In the final quarter of 2019, BBC Radio 1’s listenership dipped below 9 million for the very first time, according to newly reported figures.
About 8.97 million weekly listeners tuned into Radio 1 during 2019’s last three months; that figure is down six or so percent (a loss of approximately 585,000 listeners) on the year. Additionally, the total only includes listeners who are age 15 and older; factoring for younger fans, the BBC estimated that an average of 10 million weekly listeners enjoyed Radio 1 between the start of October and the end of December.
It wasn’t all bad news for BBC Radio programs, though. BBC Radio 3 recorded its highest ratings in three years, gaining 16.4 percent more listeners (for a weekly total of 2.13 million) during the same period. Additionally, the more popular Radio 4’s weekly listenership grew by four percent, to nearly 11 million.
In a statement, the BBC said that despite this ratings downturn, Radio 1 is still the UK’s most popular station among listeners between the ages of 10 and 29. The slip was attributed to several factors, including ample coverage of the December 2019 general election. Newsbeat, Radio 1’s news program, airs for half an hour per day—in two 15-minute slots—and produces some quick news updates hourly or bihourly, depending upon the time and the number of headlines.
Moreover, Radio 1’s listenership has fallen considerably in recent years, having topped 10 million half a decade ago. Between 2008 and 2011, a portion the station’s daily broadcast aired on Sirius in North America, reaching over 20 million Canadian and American fans. The station was then made available exclusively on Sirius’s web player before being entirely removed from the North American market in 2014.
Even with the rise of podcasts and music streaming services, overall radio ratings have remained high in the UK and America, where approximately 90 percent of residents listen to the radio weekly.