BBC Radio 1 has lost 2m listeners in 5 years… as 6 Music keeps growing

BBC Radio 1 has once again failed to draw an audience of more 10m in the latest Rajars – with its listenership declining by two million people since 2011.

In the three months to end of September (Q3), Radio 1’s Rajar audience leveled out at 9.87m, down 6.5% – or around 700,000 – from the 10.56m it attracted in the same period of 2015.

The station’s audience fell below 10m listeners (9.46m) in the three months to end of June (Q2), with a million people switching off compared to the same period in 2015.

As you can see in the chart below, Radio 1’s Q3 Rajar peak came in 2011with 11.85m listeners.

Since then, the company’s Q3 audience has declined by 1.98m.

The overall radio audience across the UK, meanwhile, has grown by 1.03m people in the same five-year timeframe, according to Rajar.

The BBC said in reaction to the stats that Radio 1’s total audience actually grew to 10.9m in the past quarter when 10-to-14-year-olds were included.

(Presumably, the station feels that 0-to-9-year olds are not yet capable of making informed opinions about their wireless choices. Unlike those tastemaking 10-year-olds.)

Radio 1/1Xtra controller Ben Cooper (pictured) said: “Reaching 11 million people and putting on a further half a million 10-24 year olds shows that Radio 1 is doing a great job for young listeners.

“Although as ever, Rajar figures are only part of the picture and should be seen alongside the increase to 1.5 million views a day on our YouTube channel and our 8.5 million users on social media.”

That aren’t unimpressive stats – but it’s probably fair to do a little like-for-like due diligence on those YouTube stats.

Radio 1 in Q3: 1.5m YouTube views a day.

The Chainsmokers in September: 12.6m official YouTube views a day.

It’s a jungle out there.


Better Rajar news came for BBC 6Music, which continued it complete ineptitude at manufacturing excuses for audience declines by conveniently failing to suffer any audience declines.

The digital-only station hit 2.342m listeners in the three months to end of September, up 7% on the 2.188m recorded in the same quarter of 2015.

For the stat fans amongst you, that means 6Music now boasts an audience 23.7% of the size of Radio 1’s.

Going back in the Rajar time machine once more, we can see that in 2011, 6Music’s Q3 Rajar audience stood at 1.23m people – just 10.4% of Radio’s 1’s audience.

If both audiences keep moving in the same direction… well, it at least makes you wonder what will happen when FM broadcast gets switched off in the coming years.Music Business Worldwide

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