Online overtakes FM and AM radio listening for the first time in the latest RAJAR listening figures

Brands owned by Global, Bauer, News UK and Nation are celebrating their highest ever listening figures with the latest RAJAR results for Q1 2024, whilst online listening overtakes AM and FM for the first time.

More people are listening to radio in the UK than ever before, with combined weekly audience for all radio in the UK now at an unprecedented high of 49.9 million, representing 88.6% of the adult population and breaking the previous record of 49.7 million set in Q1 2022.

Commercial radio has also set a new record with its highest ever audience reach of 39.7 million, which is up from its previous record of 39.3 million in the third quarter of 2023. Its share of listening has also grown year-on-year and is now at 54.2% compared to 51.4% in the same period last year. The BBC’s share now stands at 43.4%.

Online listening continues to grow and has now overtaken listening on analogue FM and AM platforms for the first time on all radio, with the highest ever online listening share of 27.8% compared to analogue which is 27%.

For all radio, smart speaker listening continues to grow and is now at 16.6% of total listening which is a 19% increase year-on-year. Smart speaker listening on commercial radio alone is even higher and stands at 20.7% overtaking commercial analogue listening (19.3%) for the first time.

In this round up, we’ll compare weekly reach quarter on quarter, unless otherwise specified. This means the number of people listening each week.

Listening hours is a more important figure for commercial radio, as advertising deals are done on how long people listen.

Observations – quarterly comparisons based on weekly reach

Global remains the UK’s number one commercial radio company with a record 27.6 million weekly listeners. Global has also had record hours (266 million), a record share (26.1%), and owns the top three commercial breakfast shows in London (Heart, LBC and Capital).

Heart has a new record with 12.4 million weekly listeners making it the biggest commercial radio brand.

Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden grows once again, beating Radio 1 Breakfast (adults) by more than 200,000 listeners.

Heart’s decades stations, Heart 70s (up 8% 727,000), Heart 80s (up 11% to 1.9m), and Heart 00s (up 20% to 994,000), all celebrate record-breaking figures, whilst Heart 90s drops 6% to 1.1m. Heart Dance is also up 17% to 970,000.

Capital brand goes over eight million listeners, with record-breaking reach for Capital XTRA which has more than two million people tuning in across the UK every week, giving it more than double the audience of BBC Radio 1Xtra.

Locally, 15 Capital areas went up whilst five went down. The north west of England and South Wales were the biggest risers.

Smooth Radio celebrates its best-ever audience figures with a record 6.5 million listeners adding 363,000 in the past three months. Its reach, hours and share have increased both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. Smooth North West remains the biggest commercial radio station outside London with over a million listeners, and Smooth London is back up over 1 million.

Of all the remaining Smooth frequencies, 13 went up (including Devon by 32%) and five went down, including Essex (-20%).

Smooth Country has grown in reach, hours and share both in the last quarter and year-on-year, with a new weekly audience of 358,000, and in its first set of results since launching in January, Smooth Relax reaches 348,000 people.

LBC has grown in reach, hours and share in the past quarter, adding 270,000 listeners. It now reaches 3.3 million people each week.

LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast has increased his audience to 1.4 million, growing in reach in the past quarter.

LBC News increases its reach with 990,000 people tuning in for the latest breaking news.

Record reach for Radio X brand with 2.2 million listeners. The Chris Moyles Show continues to entertain 1.2 million listeners every morning, increasing in reach, hours and share year-on-year.

Radio X Classic Rock has a weekly audience of 241,000 listeners – similar to last quarter’s 244,000.

The Official Big Top 40 from Global grows 16.5% in the last three months, giving it more than double the audience of BBC Radio 1 in its slot

Bauer Media Audio UK

The UK’s second largest commercial radio group, Bauer, is also reaching its biggest ever audience, with a record 24m weekly listeners tuning into its portfolio of owned and partner stations, up 6.9% year on year.

Greatest Hits Radio celebrates new highs, with 7.7m weekly listeners, an increase of 50% in 12 months. The figure includes the last quarter for Wave 105 which added over 400,000, plus the addition of analogue output in the east Midlands and Cornwall. There have also been TSA increases for GHR Lancashire, Liverpool and Manchester.

But its reach in London dropped 22% this quarter, going from 1.4m to 1.1m listeners. Around the country, ten stations went down, 47 increased, and one stayed the same.

Black Country & Shropshire up 67%, Cornwall up 47%, east Midlands up 48%, Lancashire up 63%, Suffolk up 40%, Tyne & Wear up 47% and Yorkshire & N Yorks up 41%.

Simon Mayo has the biggest commercial drivetime show and Rossie at Breakfast has a record 2.9m listeners (+39% YoY).

The Hits Radio Network reaches 6.7m a week, with the national Hits Radio brand reaching 4.5m listeners thanks to the addition of heritage FM brands across the north of England.

Across the frequencies, all but one station saw an increase in weekly reach. Bristol & SW up 71%, Cumbria up 70%, Oxford up 56% and West Yorks up 50%.

