The BBC said that Rajar’s methodology for collecting listening figures changed in 2021, which should be considered when making historical comparisons. However, ratings have been in steady decline since then.
Radio 2 remains the UK’s most popular station with 14.46 million listeners, slightly down (0.8 per cent) on the previous year. Radio 3’s audience fell by 5.9 per cent to 1.93 million.
Greatest Hits Radio saw its audience rise from 4.18 million to 5.3 million, while Boom Radio’s audience rose from 290,000 to 635,000. Both stations have positioned themselves as stations for older listeners and an alternative to Radio 2.
Boom Radio’s presenters have an average age of 68 and include former BBC DJs David Hamilton and Kid Jensen.
Despite the exodus of listeners, Radio 4 was named Station of the Year at the Audio and Radio Industry Awards earlier this month.
Mohit Bakaya, controller of Radio 4, said: “Radio 4 is an incredible public square, bringing the nation together, whether on air or on Sounds, to listen to brilliant, thought-provoking current affairs, news, comedy, documentaries, arts, drama and factual programmes and podcasts.
“At a time when the threats of disinformation, AI polarisation and fragmentation threaten our civic fabric, I think the station is more important than ever.”