Written by Radio

6 Music and RAJAR

A week or so ago, Media Guardian got very excited about some RAJAR figures. They had the half hour figures for some BBC 6Music programmes.
These figures showed that the peak listening for the “controversial” George Lamb was 40,000 while Adam and Joe on a Saturday morning peaked at 69,000 – the highest of the station.
The peace also highlighted the peak listening points for other services like Planet Rock and Absolute Radio Xtreme.
But mainly, I think the point of the piece was to note these relatively low numbers and the cost of the services. The article pointed out that 6Music costs £7.5m a year to fund. And that is quite a lot, especially compared to the commercial sector. But then Radio 1’s budget is £43.1m, so that puts it in perspective a little.
BBC 6 Music does reach a fairly impressive 619,000 people a week – and this is the number you’ll see quoted a lot more. To put that in perspective, BBC Radio 3 reaches 1,981,000 a week – just over three times that. BBC Radio 3 has a far larger budget and more importantly, and FM transmitter network (as well as digital). But I’m not hearing clamours for that station to be closed down.
And in the most recent Mediaguardian Media Talk, Matt Wells brings the subject up, seemingly pleased that radio correspondent John Plunkett has got hold of the figures. They’re not actually private though: if The Guardian wants to subscribe to RAJAR it’s free to do so – like it must do for its overnight TV ratings. There a few systems out there like Telmar, Octagon and RALPH. Just pay your money and, as long as they follow the publication code, they can analyse RAJAR like the rest of us.
The figures that Plunkett’s piece quoted from came from a big list of spreadsheets that all RAJAR subscribers have access to – for every station.
Matt Wells did make a few mistakes in the podcast: “6Music’s George Lamb gets just 40,000 listeners on the morning show.” That’s not true. He gets 40,000 listeners at one point on the show. But listeners are tuning in and out all morning. In the next half hour, some of those listeners have stopped and others have tuned in.
And of course DAB gets another mention. Well 6Music is broadcast on other platforms too. It’s a digital station not just a DAB station.
During the podcast, the question was asked: “How many of the BBC 6Music listeners are unique [from Radio 1 and Radio 2]?”
Well I’ll answer that because I know. Of the 619,000 weekly reach, 192,000 are unique. That is, they don’t listen to either Radio 1 or Radio 2.
Just short of a third of them then. Given that Radio 1 reaches 10.5m and Radio 2 reaches 13.5m – you’re actually doing very well to not listen to either of them! A third of 6Music listeners not listening to either service is actually not that bad at all.
A broader question might be why so many older/younger listeners are listening to Radios 1 and 2, rather than having a pop at 6Music listeners.
PS. I wish Media Talk would stop going on about the ages of the various channel controllers. Age discrimination is illegal in the workplace in the UK. Just because someone in charge of Radio 1 is older than 30 doesn’t mean that they have no idea what their listeners want. CBeebies isn’t run by toddlers after all.
As ever, this piece is written in a personal capacity and does not reflect the opinions of my employer or RAJAR.