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The digital stations listeners are tuning in to...

It was a good quarter for digital stations, as a raft of services recorded strong audience growth.

The most popular digital-only station remained BBC 6 Music with a weekly reach of 2.52 million listeners, followed by KISSTORY, the most popular commercial digital-only station, with a new record reach of 2.16 million listeners, a growth of 18.4% year on year, according to the latest RAJAR audience figures.

An analysis of year on year figures shows that a number of other digital radio stations have also seen growth:

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra saw its audience grow 1.8% year on year to reach 1.67 million listeners.

Smooth Extra grew by 30% to reach 1.16 million listeners.

Meanwhile, Absolute Radio 90s grew by 21% over the last twelve months to reach 913,000 listeners, no doubt aided by its arrival on the national Digital One multiplex at the beginning of the year, dramatically boosting its reach.

Radio X, which has 79% of its listening via digital platforms, grew by 13% to reach a new record of 1.72 million listeners.

Other strong station performances include Heart 80s, which grew by 25% to reach 1.36 million listeners.

Heart extra grew by 49% to reach 681,000 listeners.

Meanwhile, smaller DAB stations have also benefited from the overall increase in digital radio listening recorded over the past year.

Jazz FM (Sound Digital, Sky and online) grew by 15% to reach 657,000 listeners. Magic Soul (local DAB in some locations & online) grew by 50% to reach 355,000; and Magic Chilled (Sound Digital) grew by 24% to reach 336,000 listeners.

Jazz FM and Magic Chilled can hope to increase their audience levels further in the coming months, following a recent increase in the coverage of the Sound Digital multiplex in parts of the UK. 

And all stations will be looking at how they can continue to exploit the ongoing rise in online, mobile and smart-speaker listening, which can provide listeners with higher quality stereo sound at home than traditional DAB broadcasts. 49% of the last year's growth in digital listening came from online listening.