RAJAR Q3 2009

Today sees publication of the latest RAJAR figures and there are a few things that are food for thought.
FIrst of all, it wasn’t the greatest RAJAR for commercial radio which slipped back a little against a strong BBC which saw increases in share for all its national analogue networks with the exception of Radio 1.

Source: RAJAR Q3 2009
Commercial radio really does need this to return to parity.
Nationally, as well as the BBC channels mentioned, Talksport has done well with some gains quarter on quarter.
In London there’s a very interesting story with Capital FM becoming the biggest station in London and this is despite losing share quarter on quarter. What’s happened is that Magic has lost even more (and Heart has missed out too), leaving Capital as “London’s number one” as the jingles will no doubt be informing listeners at some point today.
My own employer, Absolute Radio, has done well in London, picking up 7.6% in hours against an overall declining backdrop (the BBC is gaining in London too, where the traditional commercial lead is being whittled away).
All of this means it’s going to be interesting to see what happens in Q1 next year once Chris Evans has started up on Radio 2. But that’s six months away yet.
One very important measure is the percentage of listening that’s being done via a digital platform – be it DAB, the internet or DTV. For all radio, it’s remained at 21.1%. With commercial radio overall dipping a little at 20.2%, the BBC has helped keep the level up as it has achieved 21.6% digital overall.

Source: RAJAR Q3 2009
Does this mean that “Digital Upgrade” is not going to happen, and we’re going to remain on analogue forever? Er, no. It’d be good to see those figures continue to rise, and I know that the DRDB is working hard to ensure that they do continue increasing.
We’ve also heard that the radio industry is working on a new way for every station to be able to be heard online. Hopefully, that will drag up the relatively lowly 2.2% listening share that the internet currently achieves.

Source: RAJAR Q3 2009
Again, my own employer, Absolute Radio, has managed to better this. Excluding our FM listening in London, 51.5% of all listening is done via a digital platform now – exceding the 50% target set by Lord Carter in his Digital Britain report four years ahead of the 2013 date suggested.
Even if we include FM listening in London, Absolute Radio is at 30.5% – well ahead of the commercial average.
DAB ownership is also up 14% year on year now with 16.6m adults living in a home with at least one DAB radio.
This next quarter is a very important one for sales of DAB radios – and now more than ever WiFi connected radios. As well as the Pure Sensia, Pure has just announced the Sensia Flow while Revo has just announced the Heritage. And Logitech has its interesting looking Squeezebox The common factor for all of is that they have internet radio. As more homes get wireless networks, these devices will become more common place.
All of this leads me to Radio at the Edge where amongst other things, Richard Bacon will be interviewing Tony Blackburn and Lisa Kerr will be telling us why Radio Must Go Digital. It’s well worth the asking price, so persuade the people you need to, to let you go!
And if you’re very lucky, you might see some very interesting short videos from, ahem, me…
(Note: Although I work for Absolute Radio, this piece does not necessarily represent the views of my employer. That said, it’s only because my employer is happy to publish our digital platform listening figures that I can quote them here. I am unable to publish other stations’ platform listening figures.)
[Updated to include DAB ownership – 8.20am]