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February 7, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:28am

RAJAR: LBC grows to record 2.2m audience while BBC Radio 4 sheds 770,000 listeners

By Freddy Mayhew

LBC’s audience has grown by 188,000 listeners in the past year to more than 2.2m, the commercial talk radio station’s highest ever reach in its 46-year history, new industry figures show.

BBC Radio 4, home of the Today programme, shed 770,000 listeners during the final three months of 2018, posting a weekly reach of 10.48m, compared with 11.25m over the same period last year.

Newly released RAJAR audience figures show the Today programme itself, BBC radio’s flagship current affairs show, lost 330,000 listeners year-on-year, with 6.94m weekly listeners over the last quarter of 2018.

LBC, part of Global, which also owns Capital, Heart and Classic FM and Radio X, said it was the number one commercial station in London.

Nick Ferrari, former winner of Press Gazette’s British Journalism Awards Journalist of the Year prize, has seen his breakfast show on LBC grow in reach year-on-year with 1.3m listeners now tuning in.

Ashley Tabor OBE, founder and executive president of Global, said: “We’ve had another superb set of scores right across the group…

“We have the top three commercial radio brands nationally in Heart, Capital and Smooth and we’ve set a record high for both the Smooth and LBC networks across the UK.”

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BBC Radio 5 live posted a reach of 4.96m listeners for the quarter, down from 5.45m last year, and an audience share of 3.3 per cent

The BBC World Service reached a weekly UK audience of 1.55m, up from 1.51 m last year. It expanded in 2017 to cover 12 new languages.

Bob Shennan, director of BBC Radio, said: “Nearly nine in ten people continue to listen to radio in the UK but as we know listening habits are changing.

“We’ve made great strides in reinventing our overall audio offer so that audiences now and in the future can discover the very best of the BBC, whenever they want to.

“This is paying off and increasing numbers of people are listening to music, radio and podcasts on [new app] BBC Sounds with recent record figures.”

All BBC radio’s weekly reach over the period, which covers 17 September to 16 December 2018, was at 33.9m, down from 35.01m last year, and an audience share of 50.9 per cent.

Picture: Global

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