RAJAR Q1 2022

The RAJAR results for Q1 2022 are in. The good news for advertisers is that Commercial Radio has achieved its biggest ever reach with 37.2 million listeners giving it a 48.4% share. This means it’s close to overtaking the BBC in terms of share of listening.

Overnight, our radio experts have been beavering away to bring you the highlights of the latest figures, so here goes…

National Stations and Networks

Heart Network remains the highest reaching brand with 8.5 million weekly listeners across the main network, which is the same as last quarter, or over 10.2 million including the spin off stations.

The Greatest Hits Network is living up to its name, putting in a simply stunning quarter with a growth in weekly reach of 26%. 4.2 million people are now tuning in every week. The network has also seen an impressive 12.3% growth in total listening hours, and now it’s total share is just shy of 3%.

Another gold medal in this RAJAR survey goes to the Gold Network, reporting its highest ever weekly reach – up 8% on the last quarter from 1.35 to 1.45 million.

Over at Classic FM, they’ve gained 2% more listeners this quarter, with a weekly reach of 5.16 million, up from 5.06 million in Q4 2021. Average listening hours have been stronger than ever in the last 2 surveys, resulting in a 16 year high in total listening hours per week of 44.5 million.

As you might expect, the speech stations are doing well as both the LBC Brand and talkSPORT Network have grown reach and total hours. LBC has reported its highest ever weekly reach at 3.5 million, up 9% quarter on quarter, and total listening hours are up 7% to 31.5 million, another record. talkSPORT is now reaching 3.26 million listeners, up 5% from 3.1 million last quarter and total hours are up by 3%.

Digital Listening and Digital Only Stations

Overall, digital listening has been on an upward trend for the last few years and it’s a trend that’s continued, now representing 65.8% of all radio listening. DAB is now the most popular way to listen digitally, accounting for 43% of all listening. 41 million adults, or 74% of the population aged 15+, now tune into digital radio every week with an impressive 69% of listeners claiming to own or have access to a DAB radio.

There are two more stats that are important to note. Firstly, digital listening by motorists in cars now accounts for 53% of all in car listening.  The second stat of note is that those tuning in via smart speakers now represent 10% of all listening. It’s worth mentioning that this is the first time smart speaker listening has been included as part of the main RAJAR survey.

In terms of digital station performance, people have been voting with their feet as Dance music focused stations performed very well. Heart Dance showed impressive growth quarter on quarter with its hours increasing by 122% and its reach by 89% to 658,000 listeners. Capital Dance has also continued its upward trend from the previous quarter, growing its reach by 35% to 800,000 and hours by an impressive 50%.

The throwback stations focused on specific decades have all seen their hours increase this quarter – the highlights being Absolute Radio 10s, Heart 90s and Heart 70s. Absolute Radio 10s total hours have gone up by 184% from 37,000 to 105,000 and Heart 90s has seen a 22% increase in total hours (2,280,000 to 2,787,000).

With so much to talk about in the news recently – it’s no surprise that the digital speech stations talkRADIO and Times Radio have increased hours and listeners this quarter.  talkRADIO is up 23% in total hours and 20% in reach from 542,000 listeners to 650,000. Times Radio now reaches 703,000 listeners each week – up 40% quarter on quarter.

Boom Radio is also making a big impact with reach up to 290,000 (that’s 20% up quarter on quarter) and total hours growing from 2,455,000 to 2,698,000 – an increase of 10%.

New to the RAJAR party is GB News – this station which is a simulcast of their TV channel is reaching 239,000 listeners every week and recording 1.5million total hours.   


There’s breaking news at LBC London as it has increased its reach by 5% to 1.5 million and edging ever closer to Heart London – the largest station by reach at 1.6 million. LBC’s hours are up too, by 7%.

Other stations with an audience of over 1 million include Capital London (1.5 million) and Magic London (1.3 million).

Greatest Hits Radio has a had a great quarter and in London the brand increased reach by 8% to 0.9 million, the station’s highest audience since changing from Absolute London a year ago.

LBC News (London) increased reach by 42% to 0.6 million and hours more than doubled too. Meanwhile Gold is the colour of choice as Gold London also increased its reach by 31% to 0.4 million.

Heart London remains the hottest breakfast show in town at 0.6 million listeners per week despite losing some audience, whilst other stations that saw growth at breakfast were Kiss London to 0.4 million, Smooth Radio London to 0.4 million and Greatest Hits London doubled its audience breakfast audience size to 0.3 million.

