According to recent numbers, BBC Radio 2 has lost one million listeners since veteran commentator Ken Bruce departed the station.
The station’s average weekly listeners fell by 7% from 14.5 million in January to March 2023 to 13.5 million in April to June 2023, the worst quarterly loss for Radio 2 since audience research group Rajar started collecting statistics in September 2021 after being halted at the onset of the epidemic.
Scottish broadcaster Ken quit Radio 2 on March 3 after more than three decades of hosting his mid-morning show, and launched a new show on Greatest Hits Radio in April, carrying with him his iconic music radio game PopMaster.
Veteran BBC DJ Gary Davies stood in as mid-morning anchor until May, when Vernon Kay, a Bolton native, took over permanently.
At the same time, Greatest Hits Radio increased its average weekly viewership by 13%, from 5.1 million in January-March to 5.8 million in April-June, a 59% increase year on year.
Ken, 72, said: ‘I’ve always said that it’s not really about the numbers and it’s not, for me at least, but I’m delighted to hear today’s news for the team here at my new home, Greatest Hits Radio.
‘My first four months have flown by and I’ve loved every minute of it – and there’s much more to come.’
According to Rajar data, BBC Radio 4 listeners have also dropped to its lowest level since the epidemic, averaging 9.0 million in April-June, a 5% decrease from 9.4 million in the previous quarter and a 1.3 million loss year on year.
However, there was good news for the BBC with Radio 1, where the average weekly viewership was 7.7 million in the last quarter, up 2% from the previous three months and 3% year on year.
Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, said: ‘Radio 2 remains the UK’s most popular radio station with 13.5m loyal listeners who tune in each week to the best music from the past seven decades, presented by some of the country’s most loved presenters.
‘Congratulations to the brilliant Zoe Ball who continues to host the most listened to breakfast show in the country.’
The BBC’s total proportion of radio listening time in the UK has also plummeted to a new post-pandemic low.
In April-June, the corporation’s stations accounted for 43.2% of overall listening, down from 46.3% in January-March and 48.1% in April-June 2022.
The proportion was 50.9% when radio audience reporting started in autumn 2021.
The BBC announced changes to local radio services in October, with stations sharing more content and broadcasting less programming specific to their area, however some of the recommendations have since been altered.
Source My Celebrity Life.