He passed away 22.06.2009. I used to go to recordings of 'My Music' at the Royal Commonwealth Institute.
On the face of it, the latest RAJAR numbers for Radio 3 don't look particularly encouraging. The drop in the weekly reach appears to be quite steep. What, if anything, is to be read into these figures?
June 2011 was a 'good' figure, but marked the end of an unusually good set of results between Sept 2010 and June 2011 [Sept 2010 2.145m, Dec 2010 2.216m, March 2011 2.258m, June 2011 2.174m].
These weren't sustained so until we'd worked through another complete year they were always going to be the comparative figures which made the later ones look in percentage terms (very) poor. Since then we've had Sept 2011 2.052m, Dec 2011 2.097m, March 2012 1.902m and now June 2.038m.
However, what we can say is that the schedule changes introduced in Sept 2011 have - at best - merely returned the figures to a fairly uninspiring norm. At worst, we could speculate that the changes were actually responsible for a promising upturn being quickly reversed.
Another factor is the total (average) listening hours per week and looking quickly I think the average weekly hours per listener (5.6 hours) has only once been lower since March 2010 = people not listening as much. The Breakfast figure, however, seems to have bounced back from some poor figures. Are these 'new' listeners or old ones drifting back faute de mieux? That said, the number of respondents in the sample identified as having listened to Breakfast is usually about 30+ which is very small for statistical purposes. (Haven't worked out the figure for this quarter)
The question now is whether there is enough steam in Radio 3's schedule 'refreshment' to continue to attract new listeners or whether weary malcontents will continue to lose interest and drift away.
Last edited by french frank; 02-08-12 at 11:39. Reason: Added Sept 2011 figures :-)
Thank you for that. For what it's worth, the more I listen to Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, the more I find to listen to on those stations, if you see what I mean, and the less time - and inclination, if I'm honest - I have to discover what's on Radio 3 other than the few programmes to which I regularly listen.
What the changes have led me to do is for the first time seriously explore the several other classical music internet stations. No breathless gush, not telling me this is a sparkling and uplifting piece of music before I listen, no or very few instant guests to gush and waffle, just good repertoire seamlessly presented.
Spot anything in that, BBC Trust?
i reckon the jazz audience for the radio broadcast is diminished ..... interesting to know the iplayer stats
"Everything around me is evaporating."
I used to listen to Jazz Library, until it was moved.
(I also used to listen to Late Junction until that was shunted deeper into the night).
I have come to the conclusion that many of these quarterly figures are pretty meaningless. If you accept that the BBC's objective should be to increase listening figures in a competitive industry, which I don't, we might be informed by a 2.038m figure for R3 that many more people listen to R2 rather than R3. We know that anyway and it will always be so. As for the difference between 2.038m, 1.902m and 2.258m, it is trifling and a certain amount of it probably only reflects the variables in quarterly sampling.
Elsewhere, I doubt that the right questions are being asked. It is all very well to say that one kind of breakfast programme might have the effect of holding on to audiences for one kind of mid-morning programme. Similarly, there is that argument about one kind of mid-morning programme attracting an audience which wants to switch over at the end of 'Today' or at the start of 'Womans' Hour'. What they are saying with such thoughts is that they are targeting the non-employed and non 9 to 5s. While there is no doubt that 18 year students, out of work bricklayers, mothers who work in the afternoons, 55 year old ex-stockbrokers and 90 year old senior citizens can all have an interest in typical R3 content, I don't believe for one moment that it would ever be such a cohesive group of people that more of them could be attracted by a twiddling of content. Some you lose. Some you gain.
So you have to ask questions about who wants which sort of output and when. Much of that is about listeners' availability and lifestyles. Many of the non-employed actually go out shopping at around 10am or 11am. As for holding on to the 'traditional' audience, well, you need to look at the pattern of figures for lunchtime, afternoon, evening and weekend programmes, irrespective of changes made to the peak schedule. We don't hear a lot about those. For all I know, they may have remained steady throughout the last decade or have even increased, not least with the advent of the I-Player and Listen Again.
I also think that the BBC needs to start asking when people want to listen to music and why. There is a big difference between disgruntled R3 listeners switching to R4/R4E and them switching to Classic FM. The latter clearly still want music. The former is a hybrid. Some might just prefer speech now. Others might still choose music if the content was different and/or they didn't have to endure commercials. Plus they need to divide out those who get fed up with another playing of Bolero, those who don't want telephone reminiscence, the ones who dislike young woman presenters and those who are attracted to a particular programme elsewhere. They are all different people and again I don't see those distinctions being made. I fear that, without such analysis, all of the number crunching might be just a tick box exercise and of course a nice little earner for those involved.
Last edited by Lateralthinking1; 02-08-12 at 13:56.