Rajar: BBC loses ground to commercial radio

The BBC's radio services have lost listeners to commercial radio for the second consecutive quarter – a move that the commercial sector claims is the result of relaxed localness rules introduced by Ofcom.

Today's official Rajar radio listening figures for the summer months show commercial radio with a 43.1 per cent share of all listening, compared with 54.9 per cent for the BBC.

The BBC's weekly audience reach fell from 33.3m to 32.9m in this quarter, while commercial radio's listenership climbed from 30.9m to 31.2m.

 

Andrew Harrison, the chief executive of commercial radio trade body Radiocentre, said: "We have seen some very encouraging results for the commercial radio sector and it is particularly pleasing to see us once again regaining some market share.

"This is the second set of results that we have had released since the relaxed regulation for local stations and it is good to see this having a continued positive effect. This confirms yet again that our stations know what they are doing in serving their local audience."

Earlier this year, broadcast regulator Ofcom unveiled a series of revised rules governing localness in radio – effectively allowing stations to share programming and news outside of peak hours in a bid to save the industry up to £12m a year.

The relaxed regime has allowed groups such as Global Radio, the UK's biggest commercial radio company, to cut back on local presenters and journalists and provide an increasing amount of content from a centralised hub in London.

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