We’ve been meticulously analysing the Q2 2016 RAJAR report to pick out the big stories and insights because that’s the kind of thing we love to do.

Overall, it’s a very positive survey with some huge gains in a wide variety of areas. The major headline for Commercial Radio is that it continues to pull ahead of the BBC. Commercial now has over half a million listeners more than the Beeb, with reach up a whopping 1.3 million to 35.6 million. Commercial share is also up by 2% while the BBC’s has fallen by a similar amount.

There are many great stories around the network so read on for our pick of just a few of the highlights.

Nationals and Networks

Global’s national brand strategy continues to prove a hit with listeners both young and old.  The Capital network’s reach is up 4% with an extra 300,000 listeners – enough to sell out the Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium three times over.  The older generation are tuning in more too, with Smooth up 5% in total hours, Classic FM up 11% and Gold up a very impressive 23%.

Talk stations benefited from European affairs. The referendum likely helped give LBC it’s 15% boost in hours. talkSPORT saw its second highest reach ever at almost 3.3 million, which was probably helped by this survey cutting off the day before England got knocked out of the Euros.

The Bauer City Network, which now includes the Orion stations, has added 1.3 million listeners to achieve a 23% increase in weekly reach to over 7 million in total, with a similarly significant 21% gain in total hours.

Jazz FM is back in the swing of it after going national again on D2 (the new DAB network), and will want to trumpet its 18% increase in weekly reach and 10% increase in total hours.

Digital

Digital platforms are becoming increasingly important in how listeners consume their favourite stations, as well as discover new ones. Digital is having an impact wherever we want to listen, with over 85% of new cars being fitted with DAB and listening via smartphone becoming ever more popular too.

The share of all radio listening via a digital platform is now at 45.3%, up from 39.9% a year ago. Overall, digital reach increased by 2.3 million listeners year on year to almost 32 million, no doubt boosted by the new stations that launched in March on the new D2 DAB multiplex.

Initial results from the first full survey of D2 stations include the relaunched Virgin Radio with 409,000 listeners, Mellow Magic with 380,000 listeners, and new speech stations talkSPORT2 and talkRADIO with 285,000 and 224,000 listeners respectively.

London

The big talking point in the capital is that LBC 97.3 is the most listened to station in terms of total listening hours, and by a very significant margin too.  LBC’s London hours now sit at a whopping 14.5 million – the next nearest station being Kiss 100 with 10.2 million hours.

Capital 95.8 has, however, held on to its top spot in terms of weekly reach despite losing 20,000 listeners. Capital still managed a 6% gain in hours.

Other notable London success stories include Kiss 100 with an increase in reach of 6% and 17% in hours, Gold increased reach by 33% and 87% in hours, and Radio X increased reach by 31% and 27% in hours.

The bounce back award goes to Lyca where, after a very disappointing Q1, weekly reach has increased from 62,000 to 173,000 (+179%) and total listening hours have jumped from 194,000 to 960,000 (+395%).

Overall, Q2 will be seen a success for the London market with no heavy losses for any of the major players.

The Local Picture … in England

With such a strong survey across the board there are many great results around the rest of the country. Here are just a few that really stand out.

In the North East, Bauer’s City rebrand is gaining purchase as both TFM 2 and Metro 2 made impressive gains.  TFM 2 up a massive 217% in hours and 47% in reach. Metro 2 is up 39% in hours, building on its 52% increase last quarter.

Capital North East has had an impressive increase of 38% in hours, despite just a small increase in weekly reach from 488,000 to 494,000.

Over in Liverpool, Radio City 2 is also celebrating a 38% increase in hours and a 42% increase in reach.

Rock 2 is rocking it in Blackpool with an increase of 20% in hours and 23% in reach.

The stand out City 1 station this quarter is Viking FM in Hull which has increased its hours from 1,401,000 to 1,582,000.

Pulse 1 gets the residents of Bradford’s blood pumping, racing up 43% in hours from 621,000 to 889,000. Sister station Pulse 2, however, lost both reach and hours.

