Digital radio surpasses FM/AM listening for the first time

The Q1 report from Radio research firm Rajar says 50.9 per cent of all radio listening in the first three months of this year was digital. This figure is up 8% year on year, and marks the first time digital has accounted for over half of radio listening.

DAB accounts for 36.8% of that share. Online and app listening is 9.3%, and Digital TV 4.8%.

The new figures mean the government will almost certainly consider a review of the future of FM radio soon. After scrapping plans to shut down analogue radio in 2015, it announced it would only consider a full switchover when 50 per cent of people consumed radio digitally and 90 per cent of the population was covered.

The statistics come just days after BBC director of radio and music Bob Shennan said music streaming services could kill off radio.

"Whereas in years gone by my predecessors would today be eyeballing their competition across the UK radio sector, our competition isn't even based on this island. The new competition set is global," he said at the Radio Festival.

Streaming services may be "the new best friend to music" but "they have set their sights on radio".

However, he also stated that he believes “BBC radio - in fact, all UK radio - plays an even more important role in the lives or our audiences”, and earlier this year said he thought audiences were best served by a “mixed economy” of FM and DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) radio.


Best DAB radios 2018

Norway becomes first country to turn off FM radio

Best internet radios 2018

Sky confirms no satellite dish required from late 2018

Tidal reportedly behind on royalty payments

Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.