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RAJARs: Radio 5 Live boosts audience but BBC local stations lose listeners

The BBC’s Radio 5 Live audience has jumped by more than half-a-million weekly listeners, according to new industry audience figures, but its local stations have fallen by almost 300,000 weekly listeners.

Radio 5 Live has 5.24m weekly listeners, up from 4.73m last year, latest RAJAR figures for the three months to the 23 June show.

BBC local radio figures fell by 280,000 listeners year-on-year in the second quarter of 2019, falling from 7.87m over the same period last year 2018.

World Service figures fell by 60,000 listeners to 1.45m, the figures show.

BBC Radio 4 posted a weekly reach of 10.57m for the quarter, down marginally on 10.6m listeners last year.

The Today programme boosted its weekly audience slightly from 6.98m last year to 7.02m.

BBC Radio director James Purnell said: “I want our brilliant stations, programmes and podcasts to remain as relevant in people’s lives as listening habits continue to evolve.

“Already people are enjoying listening to us in different ways with a record 75m downloads of Radio 4 programmes and podcasts this quarter as well as a record 7m people listening live to our stations online and through apps.”

Rival broadcaster Global claimed its talk radio station LBC achieved its “highest ever reach in its 46-year history” with 2.4m weekly listeners, an increase of more than 250,000 in the past year.

The breakfast show hosted by Nick Ferrari accounted for 1.4m of those national listeners, up 240,000 over the year.

LBC’s drive time show, hosted by Eddie Mair since he joined Global in August last year, was had a weekly audience of 804,000 people.

Global founder Ashley Tabor said: “This is our strongest set of RAJAR results ever for Global, our biggest ever in terms of reach, hours and share. It is a true testament to the hard work of every Globaler.”

She said LBC’s performance was “phenomenal” and praised Ferrari for achieving his “personal highest ever reach”.

LBC’s commercial competitor Wireless, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, has celebrated a 31 per cent increase in Talkradio listeners over the last year to 386,000.

Wireless chief executive Scott Taunton described the latest results as “superlative” and said its Talkradio and Talksport brands continued to “deliver on our investment in sports rights and the best on-air talent”.

Picture: BBC

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