Radio 4 discovers its `lost' audience found

RADIO 4 has seen its audience leap an extra 1.5m listeners a week thanks to a more accurate type of listener research.

Rajar, the radio industry's audience measurement system, has been overhauled and the key beneficiary is Radio 4, a network badly buffeted by fluctuating audiences last year when its schedule was re-launched. The station's weekly audience has risen from just under 8 million a week at the end of 1998 to 9.5 million in the first three months of this year.

Under the new measurement system listeners no longer fill in diaries for a whole household's listening. Instead they keep diaries of just their own habits. It is thought that listeners of Radio 4 and other big stations, including Classic FM and Virgin, were being "lost" under the old measurement system because they were tuning in together.

The new study also shows that Radio 4's Today programme, which has been criticised since it became longer in April last year, has captured the biggest share of morning listeners. The new figures put Today's share of the morning audience at 15 per cent, which is one percentage point above the 14 per cent who tune into Terry Wogan on Radio 2. Zoe Ball on Radio 1 has 9.8 per cent of the morning audience.

Today is also the biggest breakfast show in pure listener numbers: over 6 million people tune in every week, compared with 5.5 million for Terry Wogan and for Zoe Ball on Radio 1. Chris Evans' Virgin Radio show, which is weak across the country but strong in London, gets 2.7 million listeners in the mornings, up 380,000 on the previous period. Radio 5 Live's breakfast show, which won the Sony breakfast show award this year, gets 2 million listeners. In all, the BBC takes 44 per cent of the nation's listeners in the morning.

Every part of Radio 4's schedule has done well in the research, but the afternoon dramas are particularly healthy. Over 2 million people tune in to some dramas - a higher figure than the television audience for many of the dramas on BBC 2 and Channel 4.

John Peel's multi-award winning Home Truths programme on Saturday mornings has doubled its audience to 1.9 million in under a year and takes a 12 per cent share of the radio audience on Saturday mornings.

Jenny Abramski, the BBC's director of radio, said yesterday that she was unable to compare listening figures from the period before the methodology changed, but she said the new system showed the strength of radio. "I am pleased that the new methodology has confirmed what we've always believed - that radio listening is extremely healthy in this country and is essential to people's lives. Over 89 per cent of the population listens each week, a total of 46.2 million people, and I am delighted that the BBC accounts for half of that success."

Commercial channels that did well in the new survey include Classic FM, which increased its weekly audience to 6 million from 5.1 million, and Virgin, which had its highest number of listeners with 4.6 million tuning in a week.

The Listeners

Weekly Audience Breakfast Show

Radio 1 10.8m 5.5m

Radio 2 9.7m 5.5m

Radio 4 9.5m 6.2m

Classic FM 6m 2.9m

Radio 5 Live 5.8m 2m

Virgin Radio 4.6m 2.7m

Capital Radio 2.9m 2m

Talk Radio 2.3m 0.75m

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform