A Cuppa Media: The rise (and rise) of Radio 2

Last week was a really good week for Radio 2.

Last week was a really good week for Radio 2. The BBC station not only won Station of The Year at the Radio Academy Awards, but also broke records in listener figures through the release of the RAJAR listening figures.

Radio 2 had 15.57 million listeners every week, the highest figures since RAJAR collection began in 1999, an increase of 300,000 listeners from last year and 60,000 listeners from last quarter, according to a BBC statement.

Eclectic output

At the centre of the increase is Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show, which also achieved record listening figures of 9.83 million listeners, an increase of 10,000 listeners from last quarter and 30,000 from last year.

Evans began the Breakfast programme in January 2010, taking over from the retiring Sir Terry Wogan, and has been able to achieve a unique listening experience for Radio 2 at Breakfast, via an increased mix of music, features and conversation that entertain and engage, giving the UK an energizing and optimistic start to each day.

A Radio 2 spokesperson said Evans was not available for an interview.

With this data, it shows that one third of listeners listen to Radio 2, according to an analysis of figures by radio industry analyst Adam Bowie. There were also increases in listenership figures for Steve Wright’s afternoon programme, Graham Norton’s Saturday programme as well as Ken Bruce’s mid-morning programme, according to a report from The Guardian.

In an emailed statement, Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan said he was pleased with the results.

“I’m thrilled and proud that in the same week that Radio 2 wins Station of the Year at the Radio Academy Awards, our audience is bigger than ever before,” Shennan said. “I’d like to thank the station’s brilliant in-house and Independent producers as well as our presenters, with particular thanks to Chris Evans and Graham Norton who now has an astonishing audience of 4.27m on Saturday mornings. For a single show it is a phenomenal achievement.”

How long will the trend continue?

Helen Boaden, the director of BBC Radio, said the range of output never failed to impress listeners.

“I am delighted to see Radio 2 gaining both accolades and audiences,” Boaden said in a statement. “The station never fails to surprise and amaze with the diversity of its output, which includes an unrivalled breadth of music alongside news, current affairs, documentaries, religion, arts, comedy and readings.”

What Radio 2 has been able to do is with this variety of entertainment, news and information, is able to appeal to a wide variety of the UK public. The overhaul of the station, which began nearly 20 years ago, appears, according to this data, has worked and has been able to carry that appeal, gaining a larger audience share than Radio 1.

Yet, how long will the trend continue? In order to take Radio 2’s place at the top of the ratings, stations must be inventive through one of the most imitate of mediums. For a unique radio experience, it’s the station and the listener, a one-on-one relationship, something that keeps Britain listening to the content on the dial, and it’s something Radio 2 has been able to master.

Regardless of the rise of visualisation and the new online outreach, the relationship between a listener and their radio is an important and vital one, and until a station comes up with a new way to take that relationship further, Radio 2’s popularity will go up, and nothing can stop it from doing so.

Absolutely nothing.

What do you think? Will Radio 2’s success continue? Have your say in the comments section below.