Is Radio bucking the gloom merchants?

With all the economic uncertainty affecting potential media expenditure, forecasts for radio show continued revenue growth, again outperforming the overall display market place, with a predicted 5.6% revenue increase for 2019 over 2018 – and this on the back of a 5% YOY increase over 2017.

These increases are built on record audience levels with Commercial radio reaching 35.8m listeners, which is 1.5m more than the BBC. However as people generally listen to BBC Stations for longer, the BBC has a bigger overall listening share: 51.7% compared to Commercial Radio’s 45.7%.*

The success of increased audiences has been down to the investment, development and evolving programming from the various radio groups:   Global Radio’s Heart Network remains the UK’s most popular commercial network with a weekly reach of 9.7m, with Bauer offering new formats by rebranding their FM station to Hits Radio in 2018 and their AM stations to Greatest Hits Radio in early 2019.

Commercial Radio offers a wide range of entertainment across both speech and music through a combination of local, regional and national stations.  Its long term outlook is looking rosier, too, as testified by its ability to attract big names such as Eddie Mair (who recently moved from the BBC after 30 years to LBC) and the much heralded Chris Evans return to Commercial radio. There is no reason why commercial radio cannot continue to increase its listener base. 

John Alligan

* The disparity in the two figures is down to what is called ‘Other Listeners’ this stands for any listeners that do not listen to stations that are not covered by RAJAR (Industry measurement system) and could include foreign stations or short term licences.

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