Man in London street listening to radio on headphones

Digital Growth and All Change in London – RAJAR Q3 2018

The latest radio audience numbers are in, and the results continue the positive story for the commercial radio industry.

Digital platforms’ share of listening increased by 7.2% YOY and stands at 52.2% with the majority of listening via DAB radio at 38.1%, online/apps at 9.6% and DTV 4.7%. To give that some context, these ratios have remained relativity static over the last few survey periods.

This growth in the share of listening has been helped by new digital-only station entrants and the popularity of the existing digital-only services, both from commercial operators and the BBC.


Digital-only entrants

The very latest entrant launched only this week – a national commercial digital-only station called Jack Radio, which will play female only artists and target ABC1 Adults 40 plus. Of those existing services, KISSTORY, the largest digital-only station increased its reach by 18.4% to 2,158m, Absolute 90s was up 21% and now reaches 913,000 adults a week, and Smooth Extra had a whopping increase of 30% YOY and now has 1.162m listeners.

And lest we forget, Chris Evans joins Virgin Radio which is a digital-only service in January 2019 to host the breakfast show.  For the record, Virgin Radio reaches 414,000 adults a week, which is a drop of 25.6% YOY, but is almost par when looked at quarter-on-quarter, when it had a reach of 413,000.



In London, Capital Radio is back at the number one spot with a weekly reach of 2,073m, pushing Kiss back into 2nd place at 1,958m.  But what is interesting in this market is that the gap between LBC and Heart 106.2 is closing.

While LBC lies in 5th place behind Heart 106.2, it is possibly on track to surpass it; something that would have been unthinkable only a while ago. LBC has increased its listeners by 17.2% to 1,301m and Heart106.2 has declined by 6.7% and now has a weekly reach of 1,419m.

Overall, total commercial radio weekly reach is up by just under 1%, increasing by 0.7% YOY, and now stands at 35.8m listeners a week – 65% of the population – and it continues to outpace the BBC, which this week lost another high profile presenter in Simon Mayo from Radio 2 Drivetime show.

The next set of RAJAR numbers covering Q4 2018 will be realised on Thursday 7th February 2019 so until then…


National StationsReach 000sNational NetworksReach 000sLondon StationsReach 000s
Classic FM5.183Heart Network UK8,749Capital2,073
Kiss4,436Capital Network UK7,434Kiss1,958
Magic3,216Hits Radio Brand (Bauer)6,438Magic 105.41,561
talkSPORT2,959Kiss Network5,759Heart 106.21,419
Absolute Radio2,426Smooth Radio Network UK5,004LBC 97.31,301


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RAJAR Q3 2018

All comparisons are year on year unless stated and weekly reach numbers are adults 15+