BBC Radio 4’s Today programme claimed its highest ever audience figures, reaching 7.45m weekly listeners in the last three months of 2016.
The Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar) quarterly listening figures show the morning news and current affairs programme’s audience rose by 6 per cent year-on-year from 7m over the same period last year and by 5 per cent from 11.23m on the last quarter.
The figures cover the period from 19 September to 18 December 2016.
Overall, radio – including commercial and BBC radio stations – reached its second highest audience figures, with 46.68m weekly listeners, of which the BBC claimed a share of 54 per cent (equal to its figure over the same period last year) with 35.2m weekly listeners.
On average, a listener spends 16 hours a week tuned into BBC radio.
The figures also show BBC Radio 4 reached its second highest audience figures with 11.33m listeners recorded, up four per cent year-on-year from 10.93m listeners.
Bob Shennan, director of BBC Radio and Music, said: “With more competition for people’s time, it is heartening to see the increased relevance of live radio listening in their daily routines, and that the time they spend with us is growing again.
“In an era of fake news, echo chambers and significant shifts in global politics, the role of Radio 4’s Today as the trusted guide to the world around us is more important than ever.
“As Today celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, Radio 4 listeners continue to wake up to world class journalism which scrutinises the headlines, holds those in power to account and enlightens them with stories that shape our society.”
Audience figures for other BBC radio stations are as follows:
- BBC Radio 1 posted a reach of 9.56m listeners – down from 10.33m last year – which rises to 10.54m when listeners aged 10 and over are included. The station’s share of listening was 5.8 per cent, down from 6.1 per cent last year
- BBC Radio 2’s weekly audience was 15.05m, down from 15.47m last year. The station’s share of listening was 17.3 per cent, down from 17.7 per cent last year
- BBC Radio 3’s audience was 2.12m, up from 2.05m last year. The station’s share of listening was 1.4 per cent, up from 1.2 per cent last year
- BBC Radio 5 live reached an audience of 5.71 million listeners, up from 5.59m last year. The station’s share of listening was 3.6 per cent, equal to its figure for the year before
- BBC Asian Network drew 632,000 listeners, up from 563,000 listeners last year
- The BBC World Service posted a weekly UK audience of 1.53 million, up from 1.51m last year
- BBC Local Radio reached 8.89 million listeners per week, up from 8.56m last year.