Talkradio, which is owned by News UK Broadcasting, boosted its audience by 12% year-on-year, growing its weekly reach from 542,000 in the last three months of 2021 to 608,000 in Q4 of 2022. Its quarter-on-quarter audience, however, saw a slight dip of 5% – down from 637,000 in Q3 of 2022. The station now shares programming with TalkTV, which launched in April last year.
Fellow News UK property Times Radio meanwhile grew its year-on-year audience by 12% and its quarter-on-quarter audience by 4% to reach 563,000 people in Q4 of 2022.
Overall listening hours and average hours each listener tuned in for were up quarter-on-quarter at Talkradio and Times Radio. Both stations however, saw a fall in the average hours each listener tuned in for year-on-year. Talkradio listeners tuned in for an average of 7.7 hours per week (a 10% fall year-on-year) while listeners of Times Radio tuned in for 6.1 hours (a fall of 2% year-on-year).
Times Radio was launched in June 2020 as an alternative to Radio 4 and LBC. Since then it has attracted a number of high profile names including former culture minister Ed Vaizey who began presenting a weekly politics show in December.
Scott Taunton, News UK’s president of broadcasting, said: "Times Radio reports its sixth RAJAR results, and continues to win more hard-to-reach ABC1 listeners, who now account for 79% of the audience across the station, with new signings Jane Garvey and Fi Glover already impacting positively.
"And Talkradio remains the home of straight-talking opinion and breaking news, with quarter-on-quarter growth in listening hours," which were up 7% to 4.7 million. "With a schedule including Piers Morgan, Jeremy Kyle, Vanessa Feltz, Mike Graham and Julia Hartley-Brewer, Talkradio has more ways to reach its audience across radio, TV, social and streaming platforms than ever."
Three other radio stations tracked by Press Gazette with a news and current affairs focus also saw year-on-year audience growth.
The BBC World Service’s weekly reach was up 5% year-on-year to 1.3 million people. The UK growth comes despite the announcement by the corporation last year of deep cuts to its world service output, including the end of radio output in languages including Chinese, Hindi and Arabic. That output is, however, primarily aimed at international audiences.
Talksport saw its audience climb by 4% year-on-year to reach 2.9 million people.
LBC News’ London reach also increased by 4%, reaching an average of 423,000 people in the capital each week in Q4.
LBC meanwhile saw a 3% year-on-year dip in its audience, reaching 2.5 million people weekly in Q4. The Global-owned LBC brand, including LBC News, is the UK’s biggest commercial news talk station.
While year-on-year comparisons are not yet available for GB News Radio, which launched in January 2022 as a simulcast of the GB News TV channel, the station saw a sharp drop in audience compared to Q3 2022.
GB News Radio reached an average of 306,000 weekly listeners in the last quarter of 2022 - a decline of 26% on Q3 (415,000). The drop comes in sharp contrast to the impressive growth in listenership GB News Radio saw between Q2 and Q3 of last year, when its audience surged by 50% in three months.
Despite its fall in audience, GB News Radio listeners stayed with the station for seven hours per week - an increase on the average listening time of 5.4 hours in Q3 2022.
Despite shedding 4% of its audience compared to Q4 of 2021, BBC Radio 2 remains the most listened-to radio station in our list and the most popular in the UK. The station, which carries a mix of music, news and documentaries, reached an average of 14.3 million people in Q4 2022.
It was followed by BBC Radio 4 which reached 10.1 million people (a fall of 4% year-on-year), the BBC’s network of local radio stations (7.8 million listeners, down 14% year-on-year) and BBC Radio 5 Live (5.6 million listeners, down 5% year-on-year).
Radio 4 led the talk stations for longest average weekly listen time at 11.3 hours per listener. It was closely followed by Radio 2, LBC and LBC (London) which each clocked in 11 hours of listening time per listener each week.
Despite dips in listenership for a number of its stations, the BBC retained its position as the number one radio broadcaster in the UK, reaching 60% of people aged over 15.
Charlotte Moore, the BBC's chief content officer, said: "Both our live and on-demand listening grew during this period dominated by a fast-paced news agenda, as people came to us for our trusted, high-quality coverage and in-depth analysis, and Radio 5 Live boosted its audiences with its world class sports coverage. Radio 2 and Radio 4 continue to be the biggest stations in the UK, and Radio 1 the favourite station of young listeners."
Among breakfast shows in the latest RAJAR results, which present listening data for the quarter ending 18 December 2022, Radio 4’s flagship news and current affairs show Today reached 6.2 million people - a dip of 4% compared to the 6.5 million people a year earlier.
LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast reached 1.3 million weekly listeners across the UK.
Talkradio’s breakfast programming led by Julia Hartley-Brewer was tuned into by an average of 268,000 people each week - slightly ahead of Times Radio's Stig Abell and Aasmah Mir (236,000).
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