Radio 3 down, Classic FM up

Radio 3 down, Classic FM up


norman lebrecht

August 03, 2017

The BBC classical station lost 6.3 percent of its listeners in the second quarter of 2017, compared to the same period last year.

Classic FM was up 4.9 percent.

Radio 3 reaches just over two million listeners, Classic FM 5,781,000.

Source: Rajar.


  • Friends of Radio 3 says:

    On the other hand, last year Radio 3 had its highest Q2 reach ever – 2.201m – so it was unlikely to improve on it this year. Apart from a bum quarter last quarter, it’s been doing rather well. Q2 is usually pretty poor, but today’s result is the third best Q2 for Radio 3 since comparable figures have been published.

    Classic FM is actually trailing way, way behind its heyday when it could pull in 6.5m.

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Over to you .

    • Anon says:

      But up and down doesn’t disguise the fact that ClassicFM continually pulls in around 3x the listeners as Radio 3

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    I listen to BBC3 regularly on the Internet and I live in Indiana (USA).

    I doubt that I was counted in this poll and i hope that there are others like me!

  • Roy Telfer says:

    This seems a very selective use of the statistics…….. in my view R3 has improved considerably under the new Controller ……

  • Friends of Radio 3 says:

    No, they’re not included. UK panel members are chosen each week, self completion diaries left with a selected adult and up to two children at eah address. The diaries are ‘customised’ for each panel member.

  • Lifelong R3 says:

    Regret don’t agree that R3 has ‘improved considerably…’. A classical music station needs to air classical music. Instead, we get hour upon hour of introduction, lame chat and narcissistic ramblings. Instrumentalists are interviewed ad nauseam – they may be proficient players but they rarely have much to say and the interviews can be excruciating. I am now listening to Radio Swiss Classic almost as much as R3.

    • Friends of Radio 3 says:

      It depends what you’re comparing it with, presumably. It seems to have improved on five years ago or so. And since this blog was about ratings, listening figures have crept up too.

      Radio 3 is not a classical music station, though. Classic FM has that distinction but Radio 3 has a wider remit.

      Agreed that much of the presenter input is unnecessary and some is poor. When it was ramped up to recent levels (2007?) the intention was to make everything really easy to understand for potential new listeners, if there were any. Sadly, there weren’t any which is why a gentle reversing process seems to be operating.

      • Lifelong R3 listener says:

        “R3 is not a classical music station”. I hope we’re not into semantics here. If you are representing FoR3 then you presumably support their stated aim to ensure R3 delivers “a high quality programme of classical music, spoken arts and thought”. That’s all I’m looking for.

  • Dan oren says:

    Best classical radio online remains accent 4.