BBC Radio 1Xtra has bucked the trend for ratings declines for BBC music stations in the latest set of RAJAR figures.
RAJAR has issued its Q4 figures for 2022, which cover live radio listening between September 19 and December 18.
BBC Radio 1Xtra posted a modest year-on-year increase of 1.6% to 756,000 weekly listeners. Nevertheless, it was the only BBC music station to record growth in listenership compared to the prior year’s Q4. Across BBC network radio, there was a decline of 2.8%.
1Xtra had an even better quarter-on-quarter increase in Q4, with its weekly audience up 4.4% compared to Q3 2022.
Last August, 1Xtra marked its 20th anniversary and it appears that the media and on-air coverage has helped deliver a ratings boost in the following quarter. The station had previously been at around a million listeners under the previous RAJAR measurement system, but has seen a series of quarterly declines prior to Q4. In the 12 months up to Q3, it lost 17.7% of its audience, but has now started to reverse that trend.
Otherwise, it was a disappointing RAJARS quarter for BBC music radio stations.
BBC Radio 1 was down 4.6% year-on-year to below eight million (7.795m), Radio 2 dipped 3.9% to 14.287m, Asian Network was off by 5.9% to 460,000 and BBC Radio 6 Music’s weekly audience dropped by 3.8% to 2.504m. 6 Music, which was up 1.6% on the prior quarter, remains the biggest digital-only station.
Commercial radio fared better in Q4 with a year-on-year increase across all national stations of 6.9%.
Global’s Media’s leading Heart network was up 1.3% year-on-year to 8.655m, although Radio X was down 5.7% to 1.986m.
Amid the club music boom, Global’s Capital Dance was once again a star performer with a 54.1% year-on-year increase to 912,000. Capital Xtra was up 9.3%.
For Bauer Media Audio UK, Absolute Radio Country achieved significant double-digit growth of 37.1% in the past year to 281,000, although it was down very slightly on the prior quarter.
Greatest Hits Radio network, which has signed up Ken Bruce from Radio 2, was up 31.4% year-on-year to 3.977m.
Hits Radio network was up 17.3% year-on-year to 6.637m, including a ratings boost for the breakfast show with Fleur East (up 28.5% to 455,000).
KISS stations experienced declining ratings in Q4, although Kisstory’s modest decrease of 1.5% to 2.265m means it remains a contender for the biggest digital-only station in future RAJARs results.
The RAJAR figures follow the announcement that Dee Ford has decided to step back from her role as group managing director, Bauer Media Audio UK.
Her career with the business spans more than 35 years, having started in sales at Radio City in Liverpool.