Around ten years ago, the future for radio listening appeared distinctly unpromising as audiences fell due to threats from other media. Now, however, the situation has changed with record audiences and 89% of adults listening to radio every week in the UK, averaging 21 hours each (source).
A growing number of people now listen online, and almost two thirds of listening is done using digital platforms (including DAB radio).
The BBC remains the predominant provider, accounting for 53% of the total audience with Radio 2 at the forefront. Commercial channels are catching up, however, together attracting almost the same number of listeners as the combined BBC stations.
What Are the Most Listened-To Radio Programmes in the UK?
The radio programmes with the highest audiences are all breakfast shows as people listen over breakfast or while travelling to work. According to figures from RAJAR, Chris Evans leads the way on Radio 2 with over nine million listeners, a number that has fluctuated recently and will be tested when the presenter leaves the station.
The Today Programme on Radio 4 is in second spot at more than seven million and third is Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1 with around 5.7 million listeners. This has increased recently after previously falling, the drop attributed to a drive for younger listeners and offset by increased YouTube and other social media viewings. At the time of writing, the top three most listened-to radio programmes in the UK are:
- The Chris Evans Breakfast Show – BBC Radio 2
- The Today Programme – BBC Radio 4
- The Radio 1 Breakfast Show – BBC Radio 1
Commercial stations remain significantly behind, although Absolute Radio’s breakfast show went over two million listeners recently while Kiss increased its breakfast audience by 30,000 to 2.23 million. The challenge for all is to keep progressing, particularly by attracting younger listeners since 88% of over 55s listen to live radio compared to just over 50% of 15-24 year olds.