Despite the advent of modern media and internet technologies, radio remains one of the most popular forms of broadcasting for news, music, podcasts, you name it!
To prove that, we’ve collected some of the most exciting radio listening statistics for the UK, including listener demographics and market statistics.
Ready to tune in?
The latest radio listening figures of the Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) reveal that almost 90% of the adult UK population listens to live radio for a weekly average of 20.4 hours.
Moreover, these impressive numbers accounted for 1.012 billion hours of radio consumption.
The same RAJAR radio statistics reveal that approximately 42 million listeners older than 15 years of age use digitally-enabled platforms such as DAB, digital TVs, mobile apps, smart speakers, and browsers to listen to the radio.
Furthermore, 20% of the same respondents said they tune in to their favourite radio stations via a smart speaker each day.
Using mobiles and tablets to listen to the radio is less common, as only 32% of RAJAR’s interviewees answered they use their mobile devices at least once a month.
As for the platform share of listening, the RAJAR radio stats reveal that most listeners (68%) use a digital platform, while the other 32% access traditional AM/FM waves.
The share of digital listeners is further segmented by the platform they use, with DAB leading the way with 41%, followed by website/apps with 12%, and smart speakers with 10%.
With 60% of all digital listening hours, DAB listeners accumulate 416 million hours in an average week before web and app users with 126 million and smart speaker owners with 101 million.
The latest radio ratings, collected by RAJAR in Q1 2022, show that BBC Radio 2 is the nation’s go-to radio station, with a weekly reach of over 14.5 million every week.
Thanks to the popularity of the other BBC radio stations (especially BBC 1, BBC 4, and BBC 5), the total weekly reach of BBC’s radio programmes exceeded 30.8 during the same quarter.
Heart’s radio stations accumulate over 65 million listening hours weekly, the most out of all commercial radio brands in the UK. Moreover, individual members of the Heart radio listenership average around 6.5 listening hours per week.
Recent radio station listening statistics collected near the end of 2021 show that the majority of the radio listenership (70%) enjoy listening to live broadcasts. On-demand music with 15% and podcasts with 5% follow with a much smaller distribution.
In a Q3 2021 survey on the most listened to radio shows in the UK, 49% of respondents shared positive feelings about the ‘news and weather’ segment, while ‘Desert Island Discs’ was voted as the second-most popular radio show by 36% of the interviewees.
A recent one-year survey (2019/20) on radio demographics shows that many older listeners, especially those over 54, still rely on analogue radio devices.
However, these age groups depend even more on DAB radios, in use by 42% of listeners over 54 years of age and 43% of those between 35 and 54.
This age group is represented even more poorly with other modern devices, such as laptops (6%), tablets (4%), and game consoles (1%).
RAJAR’s latest radio listeners’ statistics for the UK also show that close to 70% of Brits enjoy their favourite radio shows from the comfort of their own homes.
Furthermore, other 60% said they also listen while in the car, while 20% of respondents answered they listen to the radio at work or somewhere else.
The most recent IBISWorld end-of-year report reveals the radio industry size is around £1 billion and that 700 businesses with a total of 6,869 workers operate within this sector.
A long-term survey (2007–2020) on the revenue accrued by the radio industry shows a yearly revenue generation of around £1.3 billion since 2014, while the highest revenue numbers on record (£1.4 billion) were registered in 2011.
The UK commercial radio market size had been rising steadily since 2009 (£259.4 million) until 2019 (£379.3 million) before experiencing a Covid-19-influenced drop in 2020 to £357.1 million and rising to an all-time high of £402.8 million in 2021.
After growing from £537 million in 2013 to £702.7 in 2019, radio advertisement spending dropped to £577.1 in 2022 due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, within a year, it has recovered significantly to jump to an impressive £718.7 million in 2021.
For the 2021/22 fiscal year ending with April, the largest spender in the radio advertising sector was Camelot Group Plc, with expenditures over £18.2 million.
However, Her Majesty’s Government came a close second, having spent £18.18 million to advertise government-led or -backed campaigns and services.
The same statistics on radio advertising also show Sky UK Ltd and McDonald’s Ltd not far behind with spending of up to £17.62 million and £17.54 million, respectively.
During the same year as the Covid-19 outbreak, the UK radio industry employed around 14,000 workers—a decrease of 7,000 employees from the 21,000 reported in 2012.
The impressive radio listenership statistics listed above prove that radio is still one of the UK’s most popular media for getting the latest news, listening to music, enjoying talk shows, podcasts, or even a radio drama or two. However, as shown by current trends, the popularity of analogue radio is on a steep decline, and digital radio listening, especially on modern devices, is here to stay.
RAJAR reports that almost 50 million Brits regularly tune in to their favourite radio stations.
The average UK listener tunes into 20.4 radio hours a week.
Radio listening in the UK is an activity enjoyed by all age groups.
Per the latest radio listening statistics released by RAJAR (listed above), most UK citizens still enjoy listening to the radio, albeit via digital platforms nowadays.
Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.