Why rock rules the airwaves
Last week's Rajar results have given both commercial and BBC radio stations many reasons to be cheerful, with clear wins across the board.
Steve Parkinson: managing director of Bauer Radio London
The stats say it all: 91% of the UK population tune into radio every week – with commercial radio reach up almost 6% year on year, reaching over 35 million listeners every week for the first time. Once again, radio shows it can continue to flourish with strong brands and creative product strategies delivered across more platforms than ever before.
Trends wise, with Absolute Radio, Planet Rock and BBC 6 Music all performing extremely well, there is something to be said for "real" music winning the hearts and diaries of listeners this time around.
In today’s digital world, it is also positive that audiences to radio via a digital platform have increased by 16% year on year. Twenty-eight million people now tune in to radio via a digitally enabled receiver (DAB, DTV, Online) each week (up from 24.2 million in Q2, 2012).
Apps, such as Kiss’s KissKube IOS offering, which allows listeners to tune into Kiss UK, Kiss Fresh and Kisstory, are making it easier to listen to radio whenever and wherever – with more channel options than at any other time in the history of radio.
At Bauer, we’re particularly proud of the record reach and hours listened for Planet Rock – a result of our focus on product excellence and investment in content since we acquired the station in February. An emphasis on programming, including a brand new evening schedule and the addition of presenter talent such as Al Murray, has been well received by listeners and advertisers alike.
Throughout the changes, a key factor in the success is that we’ve stayed true to the station’s ethos – being passionate about great music. When we bought the station, we had the ambition of hitting one million listeners and to have done it so quickly is testament to Ric Blaxill and his hard-working team.
On another note, fresh new music emerging from the likes of Disclosure, Rudimental and Avicii gives the likes of Kiss and Radio 1 some breadth and depth after what was a fairly intense Rihanna / Guetta phase across music radio. Nothing wrong with a bit of Ri-Ri and the Frenchman of course, but certainly for stations like Kiss, this evolution in music has broadened appeal and engagement for the main Kiss UK output, and a well-timed injection of newer sounds for the newly launched Kiss Fresh channel.
In London, BBC Radio 4 and LBC have both enjoyed good results again, showing that speech and conversation in different formats also have a place on the dial.
So as we move in to the second part of the summer, it’s the strongest brands with a clearly defined proposition that are winning the day.
I am sure that many a programme director agrees: "Long may that continue!"
Steve Parkinson is managing director of Bauer Radio London
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