The UK’s biggest radio station, BBC Radio 2, has been told that it must do more to attract non-white listeners in a new review by the BBC Trust.
The review reveals that Radio 2 – which is heard by more than 15m people every week – reaches just 11.9% of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) adults over the age of 35.
Although the network’s non-white audience has grown over the past five years, the Trust said “this increase has largely been reflective of the overall growth of the station, and the disparity between reach among BAME and white adults has not reduced”.
It told the BBC to make real efforts to address the issue, adding that it would monitor the efforts in a further review in six months.
Some 34% of BAME adults listen to at least one of the BBC’s six radio stations each week. While this has increased slightly in the last five years (from 29%), it remains significantly lower than the overall UK radio average of 49%.
In terms of BBC TV, 2013-14 figures show that it reaches 74% of BAME adults each week, compared with 86% of all adults.
BBC Radio 1, with 10m+ weekly listeners the UK’s third biggest station, was applauded by the Trust for seeing its 15-29 year-old BAME audience increase from 17% in 2009 to 23% in 2013.
However, this was tempered with the fact that this figure still remains much lower than the average reach of 40% amongst this age group.
The Trust said it “recognised the significant efforts [Radio 1] has made to address this issue”, including the implementation of a more diverse presenter line-up.
[Pictured: Chris Evans, whose BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show reaches just under 10m people a week]Music Business Worldwide