The number of people who regularly listen to the radio has hit an all-time high, with 91 per cent of adults tuning in at least once a week, according to official listening figures released this morning.
Data from audience measurement body Rajar shows that 45.6m adults in the UK listened to the radio at least once a week in the second quarter of this year, from April to June.
This figure is up 600,000 on the previous three months and is the highest recorded audience figure since Rajar began its weekly survey of radio listening 15 years ago.
The news will come as a shot in the arm for the radio industry, which appears to have held its own in the face of increasing competition for people’s time from the internet, digital television channels and mp3 players.
Radio listening figures from Rajar are released quarterly and are based on printed diaries filled out by a randomly-selected sample of people. Each year, 130,000 adults are asked to fill in a Rajar diary for a week.
The system has frequently come under fire for its perceived inaccuracy, most famously from former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie when he owned nationwide talk radio station TalkSport.
Mackenzie attempted to sue Rajar in 2004, claiming the measurement system gave speech stations such as TalkSport a raw deal and his station was losing out on millions of pounds in advertising revenue as a result.
Wireless Group invested in a new piece of wrist-watch measurement technology, developed by GFK, which would automatically detect which station a participant was listening to.
The lawsuit was thrown out by the High Court, but Rajar is now working on a form of electronic measurement which could provide a clearer picture of radio’s popularity.