The Absolute Radio Network reaches a record 5.5M listeners and main station Absolute Radio is the UK’s biggest commercial digital station (it switched off AM a while ago) with 2.2m listeners.

The Magic Radio Network has grown its audience to a record 4.4m listeners, with main station Magic Radio reporting 3.1m listeners, and it’s another record for Magic Soul with 512k listeners.

The KISS Network reaches 4.1m listeners a week (down just 3%), while Kerrang! Radio’s listenership has grown by a third in the last year to 456k.

81% of Bauer listening is via digital devices, making it second to News UK, and is home to three of the top five digital commercial stations, #1 Absolute Radio, #2 KISSTORY, and #4 Absolute 80s. It’s ahead of the market in terms of listening via connected devices, with Bauer reporting 30.8% of listening via smart speaker, web and app.

News UK

News Broadcasting reports record-breaking RAJAR results as well this quarter, with listening hours up 5.6% year-on-year to 45.3m, while weekly reach stands at 6.6m listeners.

The talkSPORT network delivered its largest-ever audience of 3.7m listeners, an increase of 4.2% year-on-year, listening for 22.5m hours – up 10.8% year-on-year.

News Broadcasting remains the most digital national broadcaster, with 86% of its listening hours coming from digital platforms. In March 2024 it also received 49.3m UK views for its video content across Facebook & YouTube, 3.5x higher than any other radio group; attracting 9.6m unique UK viewers.

The Virgin Radio UK network, which includes Virgin Radio UK, Virgin Radio Anthems UK, Virgin Radio Chilled UK and Virgin Radio 80s Plus UK, reached 1.9m listeners, with listening hours across the network of 11.3m.

Talk Radio went up 4%, Times Radio increased 2%, and talkSPORT 2 went up 41%.

Nation Broadcasting

Nation Radio achieved record audiences in Wales, Scotland and London, and had a record high for Nation Radio South.

Wales continued its recent growth and posted a milestone weekly reach of 202,000, whilst Scotland recorded 146,000 weekly listeners, a new record high across Glasgow, Edinburgh and the central belt.

In London, Nation Radio increased its weekly audience to 189,000, making it one of the largest digital only services in the capital.

Nation Radio South saw its reach increase to 99,000, up 27% on the previous quarter in figures that do not include the recent signings of Steve Power, Selina Ross and Tony Shepherd.

With 47,000 weekly listeners, Nation Radio Yorkshire also posted a record audience for the brand in Yorkshire.


Starting with BBC Locals, it’s been another mixture of results across the network, with 23 going down, 18 going up, and two staying the same.

The total listening for all locals is down just 2% – or 134,000 people across England.

The biggest movers are Bristol down 40%, Suffolk down 22%, Three Counties down 21% and Wiltshire down 22%. BBC Radio Humberside saw its weekly reach go up 31%.

BBC Radio 1 has no change at 7.3m adult listeners, but records 8.2 million listeners age 10 and above. Greg James has 4.4 million (10+) listeners for Radio 1’s Breakfast Show.

BBC Radio 2 is static with 13.2m listeners, whilst breakfast with Zoe Ball is up slightly to 6.6m.

BBC Asian Network is the highest mover adding 22% extra listeners, taking it to 542,000 weekly reach.


Boom Radio is down slightly from 627,000 to 602,000, but has seen a yearly increase in hours.

GB News Radio continues to add reach, up 6% this quarter, taking it to 455,000 weekly listeners.

Fun Kids has its highest ever 10+ reach in London – 129,000, although adult listeners are down 14%.

KMFM Group in Kent has seen an increase of 11% in weekly reach, taking it to 187,000 listeners, an increase of 18,000 people.

Time 107.5 has gained a 74% increase – with weekly reach going from 8,000 to 14,000.

Original 106‘s reach and hours have increased both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, and has a market share of 15.8% and a reach of 97,000 – up 31% this quarter. Average listening time is 10.2 hours per day.

Sunrise Radio is doing well in London, with an extra 24% on its weekly reach, and 4% increase nationally.

Silk 106.9 was delt a blow with a 59% drop in weekly reach this quarter – with RAJAR saying it went down from 17,000 listeners to 7,000. Sister digital service Love 80s Manchester however went up 32% to 37,000.

Radio Essex reports a 51% increase – going from 41,000 to 62,000 listeners.

Mi-Soul, the London DAB station, adds an extra 73,000 listeners (46%) taking it to 234,000.

Radio Exe in Devon has its highest every audience – 45,000 adults tune in every week, and total listening is up 50% on this time last year.

And CountryLine Radio, which was Chris Country, and changed its name to the Big 615, before changing it back to CountryLine Radio, has seen an increase of 21% in London, taking it to 44,000 listeners.

Looking for more figures? Check out RadioToday’s RAJAR graphs by Vinnie Lo here. (updating soon – you might need to refresh)


Ashley Tabor-King CBE, Founder & Executive President of Global, said: “What an incredible day!! To have added a million listeners and achieve record reach, hours and share, hitting over 27 million listeners for the first time ever (27.6m) is a real moment. For connected listening to overtake analogue listening is testament to Global Player and all those who have worked so hard to create that platform.

