Business

Q Radio overtakes Downtown as listener figures surge

MOVING ON UP: Q Radio presenters with programme manager Errol Doherty and Group head of station sound Carl Kinsman. Picture: Mal McCann
MOVING ON UP: Q Radio presenters with programme manager Errol Doherty and Group head of station sound Carl Kinsman. Picture: Mal McCann MOVING ON UP: Q Radio presenters with programme manager Errol Doherty and Group head of station sound Carl Kinsman. Picture: Mal McCann

Q RADIO has overtaken Downtown to take the number two position in the north's commercial radio rankings with a weekly reach of 362,000 listeners – up 27% from its previous quarterly figure of 284,000 weekly listeners.

According to data from research body Rajar, the Bauer Media-owned Cool FM pulls in a weekly audience of 527,000, keeping it ahead of Radio Ulster, where 499,000 over-15s tune in each week.

But the figures show that for the first time Q Radio, which is owned by IntoMedia, leapfrogged Downtown Radio into third spot overall, and second in the commercial sector.

Listenership at Q Radio is up significantly across the full programming schedule, with all shows pulling in bigger audiences.

Total listening hours have now surpassed the two million mark, increasing by almost a quarter to 2,173,000 hours, up from 1,766,000 in the previous quarter.

That catapulted Q Radio's market share to 7.4% (up from 6.2% in the previous quarter) and increases its overall reach to 23% (up from 18% q-on-q).

"Q Radio undoubtedly made the most significant gains in this period which, combined with a previously strong quarter, has delivered the best performance in the station’s history," said IntoMedia chief marketing officer Annette McManus.

"This is an exceptional set of results for Q Radio and it’s clear to see that our ‘Big on Personality, Big on Reach’ proposition is resonating with audiences.

"As we move into quarter four, we do so from our strongest ever position, with a renewed vigour and determination to grow the station even further."

She added: "Looking at our target audience (25-44), we’re now in the ears of more listeners than ever before, with audience reach up by 28.7% from the previous quarter to 175,000 and total listening hours among this group up by 26.5% to 1,152,000 hours.

"Comparing this year on year, the gains have been unsurpassed by any other station vying for the all-important 25-44 audience market share, with Q Radio increasing its target audience reach by a staggering 90.2% and boosting listening hours by 116.1% in the last 12 months."

The figures from Rajar, which is the single audience measurement system for the radio industry in the UK, reveal that in the commercial sector there was also a notable quarterly gain from U105, where its Greater Belfast listenership rose from 228,000 to 249,000. It also has 31,000 listeners outside Belfast.

The radio figures for Q come as sister company The Irish News climbed to the number one position in Britain and Ireland for combined print and digital sales.

Most recent figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), the independent body which verifies and monitors media performance, show that between January and June this year, The Irish News’s average daily circulation is 25,010, putting it ahead of the Aberdeen Press & Journal (24,852), which had topped the league table for the last two years.