More listeners are using digital radio than ever before, according to new figures released today.
Nearly half of all radio listening is now via DAB digital radio, digital television and online or through apps. The share of listening via a digital radio platform has been seen as a key part of any decision about a digital radio switchover. The Government has said that 50% of listening needs to be via digital radio before it considers a switchover.
The share of listening via digital radio now stands at 47.2%, up from 44.1% for the same period last year, according to RAJAR. In some parts of the UK more people are listening digitally rather than on AM and FM. A majority 25 to 54 year olds also listen to digital radio rather than via analogue.
Digital listening is more popular for national radio stations. A third of local radio listening is via a digital radio platform. The figures also reveal that 89% of the UK population listens to the radio every week and stays ‘tuned in’ for an average 21.2 hours.
The most popular digital radio station in the UK is BBC 6 Music, which now has 2.35 million listeners. The Shaun Keaveny Breakfast Show is the most listened to programme on the station. Kisstory is the most popular commercial (non-BBC) digital-only station with 1.55 million listeners.
The CEO of Digital Radio UK, Ford Ennals, sees the transition to digital radio as having taken another important step.
“We are just 2.8 percentage points from 50% and 10 areas of the UK and three different age categories are already over 50% digital listening,” said Ford Ennals.
“We look forward to the achievement of the 50% listening threshold set by Government and working with the radio industry to determine a clear road map for radio’s digital future.”
The first quarter of the year traditionally sees a boost from digital radio sales over Christmas.
Digital radio listening in cars has also increased by a third year-on-year as more cars come with DAB as standard.