“We are forever grateful to the millions of people who listen to our radio stations, and we will always work tirelessly to make everything our listeners hear the very best it can be. I’d like to acknowledge the continued work of every talented Globaller who truly deliver on our mission to make everyone’s day brighter!”

James Rea, Chief Broadcasting & Content Officer at Global, said: “This is a stunning set of record results for Global. I’m thrilled for our fantastic teams who work so hard to produce amazing content every day and we’re all incredibly grateful to our audiences right around the UK who continue to turn to Global’s brands in their millions.”

Simon Myciunka, CEO for Bauer Media Audio UK said, ‘It’s great to see another record performance for Bauer Media Audio UK, reflecting the ambition and confidence of the business as it continues to evolve. We are committed to driving even further growth as evidenced by significant recent investment in Hits Radio; delivering even more value for our advertising partners.’

Ben Cooper, outgoing Chief Content & Music Officer, Bauer Media Audio UK said: ‘A year of Ken Bruce on Greatest Hits Radio has changed the landscape of our industry, with huge gains in audiences for the station and Bauer as a whole. Listeners are loving our range of talented broadcasters across the portfolio with record results for Absolute Radio and Magic Radio Networks.’

News UK EVP, President of Broadcasting, Scott Taunton, said: “News Broadcasting delivers another set of record-breaking results, demonstrating once again the amazing engagement our on and off air talent develop with their audiences.

“It’s rewarding to see the investments we put into creating compelling digital-first content continue to pay off with online video viewing figures far surpassing our competitors. With the development of our News Studios offering – creating video content for News Broadcasting brands as well as The Sun and The Times – we look forward to seeing these figures continue to grow as we further solidify our position as the pioneers of digital broadcasting’s future.”

Nation’s Founder Jason Bryant said; “With a new record audience under our own brands of 859,000 listeners a week, Nation has consolidated its position as one of the UK’s largest independent radio companies. We are delighted to see Nation’s continued development and to see audience records smashed in London, Scotland and Wales. We anticipate further strong audience gains in the South over the next six months where we are already seeing very strong online audiences after recent schedule changes.”

Original 106’s Robin Galloway, group head of presentation, expressed his excitement over the record-breaking numbers. “This is a great day for Original 106 with its best set of listening figures ever. This is testimony to the talented on-air presenters, their amazing work ethic and an unrivalled team spirit. Local radio is thriving at DC Thomson.”

Robin added: “At Original 106, our commitment to our local communities is at the core of everything we do. We pride ourselves on delivering content that is not only entertaining but also deeply relevant to the lives of our listeners. From hourly news bulletins that cover local issues to supporting regional events and initiatives, we strive to be a true reflection of the vibrant North East community.

“Our success is a testament to the strong bond we share with our audience, and we remain dedicated to serving our communities and engaging with local listeners every single day.”

Aled Haydn Jones, Head of BBC Radio 1, said: “These are great figures for Radio 1 and being the biggest station in the country for young audiences, and Greg having the most popular young Breakfast Show across the UK, means that we are always working extra hard to deliver new music, new DJs and new content.”

GB News Commercial Director Nicole O’Shea said: “GB News Radio has started 2024 by growing even faster than it did last year, when we were already the fastest growing station in the country.

“It’s proof that our authentic brand of news and debate is increasingly resonating with listeners across the UK, and also that those listeners are increasingly valuable for advertisers.”

Tony Lit, MBE, MD Sunrise Radio comments, “After the release of Rajar Q1 2024 this morning, it’s great to see growth for Sunrise Radio’s audience both in London & Nationally.

“Last month I had a private audience and exclusive interview with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street, which gave our audience some insight into the UK’s first South Asian Prime Minister, also this month two lucky Sunrise Radio listeners enjoyed a competition prize of a 2-day cruise on the Royal Caribbeans Anthem of the Seas and just last weekend Sunrise Radio connected with its audience live from the Royal Caribbeans Oasis of the Seas.

“My interview with The Prime Minister is available on the Sunrise YouTube Channel or podcast. A film of Sunrise Radio’s experience on board the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas will be available on the Sunrise YouTube Channel very soon. As always I would like to thank our listeners for tuning in, our commercial partners for their support, and my fabulous Sunrise Team for their hard work…..let’s keep the magic going.”

Radiocentre’s CEO Matt Payton said: “Radio is on a roll. It’s fantastic to see this record-breaking set of listening results, showcasing the industry’s strength and its commitment to delivering for audiences and advertisers.

“To see commercial radio reach record audiences just shy of 40 million people each week is a fantastic achievement and shows how much people in the UK really value and trust the medium. The sustained growth of listening online and on smart speakers is also a timely reminder of the importance of new legislation safeguarding UK radio in the form of the new Media Bill, which returns to parliament next week.”