People listening to radio more during lockdown, research shows

5 August 2020, 21:37

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been taking calls from LBC listeners since June
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been taking calls from LBC listeners since June. Picture: LBC
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

People are spending more time listening to the radio because of the coronavirus lockdown, new research has shown.

The amount of time people have spent tuning into programmes has increased while people are isolating, despite the number of people listening to the UK's radio stations dipping slightly in comparison to the first quarter of the year.

Figures from the audience research body Rajar found that numbers "increased quickly" in the first weeks of social distancing in March.

The report suggests online radio stations have "continued to thrive" between March and June because the country was spending more time at home.

In a fascinating shift of behaviour, the breakfast peak in listening figures moved from 8am to 10am from early April.

This was put down to millions of people readjusting their schedules and working patterns due to the fact they have not been getting up as early to go into work.

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Of those who took part in the study, almost a third said they were listening to the radio more since the start of lockdown, while 23 per cent said they were listening less.

On 30 July, Radio Today published an article which explained that online streaming figures had reached record highs.

At LBC, exclusive phone-ins with both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have helped boost numbers.

Connected listening hours for the station have risen by 54 per cent in the past year, while active sessions have increased by 42 per cent.

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Meanwhile, podcast listening figures at Global as a whole have risen by 17 per cent in the last quarter.

As the country continued in lockdown, the company saw listening sessions to our radio stations increase eight per cent and hours climb 14 per cent quarter on quarter.

In LBC News' first set of results, we launched with 657,000 weekly listeners across the UK.

From mid-May, as lockdown measures began to ease, the number and length of listening sessions still remained higher than they were before the guidelines were introduced.

The 1,000-plus people who participated in the Rajar study had previously taken part when asked in the first quarter of the year.