Radio listening was given a fresh boost during the second coronavirus lockdown this month as Brits went back to working at home.
More than a third of commercial radio listeners are tuning in for an extra one hour and 53 minutes per day in November, compared to the period before the first lockdown in April.
The UK’s commercial radio stations attracted record audiences even before lockdown measures came into force in March, with listening time leaping even further in April.
The latest data, compiled by industry body Radiocentre, shows slightly fewer people increased their listening in November compared to April, suggesting Brits may be less confined to their homes during the second lockdown.
Unsurprisingly, the figures showed the biggest increase in radio listening was among Brits who have been forced to work from home during the pandemic. Roughly 40 per cent of this demographic tuned in for more than two extra hours per day this month.
The report also identified an increase in listening among people who had returned to work over the summer, but have gone back to working from home or been placed on furlough during the second lockdown.
“With the UK in various stages of lockdown again, our research shows that people are spending more time listening to commercial radio. This backs up reports from commercial radio stations of a double digit increase in listening since before the lockdown,” said Siobhan Kenny, chief executive of Radiocentre.
“Radio helps listeners stay connected which is especially important during lockdown. We are all finding our own ways to cope during the pandemic, and it’s great that radio is proving such a consistent source of comfort and trusted news to so many.”
The UK’s commercial radio sector has enjoyed a rise in listener numbers in recent years, with online listening, podcasts and the rise of smart speakers all contributing to renewed interest.
But while audiences have been further boosted by the pandemic, the commercial radio sector has also been battling a downturn in advertising revenue as brands tighten the purse strings.
With competition growing to capture listeners’ attention, rival media groups have been ramping up their investment in radio as they look to take on the traditional might of the BBC.
This week News UK’s Virgin Radio announced it had tapped Graham Norton for a flagship weekend show after the presenter stepped down from his role at Radio 2.