Two flagship BBC radio stations have been losing listeners since the start of the year

Audiences at two of the BBC’s flagship radio stations have fallen sharply since the start of the year, according to new figures.

Radio 5 Live and Radio 1 saw their average weekly listeners drop by 13% and 8% respectively, with 5 Live losing more than three-quarters of a million in six months.

However, other stations remained stable, with 6 Music’s audience hitting a new high.

Greg James hosts the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast (Ian West/PA)

Radio 5 Live lost 436,000 listeners between the first and second quarters, the period between March and June 2022, according to figures from research body Rajar.

A semi-annual comparison of the numbers indicates a drop of 763,000 for the station.

Radio 1 recorded a quarterly drop of 201,000, while the half-year drop was 692,000.

The quarter-on-quarter drop for Radio 4, excluding 4 Extra, was 308,000 – while its half-year drop was 187,000.

However, Radio 2 and Radio 3 remained stable from quarter to quarter.

Radio 1’s breakfast show with Greg James and Radio 2’s breakfast show with Zoe Ball have generally held steady over the same period, with James’ show gaining 25,000 listeners to reach 4 .14 ​​million.

Aled Haydn Jones, Director of BBC Radio 1, said: “I am delighted to see an increase in listeners for Radio 1’s Breakfast Show with Greg James, as well as the fact that it remains number one for our audience.

“It’s good to see that the strategy we’ve developed at Radio 1 is working, indicating the strong connection the station has with young people across the UK on Radio, YouTube, iPlayer and social media.”

GB News radio, which launched in July 2021, saw a quarterly increase of 38,000, from a relatively low base of 239,000 in March this year.

Rajar cautioned against comparisons with viewing figures from before the Covid-19 pandemic, due to a change in the way he collects his data.

Previously, all figures were compiled using face-to-face market research, but this has now been replaced by a mixture of in-person surveys and data collected remotely via apps on smartphones and tablets.

The release of next quarter’s results will mark one year since the change, allowing for a year-over-year analysis that offers insight into any long-term changes in auditor behavior.

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