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Digital radio stations get record audiences as analogue declines

BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 4 extra have seen their biggest audiences in the last quarter, according to the latest round of radio listening figures released by RAJAR.

It marks yet another increase for 6Music, which is still ahead of BBC Radio 3, which also broke the 2 million listener mark last quarter.

Paul Rodgers, Head of Programmes at 6Music said: "Reaching 2 million listeners is great achievement for a digital radio station. I’d like to thank every one of you, however you choose to tune in."

The figures also show a sharp increase in the number of listeners tuning into DAB digital radio stations in their car, and in London and North West England, more listeners in total now tune into digital radio than analogue radio. Overall, 25.2% of radio listening is via DAB.

Digital listening at home, which includes all digital radio platforms, has overtaken analogue listening at home for the first time.

Digital radio listening via digital TV platforms such as Sky and Freeview fell by 11% year-on-year - another drop from the last year-on-year figures released in October 2014.

Responding to the increase in digital radio listeners, Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “The shift to digital listening continues, with digital listening in home now overtaking analogue listening, and DAB is leading the way. The fact that over 25% of radio listening is now on DAB and the success of the national commercial stations on the Digital One DAB network strongly makes the case for the benefits of the launch of D2 – the second national DAB network.”

The two bidders for the D2 (Digital 2) network both promise to provide cheaper DAB capacity for stations that have either been priced out of a slot - even a mono slot - on Digital 1, or who can't get a slot on Digital 1 in the first place. Some listeners have told a516digital that they hope that niche stations offered a cheaper mono slot on D2 will facilitate more stereo slots for mainstream stations on Digital 1, for the benefit of listening to stereo DAB music broadcasts in-car.

DAB figures increase
DAB listening in-car
now at 7.6 million reach
% of population with DAB access
now at 26 million adults
Digital One stations
Average increase from stations on the Digital One DAB multiplex.
Increase in listening since national launch on DAB.
Year-on-year / RAJAR / Digital Radio UK

Listening at home
Digital Radio
7.6 million reach
Analogue Radio
26 million adults
RAJAR/Digital Radio UK. Includes all digital platforms.
Total analogue listening (including in-car) 56% nationally, but below 50% in London and North West England.

Record Reach for BBC Digital Radio stations
BBC Radio 6 Music
2.08 million listener reach
BBC Radio 4 Extra
1.7 million listener reach

Strong figures for commercial radio
Smooth Radio
1.9 million digital listeners
4.8 million listeners in total
Kiss Fresh
457,000 listeners
1.08 million listeners
Absolute Radio 80s
1.4 million listeners
RAJAR. All platforms. Year-on-year


  1. I notice how these figures have been massaged. They trumpet digital listening being just over half of all listening, and how great this is for DAB. But only the detailed figures show that DAB is a quarter of all listening, so half of that digital listening is using other platforms. This might be mostly internet, but there aren't any figures to comfirm that here.


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