Media Top Stories

6music sees 50% audience boom in latest RAJARs

By | Published on Thursday 13 May 2010

If only it had all been an elaborate ruse to lure a whole new audience to their most credible of music services, then BBC bosses would deserve a gold star. But Mark Thompson’s ship of fools just aren’t that clever, so instead just look a bit silly. 

Yes, it’s RAJARS day, the day the latest lot of listening figures for British radio shows and stations are released, and the stand out story this time round is that BBC 6music, earmarked for closure by the BBC top guard, has seen its overall audience rise by an unprecedented 50% in the last quarter, presumably thanks to the mega-campaign to save the digital music station. 

Given one of the justifications for shutting 6, despite it epitomising what the BBC should be about, was the modest size of its audience, so the sudden growth in listening figures – to over a million – will  put yet more pressure onto the Corporation’s bigwigs to backtrack on this particular cutback plan. 

The BBC Trust’s consultation on all of the Corporation’s cutbacks and rejigs reaches its conclusion at the end of the month, and some had worried that the Save 6 campaign was slowly starting to lose momentum. But with the station scoring such a good RAJAR just three days after winning two gongs at the Sony Awards, 6 fans are going to be increasingly optimistic that the Trust will now have to force a u-turn on this particular bit of the BBC’s strategic review. 

BBC presenter Richard Bacon, who hosts a show on 6 as well as 5Live, indicated late last night that the music station’s latest RAJAR – made public at midnight – was going to be impressive. He subsequently tweeted: “A BBC Trust review said that not enough people had heard of 6music. The decision to close the station meant that everybody heard about it. And guess what – they love it”. 

There was some good news for BBC radio twonks in the latest RAJARS. Chris Evans has brought in over a million more listeners to the Radio 2 breakfast show since taking over from Terry Wogan at the start of the year, despite worries ratings for the nation’s biggest radio show might slump following Wogan’s retirement. 

With a weekly reach of 9.53 million, the Chris Evans show is now the biggest breakfast show in Europe, and considerably bigger that Chris Moyles’ show over on Radio 1, despite him also seeing an increase in listeners. You’ll remember Moyles welcomed the news that Evans would succeed Wogan by announcing it would enable his show to become biggest at breakfast. 

Vindicated by their brave decision to replace Wogan with Evans, BBC bosses will also be keen to point out the average listening age of his breakfast show listeners is 51. There were fears Evans would bring the age of Radio 2 listeners down, making the station compete even more head on with commercial rivals. 

We’ll have a scan of the rest of the RAJARs later today and update you on anything else interesting tomorrow. Normally we’d note that the RAJARs are statistically rather suspect, but given they’ve just given 6music a very good bill of health (I think you all know how we feel about the plans to shut 6) and have boosted the status of Chris Evans at Radio 2 (he’s one of my favourite radio presenters) we’ll gloss over that for now.