BBC Radio 1 tuned into by lowest amount of listeners ever, records claim

Greg James on 'BBC Radio 1' (BBC)
'BBC Radio 1' earned its lowest listenership in history in the final quarter of 2019, according to RAJAR (BBC)

BBC Radio 1’s audience figures have fallen to an all-time low, according to RAJAR’s latest report.

The ratings measurement system confirmed that the station has dropped to 8.97 million listeners a week, marking the first time it has ever been tuned into by less than 9 million.

That said, Radio 1 still claims it is the “number one station for 10-29 year olds” in the UK and if under-15s had been counted in the poll, the reach would have been around 10 million.

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RAJAR also revealed that Greg James’s weekday breakfast show has taken a hit too, having lost about 300,000 listeners from 5.1 million in the final quarter of 2019.

"The latest figures show some of the challenges we face across the radio industry with retaining a live listening habit amongst young people, whose audio consumption is rapidly changing,” James Purnell, director of BBC Radio and Education, said in a statement.

NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 23:  Zoe Ball at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 23, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight.  (Photo by Rob Ball/WireImage)
Despite losing audience members in the middle of the year, Zoe Ball's Radio 2 breakfast show picked up slightly in the last three months of 2019 (WireImage)

"We are focused on keeping live listening strong and looking for new ways to do so, but we also want to ensure we offer more for our audiences however they want to listen."

Elsewhere at the BBC, Radio 4 is up from 10.4 million to 10.9 million and Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 breakfast show has clawed back some of the audience members it lost in the middle of the year.

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When Ball took over from former host Chris Evans in January, the broadcast earned 9.047 million listeners, before falling to 8.266 million and 7.902 million. It ended the year with 8.237 million.

5 Live is another station which saw a slight improvement, reportedly due to its election coverage, as it went from 4.9 million listeners to 5.4 million.