Entertainment & Arts

Chris Evans's Radio 2 breakfast show loses half a million listeners

Chris Evans and Nick Grimshaw Image copyright PA
Image caption Listening figures for Evans (left) are down while Grimshaw's see an increase

Chris Evans's BBC Radio 2 breakfast show lost almost half a million listeners in the past year, figures show.

It comes just weeks after he was named as the BBC's highest paid star.

The DJ drew 9.01m listeners a week between April and June 2017, down from 9.47m over the same period in 2016, according to figures by audience research body Rajar.

He was paid between £2.2m and £2.25m during that same year.

The figures show Evans lost 370,000 listeners between the first and second quarter of this year - before his salary was published.

It's better news for Nick Grimshaw - whose breakfast show on Radio 1 saw its weekly audience rise by 350,000 listeners on the previous quarter to reach 5.5m.

It is also an increase on the 5.43m listeners who tuned in during the same period in 2016.

Image copyright Bauer Media
Image caption Rickie, Melvin and Charlie co-host the Kiss breakfast show

Radio 1 as a whole saw its audience jump by nearly half a million between April 3 and July 25 - with 9.6m listeners compared with 9.1m in the first three months of 2017.

The figures show Radio 4's Today programme has increased its weekly listeners to reach a record high - with 7.66m tuning in during the second quarter, compared to 7.13m three months earlier.

Radio 4 itself also reached its biggest audience since records began in 1999 - with 11.55m listeners every week.

Bob Shennan, director of BBC radio and music, said Radio 4 was "as vital as ever as it approaches its 50th anniversary".

The BBC's figures overall were "fantastic news for radio, illustrating its enduring appeal in a crowded digital marketplace", he added.

Image caption The Today programme attracted its biggest ever audience

LBC's audience also increased, with 2m listeners a week between April and June 2017, compared to 1.7m over the same period in 2016.

The station's parent company Global said it was an all-time high for LBC, with presenters Nick Ferrari and James O'Brien both reaching record audiences.

Radio X, which was rebranded from XFM in 2015, also reached its best weekly audience yet with 1.4 million.

Alan Brazil's breakfast show on talkSPORT lost about 400,000 listeners, with 1.6m a week in the 2016 period down to 1.2m in 2017.

The figures show the morning slot on Kiss saw its weekly audience drop slightly to 2m in the last quarter from 2.1m.

But the programme, hosted by Rickie, Melvin and Charlie, remains the most popular commercial breakfast show in the UK.

Classic FM's symphonies struck the right chords as its weekly audience increased by over 200,000.

And Heart 80s - a new station that launched in March and plays exclusively eighties music - attracted 850,000 listeners in its first Rajar quarter.

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