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Local radio RAJAR round up for Q3 2015

by RadioToday UK
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There’s a number of increases across the local and regional commercial radio network this quarter – including Smooth Radio North East becoming the biggest station in the region.

Here are some of the highlights for Q3, 2015:

  • The first RAJAR for Downtown County gives the station 85,000 listeners on DAB
  • Smooth Radio North East records its highest ever audience with 517,000 weekly listeners – more than Capital, Heart and Metro
  • RockSport has dropped RAJAR after its first and only survey which gave them 7,000 listeners
  • Tay 3 has also been removed from RAJAR after its first RAJAR of just 1,000 listeners
  • All Free Radio stations and Gem 106 have increased their audience this quarter
  • Wessex FM is celebrating its highest audience figures ever with 45% reach
  • BBC Radio Manchester records a record high


Every Free Radio FM station has seen an increase in weekly listeners this quarter, with Free Radio Birmingham seeing the biggest increase of 30,000 people. Gem 106 has also see a rise, making it one of the best survey periods for Orion Media.

And on AM, Free Radio 80s (West Midlands) shows a growth in listeners of 31% in the last three months with total listening growing by 40% in the same period.

Orion Media Chief Executive, Adrian Serle, commented: “This is a strong set of figures and it’s particularly pleasing to see reach growth for all of our stations in the last three months; and leading market positions in the East and West Midlands for both brands”.


BBC Local/Regional radio reached 8.73 million listeners per week, from 8.84m last quarter and 8.95m last year.

BBC Radio Manchester has recorded its highest listener figures for three years. Kate Squire, managing editor of BBC Radio Manchester, said: “I’m really pleased we’ve continued to grow our audience for the fifth quarter in a row. We operate in a very competitive market so it is fantastic people in Greater Manchester are increasingly enjoying our mix of great music and the biggest local personalities plus local news and sport.”


Smooth Radio North East has joined its sister station in the North West by becoming the biggest radio station in its market. With 517,000 weekly listeners, Smooth North East now has more listeners than Capital (516,000), Metro Radio (368,000) and Heart North East (285,000).

Pauline Peniche, Smooth Radio North East Station Director, said: “Today is a historic and very special day for Smooth Radio North East. To have increased our listeners to over half a million for the first time and be commercial number one for reach, market share and total listening hours is an incredible result. With such a strong music proposition and an exceptional line up of talented presenters, it is no surprise that Smooth continues to grow from strength to strength in our market place and it’s great to see the people of the North East really engaging with our brand!”

Smooth North West continues to be the biggest station in the North West but has lost its recently acquired title of the biggest station outside London, with Capital Yorkshire back on top.


JACK Oxfordshire has gained a 50% increase in total listening hours over the past 12 months. The station is celebrating being just 4,000 listeners behind the local Heart station in its own TSA.

Talking of JACK, the former JACK stations in Swindon, Bristol and Solent, which are all now branded as SAM FM, all lost listeners this quarter. SAM FM South Coast, which has just requested a format change, lost the most listeners, going from 216,000 to 178,000.


The new Downtown Network of Downtown Radio and Downtown Country reaches 290,000 listeners – an extra 21,000 from last year.

Key 103 continues to lose listeners in Manchester – going down from 387,000 listeners to 382,000 listeners in the last three months. Meanwhile, rival Capital Manchester increases audience to 576,000 weekly listeners from 565,000 in the same period.


UTV’s network of local stations are seeing a 2% collective increase this quarter. Wish FM has recorded its highest reach in recent times with 90,000 listeners – compared with 56,000 last year.

Tower FM in Bolton and Bury, Wire FM in Warrington, Widnes and Runcorn, Wish FM in Wigan and St Helens have also posted increases across the board, with a combined 39% jump in reach, and hours going up by 19%, both year on year.

Terry Underhill, Group Programme Director for UTV Media GB, said: “These are a good, strong set of results for stations, and demonstrate the hard work that the teams put in to staying at the heart of their communities. These robust numbers in an increasingly competitive market show why we’re still a great proposition for listeners and advertisers alike.”

Note; We are adding more facts, figures and quotes to the end of this article as we continue to analyse results and receive information from stations, so please let us know how you’ve done via

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