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Rajars: 6 Music audience breaks through 1.5m listeners

Paul Williams
Rajars: 6 Music audience breaks through 1.5m listeners

BBC 6 Music's audience has smashed through one and a half million people for the first time with 1.6 million tuning in during Q3.

The station's reach rose 31.8% year-on-year to a new record high, while increased 17.5% between quarters, according to newly-released Rajar figures.

Fellow digital-only service 1Xtra also had a strong quarter with its audience rising annually by 23.2% to 1.1 million people, although this represented a 2.0% drop compared to Q2.

While 6 Music hit a new high, sister station Radio 2 saw its audience dip below 14 million, although it comfortably remained the UK's most-listened-to station. Some 13.9 million people listened during the third quarter, down from 14.3 million during the corresponding period in 2011 and compared to 14.5 million in Q2 this year.

Radio 1 was also in decline, dropping 5.5% annually and 0.6% on the quarter to 11.2 million, while Radio 3 rose 4.8% on the year and 5.5% between quarters to 2.2 million.

Global Radio's popular music networks Capital and Heart both dipped with Capital down 2.5% annually and 1.8% quarter-on-quarter to 6.9 milllion as Heart dropped 4.1% compared to 12 months ago and 0.6% on the quarter to 7.3 million. The same group's Classic FM steadied at 5.5 million, 1.2% higher than the year before, while XFM dropped nearly 10% on the year to 894,000.

Absolute Radio's total audience dropped back by 3.7% annually and 12.4% across the three months to 1.5 million, although there were quarterly gains for several of its specialist, digital-only services, including Absolute Radio 00s (+17.2%), Absolute Radio 60s (+5.6%) and Absolute Radio 90s (+5.1%).

Among Bauer's networked services, Kiss matched its Q2 audience while grew 5.1% on the year to 4.4 million and Magic dropped 0.9% annually but was up 2.8% between quarters to 3.8 million. Among the group's digital-only services, there was a double-digit annual decline for The Hits (-10.3%), but notable gains for Heat (+7.9%) and Smash Hits (+9.1%).

Former GMG services Real and Smooth, which are subject to a Global Radio takeover, both declined on a quarterly and annual basis. Real was down 10.2% annually and 3.4% quarter-on-quarter to 2.3 million and Smooth slipped 4.1% year-on-year and was 2.1% down on Q2 at 3.2 million.

Jazz FM had a strong quarter, growing 22.8% annually to 624,000, while Planet Rock dropped 2.9% to 864,000.

Rajar says 89% of the UK population listened to the radio during the quarter, while digital listening rose 6% annually and claimed 31.3% of all listening over the three months. This compares to 28.2% in the same period last year.

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Tags: 6Music, Radio 1, Radio 2, xfm, 1xtra, RAJARS, Absolute Radio, Magic FM, Heart, Capital Network, classic FM, Kiss, Reading, Jazz FM, Smooth Radio, planet rock, Radio 3

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