Top 5 London Stations ranked by weekly reach

1. Heart           1,616,000

2. LBC             1,524,000

3. Capital         1,482,000

4. Magic          1,334,000

5. Kiss             908,000

Brands by region


The Capital brand remains as strong as ever with the network reaching over 7.5 million listeners each week, which is 14% of the population across the UK. This station’s popularity is shared across the country with Capital North West & Wales increasing its total listening hours by an impressive 61% from 629,000 to 1,012,000.

Down in the valleys of South Wales, Capital South Wales has increased its weekly reach by 17% this quarter (from 156,000 to 182,000) as well as its reach – up from 15% to 17% of the population.

Both Capital Liverpool and Capital Mid Counties have increased their total hours this quarter with Capital Liverpool increasing from 655,000 to 749,000 (up 14%) and Capital Mid Counties increasing by 15% (from 488,000 to 560,000). Mid Counties has also increased its weekly reach from 100,000 to 113,000 (up by 13% quarter on quarter).


The Heart Brand and Heart Network are beating strongly, putting in a solid performance with gains in total hours. Heart Brand is up 1% and the Network is also up by 2%.

On a national level, Heart Breakfast has maintained its weekly reach after a drop from Q3 to Q4, so remains static at 3.865 million listeners. As a result, it remains the UK’s biggest breakfast show with 1.3 million more listeners than its closest rival, the Capital Network.

Other regional winners in the group include Heart Solent and Heart Thames Valley, both up 13% in total hours, with Heart West Midlands & Yorkshire also showing gains of 12% and 13% in total hours, respectively.

Meanwhile, over at Heart Four Counties, the Hertfordshire transmitter has seen significant growth in hours adding 38% compared to the previous quarter, equating to 119,000 hours.


Smooth West Midlands and Smooth North East are the success stories for the network this quarter as they both grew their reach and hours. Smooth North East has added an additional 314,000 hours to its total hours figures, up 7.08%. Its listeners are now tuning in for an average of 8.8 hours per week. This is the highest average hours per listener figure from any of the Smooth stations.

Several of the southern Smooth stations also reported impressive increases in reach this quarter. Smooth Three Counties is up 12.16% in reach to 83,000 listeners, whilst Smooth Sussex is up 14.71% and Smooth South Wales is up 39.53% to 120,000 listeners.

Hits Network

The Hits Network is a real hit with radio listeners. The Hits Radio brand is up 9.7% and now reaches 9.2 million adults each week. They also added 4.1% hours and maintains its share lead over Heart with 10 million more listening hours each week.

The biggest hitter was Hits Radio on national DAB. The station gained 447,000 weekly listeners to 1.6 million total listening hours, now reaching a total of 1.2 million. This suggests the Hits Radio brand is gaining traction nationally.

In the regions, Downtown Radio added 15% in listening hours, the Free stations 13% and in Scotland, Moray Firth Radio’s hours grew by a strong 12%.

Greatest Hits Network           

There were some incredible performances from individual stations within the network.

Greatest Hits Radio London grew its reach again to 879,000 – a growth of 7.5%.

In addition, Greatest Hits Radio Liverpool has seen a 26% growth in reach this quarter. The station now reaches 255,000 each week.

Gold & Radio X regional stations

It’s as good as gold for the Gold Network brand in the East Midlands and London this quarter with these stations reporting 8.33% and 31.27% spikes in reach respectively to 130,000 and 361,000 weekly listeners.

Meanwhile, Radio X has rocked out with a great performance in Manchester this quarter, up 5.66% in reach to 224,000 and 20.45% in total hours. Its listeners now tune in for an average of 8.1 hours each per week.

Independently owned stations

Outside of the big radio groups, such as Bauer, Global and News UK, independently owned stations are performing well.

Nation Radio has had real success in the latest RAJAR survey with both Scotland and UK stations recording record reach. In Scotland the group saw reach increase by 72% to 79,000 whilst hours were also up by 19%, whilst at Nation Radio UK they saw reach double to 65,000 listeners and hours were up too, by 37%.

Sunrise Radio National grew reach to 385,000 from 365,000, whilst Sunrise Radio London also increased its reach from 163,000 to 186,000 and hours were up too, by 17%.

Lyca Gold registered its first full RAJAR since rebranding from Dilse Radio. It now has a weekly reach of 68,000 compared with 38,000 on the previous quarter.


Overall, Q1 2022 demonstrated an exceptional performance by commercial radio, achieving its biggest ever reach. In these difficult times with war on Europe’s borders, the challenges of inflation and the cost of living, Radio is where people turn to for the latest news as well as some light relief.

If you’d like to know more about the opportunities available in radio and digital audio advertising, please get in touch.

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