6 Music's audience numbers are moving ever closer to a 2 million breakthrough with a record 1.89 million people turning into the digital station in Q4.
The new Rajar figure represents a 16.7% rise on the quarter and 31.0% on the year, meaning it attracted 448,000 more listeners compared to the same period a year ago. By contrast sister BBC digital music station Radio 1Xtra fell back between quarters, dropping 6.3%, although it was up 2.7% on the year to 1.04 million.
6 Music's positive Rajar figures were joined by an encouraging performance by sister station Radio 1 whose reach increased 8.7% over the three months and by 5.9% annually to take it above the 15 million mark. Some 15.11 million people listened and its audience share grew from 15.6% to 17.6%.
Radio 1's reach dipped slightly by 1.0% between quarters and was down 4.9% year-on-year to 11.09 million, while among the commercial services Absolute Radio had an excellent run, growing by 14.7% in total quarter-on-quarter and by 10.8% annually to 1.77 million. This was its highest numbers in four years.
Global's Capital Network was almost static listener-wise between quarters, dropping 0.2%, while fell 3.4% annually to 6.84 million, while the sister Heart Network was up 0.3% quarterly and down 1.4% on the year to 7.36 million. Big gainers in the commercial sector included Bauer's digital service Heat, which was up 12.6% on the quarter and 18.4% on the year to 767,000, while sister service Q grew by 21.0% on the quarter but was down 30.7% on the year to 196,000.
Subject to takeover speculation, Planet Rock rose 1.5% across the three months and 8.1% year-on-year to 877,000, while there was an even bigger annual rise for another independently-owned station, Jazz FM, which went up 18.8% on the year, though was down 2.6% on the quarter to 608,000.