BBC Radio One 'lost almost fifth of listeners over past five years'

BBC Radio One has lost almost a fifth of its listeners over the past five years, new figures show.

Nick Grimshaw’s breakfast programme lost half a million listeners in the past year, but Radio 4′s Today show recorded its highest ever audience figures in the last three months of 2016.

Radio One as a whole pulled in 11.7 million per week in the last three months of 2011, but in the last quarter of 2016 that number was 9.6 million, a drop of 18%, according to the latest figures released by audience research body Rajar.

Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw (David Jensen/PA)

Nick’s breakfast show drew 5.4 million per week in the last quarter of 2016, falling from 5.9 million in the same quarter of 2015.

However, it did show an improvement on the 5.2 million he was pulling in earlier in 2016.

Chris Evans’s Radio Two breakfast show also fell in the ratings, losing more than 200,000 listeners between the end of 2015 and the end of 2016.

The audience dropped from 9.4 million to 9.2 million, but showed an improvement on the 9.1 million he was pulling in during the third quarter of 2016.

Chris Evans (Yui Mok/PA)

In contrast, Radio 4′s Today consistently improved its numbers, growing from seven million in the last quarter of 2015 to 7.4 million in the last three months of 2016.

Radio Three’s Breakfast show also did well with an audience of 647,000 in the last quarter of 2016, up 20% year-on-year.

Bob Shennan, director of BBC radio and music, said the growth of Today’s audience was heartening in the era of fake news.

He said: “With more competition for people’s time, it is heartening to see the increased relevance of live radio listening in their daily routines, and that the time they spend with us is growing again.

“In an era of fake news, echo chambers and significant shifts in global politics, the role of Radio 4′s Today as the trusted guide to the world around us is more important than ever.

“As Today celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, Radio 4 listeners continue to wake up to world-class journalism which scrutinises the headlines, holds those in power to account and enlightens them with stories that shape our society.”

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