Signal 2 is up by 30% in hours and up 6% in reach, though Signal 1 decreased in hours by 10%.

In the Midlands, Capital East Midlands has seen an overall increase, and its Leicestershire transmitter is up 60% in hours and 13% in reach in its own right. Smooth East Midlands is up by 11% in reach with an increase in hours of 32%.

In Kidderminster, Signal 107 is not kidding about with a 47% increase in hours.

Over in the flat landscape of East Anglia, North Norfolk Radio is on the rise – up 42% in hours from 105,000 to 149,000 and also gains 13% more listeners!

Smooth Cambridgeshire has had a significant rise in total hours with a 60% increase from 396,000 to 635,000. Weekly reach also increased from 44,000 listeners to 59,000 listeners – up 34%.

JACK FM 2 Oxford has sprung out of its box with a huge leap in hours – up 53%, jumping from 189,000 to 290,000, while also scaring up 22% more listeners.

The winds are favourable in the South West for The Breeze (Bristol, Bath, West Wilts) with hours blowing up 65% and weekly reach 31%. More positivity is in the air with The Breeze in Yeovil and Solent also significantly increasing in total hours and reach.

Radio Exe has also made an impressive showing with 47% growth in hours, while Radio Plymouth’s hours have sailed up by 35%.

Heart Essex is one of the few in its network to make a significant showing with an increase in both reach and total listening hours. The Chelmsford & Southend transmitter has shown an impressive 22% increase in total hours.

Smooth Radio Essex has also had a good RAJAR with an increase in reach from 70,000 to 85,000 (21%) and in hours from 433,000 to 597,000 (38%).

Flying high, Eagle Radio has soared to over 1 million listener hours with an increase of 30% quarter on quarter. The station is now spreading its wings and reaching 141,000 weekly listeners (12% increase Q on Q)

People are listening by the bucket-load at the seaside with Capital South Coast seeing an increase in hours by 39%, Smooth Radio Solent has increased reach by 36%, and Wave 105’s reach is up by 9% and 11% hours.

… in Northern Ireland

After a broadly disappointing RAJAR period last quarter, commercial radio in Northern Ireland has seen some strong results this time round. Increases in listening hours have been reported almost across the board.

Cool FM has managed to add 21% onto its total listening hours, which means the station is up 10.5% year on year.

Downtown Country has had a strong quarter with a 19% increase in reach and a 37% increase in hours.

The Q brand stations have done well this quarter – Q Belfast has gained 21% in total hours and the Q Radio Network has increased its total hours by 18%.

The only Northern Irish station not to increase its total hours this quarter was U105 – this station lost 15% in reach and 12% in hours against last quarter, but was still up in both reach and hours compared year on year.

… in Scotland

The prize for the biggest percentage increase in hours for a Scottish station goes Clyde 3 with a staggering 225% rise in total listening hours. However, Clyde 3’s figures have been a little erratic since its first RAJAR this time last year and the station is still only reporting 18,000 weekly listeners.

It’s been a decent quarter of commercial radio in Edinburgh. Forth One stands out with a 9% increase in reach and a 7% increase in hours, whilst its AM sister station Forth 2 has upped its average listening hours to 9.6.

Up in Aberdeen, Northsound 2 has seen a strong increase in total listening with a rise in hours of 14% since last quarter and Northsound 1 is up 11.7% year on year.

… in Wales

Some Welsh stations were in a bit of a valley after last RAJAR but there are some definite peaks this quarter.

The standout station is Swansea Sound with a reported 24% increase in total hours, which sounds good to us.

Smooth South Wales has also had a result, building on its increase in hours of 16% last quarter, with an impressive 56% increase this time, and a 41% rise in reach too.

Sister station Smooth North West & Wales has also seen a 16% spike in total hours.

Overall, there’s less of a North/South divide across Wales this quarter with a more even distribution of success stories.

Summary

With gains across the board, this has been one of the most impressive sets of listening figures for some time.  New stations, new platforms, and the increasing adoption of new ways to listen means that radio is in rude health in 2016.  The future is bright.  Make sure you’re tuned in and talk to us if you want to know more.