Radio 1 audience down a quarter since 2011, figures show

Updated: 
BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards - London

BBC Radio 1 has shed almost a quarter of its listeners over the past six years, new figures show.

The station's breakfast show reached its lowest ever recorded audience since Nick Grimshaw became presenter across the opening quarter of 2017, with a drop of almost 300,000 listeners in the past year.

Grimshaw is hovering just above the five million mark, with his early morning show attracting an audience of 5.1 million in the opening quarter of the year, according to the latest figures released by audience research body Rajar.

The breakfast show has lost around 1.6 million of its audience since Grimshaw took over from Chris Moyles in September 2012.

Radio 1 as a whole pulled in an audience of 9.1 million per week in the first three months of 2017, a drop of 23% in the same period in 2011 when that figure was 11.8 million.

Station controller Ben Cooper claimed the figures do not tell the whole story as its social media offerings achieved record figures of 80 million monthly video views on Facebook and 1.4 billion total views on YouTube.

He said: "You can't judge Radio 1 on Rajar figures alone, just as you can't judge a newspaper solely on physical sales, you have to take into account our digital innovations as well."

Chris Evans's BBC Radio 2 breakfast show has seen a slight resurgence in the past three months, with a rise of more than 100,000 to 9.3 million, although his audience is still down on this time in 2016.

BBC Radio 4's Today programme also saw mixed fortunes with an improvement on the first quarter of 2016 as it grew from 6.8 million to 7.1 million. But that figure was down from 7.4 million in the last three months of last year.

Global-run Classic FM's breakfast show, which airs for three hours from 6am, saw its audience rise from 1.5 million to 1.7 million each week in the last 12 months.

The BBC's digital-only station 6 Music, which was earmarked for closure and then reprieved seven years ago, achieved its highest ever audience figures, according to the data.

The station drew 2.35 million listeners each week across the opening quarter, with The Shaun Keaveny Breakfast Show reaching 1.1 million listeners.

Other record audiences on the station came from shows presented by Mary Anne Hobbs, Cerys Matthews, Iggy Pop, Jarvis Cocker, Huey Morgan, Chris Hawkins and Guy Garvey.

Head of 6 Music Paul Rodgers said: "It's great to see this record-breaking quarter as evidence of the continued and growing appetite for 6 Music with listeners, who are clearly choosing a station which puts brilliant music at the heart of its offer."