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October 26, 2022updated 14 Nov 2022 7:25am

RAJARs: GB News Radio is fastest growing station as it makes ground on News UK rivals

By Bron Maher

GB News Radio experienced sharp quarter-on-quarter growth in the third quarter of 2022, according to new RAJAR data.

It was the only individual station on Press Gazette’s list of radio stations with a news or current affairs focus to see growth. But its audience remains the smallest of the selected stations.

The biggest fallers in the period were the BBC World Service, LBC News and the UK-wide LBC brand.

GB News launched GB News Radio in January this year. The station, which broadcasts the audio from its television sister live, reached an average of 239,000 listeners per week in the Q1 RAJARs. 

By Q2 that figure had grown 16% to 277,000. It enjoyed a major acceleration in Q3, growing 49.8% to 415,000.

GB News’ chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos said: “These figures prove that GB News really is the people’s channel. This is organic growth, spread principally by word of mouth, and it’s escalating as more people discover our authenticity and warmth.

“It took Talkradio more than three years to reach the same audience that we’ve achieved in just nine months. In January we became the only television channel in the country to simulcast on radio, an innovation which is clearly a resounding success.”

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Meanwhile rival right-leaning station Talkradio, which like GB News Radio carries the audio from its sister TalkTV, shed 7.1% of its average weekly audience, falling from 686,000 to 637,000.

Fellow Murdoch-owned News UK property Times Radio registered just below Talkradio, pulling in 542,000 weekly listeners – a 4.9% decrease on the previous quarter.

Audiences at both Times Radio and Talkradio were sticking with the Murdoch stations for longer than GB News Radio, however. Talkradio listeners tuned in for an average 6.9 hours a week and Times Radio listeners 5.9 hours. That figure for GB News Radio was 5.4 hours.

[Read more: GB News ratings one year on: How is channel faring versus TalkTV in airwaves battle?]

In a statement, News UK’s president of broadcasting Scott Taunton emphasised the audience growth it had achieved across its radio portfolio.

“News Broadcasting continues to drive year-on-year growth across its roster of radio brands, reporting 5.7m listeners, up 2.8% on the year; while listening hours are up 2.4% at 38.5m hours.”

TalkTV, the company said, had delivered “another superlative reach result, up 42% year-on-year to 637k listeners, listening for 4.4m hours each week, up 26% year-on-year”.

Elsewhere on the board, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 and LBC London tied for longest listen time, with audiences for each tuning in for an average of 11.4 hours a week. 

Radio 2, with the largest RAJAR audience of the stations on the list, suffered a half-percent drop over the quarter to 14.5m average weekly listeners. Radio 4, enduring a 4.8% drop, fell from an eight-figure listenership to 9.8m.

The BBC said that on Radio 4, the Today programme had pulled in an average 6.07m weekly listeners.

The corporation added that overall it had “a record number of weekly users following the mini-budget – 4.53 million – as well as 178 million plays of our podcasts and on-demand radio programmes”, and that it had received “256 million downloads of BBC podcasts and on-demand radio programmes across the world”.

The most dramatic drops were felt at LBC News (UK) and the BBC World Service, which shed respectively 15.1% (to 863,000) and 14.6% (to 1.2m).

LBC News (UK) also registered the second lowest average weekly hours per listener, at 3.2. The lowest was LBC News (London), with 3.1.

The BBC Local Radio stations collectively were the only entry on the list besides GB News to see growth, growing their audiences 2% to 7.8m.

In a statement, LBC parent company Global noted that the station “retains its place as Britain’s biggest commercial news talk station, reaching more than 3m people every week”.

LBC News, it said, had “grown its audience year-on-year”, and in London LBC was “number one commercial station for hours and share”.

[Read more: The rise of Global in charts: How LBC owner came to rule the airwaves]

Picture: GB News screenshot

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