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6 Music and Absolute 80s lead digital-only radio listener surge

Digital-only radio stations are celebrating large increases in listeners today, with BBC 6 Music top of the pack with a 15% boost in listeners and Absolute 80's seeing an 18% rise.

According to the latest quarterly set of figures from industry radio audience measurement organisation RAJAR, BBC 6 Music is the leading digital-only station and grew by 15% to a new record of almost 2 million listeners (1.994 million). It puts the station further ahead of BBC Radio 3, with the two stations at the centre of a recent debate, triggered by MP Tom Watson, on whether 6 Music should take Radio 3's FM slot.

Absolute Radio 80's, the leading commercial digital-only station, also saw a record number of listeners at 1.432 million, an increase of 18%. The overall Absolute Radio Network of stations saw growth of 20% in digital listeners.

The boost in digital radio hours comes as more listen to digital radio in-car. Digital Radio UK points out that "a record 13.8% of in-car hours are now listened to on digital and a record 7.3 million people now listen to digital radio in their car each week, an increase of 1.6 million people year on year. "

It wasn't all good news for digital radio though: the latest figures do reveal that radio listening on digital TVs, e.g. via Freeview or Sky, declined by 4% to 5.0% year on year. But there's the possibility some of these listeners have moved to online/mobile app listening on their home wi-fi.