week to broadcast to the regions via five DAB MXR multiplexes, showed an 8.8 per cent slump in reach quarter-on-quarter.

Following its successes at last month’s Arqiva Commercial Radio C Awards, total Real Radio Network recorded a sizeable 1.63m reach with TalkSPORT achieving an impressive seven per cent rise in reach on the quarter.

There was also an increase in the percentage of adults who listen to radio via TV. The number rose year on year, from 32.4 per cent to 38.9 per cent.

The internet was also shown to be growing in popularity as a medium through which to listen to radio programmes. The proportion of Rajar diarists listening online increased from 18.7 per cent in June 2005 to 22.8 per cent in June 2006.

For the first time, the Rajar gathered statistics on the popularity of podcasts. The figures showed that 25.8 per cent of adults own MP3 players, while 14.8 per cent of whom use their device to download radio podcasts.

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