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BBC rules the radio waves, but audiences are fickle


More than 40% of radio listeners tune in to one of the bigger BBC radio stations, but presenter loyalty is increasingly fickle.

A new study by Atomik Research has revealed the major BBC radio stations still rule the waves, but their presenters are having to battle for audiences as listeners become increasingly fickle.

Well over half (57.39%) of more than 1,000 respondents said they have no loyalty when it comes to radio presenters and are likely to flick and choose. Around four in ten (42.61%) said they tune into the same show more than twice a week, highlighting the fickleness of the modern radio listener who are able to surf the radio highways with ease.

BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw is having to battle to regain lost listeners after almost a million dropped off since the breakfast host took over from Chris Moyles last year. Rajar audience figures revealed audience figures have dropped by 950,000 in the six months to May 2013, with The Today programme on Radio 4 and Chris Evans’ Radio 2 morning slot overtaking the show in terms of listener numbers, highlighting the changeable nature of the modern audience.

But BBC still managed to rule the radio waves, with 41.82% of listeners tuning in to one of their bigger stations (Radio 1, 2, 4, 6, Asian Network etc) and 25.25% opting to listen to a local BBC station. In the commercial realm, listeners preferred local stations over the larger broadcasters. Almost a third (29%) of respondents said they listen to a local commercial station, such as Heart, over only 19.5% who said they like to tune into larger commercials, such as Absolute, Capital or KISS.

Radio listener numbers in the third quarter of 2013 are up by approximately 1.5 million adults compared to the same period last year. Figures released by Rajar revealed 48.3 million adults or 91% of the adult (15+) UK population tuned in to their selected radio stations in the second Quarter of 2013, accounting for a massive 1.03 billion listening hours.

Other Atomik Research confirmed the popularity of radio in relation to other media channels, with a juxtaposition seemingly emerging between platforms. Although social media and online media outlets continue to get more visitor numbers, radio is still overwhelmingly voted as the place people go to hear new music and breaking news.

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