BBC listener figures reveal ratings dip for Nick Grimshaw's breakfast show
Nick Grimshaw's BBC Radio One breakfast show has suffered a dip in ratings while Chris Evans' morning offering on Radio Two enjoyed a surge in listeners ahead of the presenter's Top Gear debut, new figures reveal.
BBC Radio Three has achieved its highest reach in three years and once-doomed Radio 6 Music has posted another record quarter.
The Radio 1 Breakfast Show With Nick Grimshaw attracted 5.44 million listeners per week in the first quarter of 2016, compared to 5.87 million last quarter and 5.5 million last year, while t he Chris Evans Breakfast Show drew 9.73 million listeners per week, an improvement on 9.44 million last quarter and 9.46 million last year, according to the latest figures released by audience research body Rajar.
Evans is due to make his first appearance in the new incarnation of Top Gear on May 29.
Radio 4's Today programme also suffered a drop after Jim Naughtie left after 21 years in December. The show had 6.76 million listeners each week in the first three months of 2016, down from from 7.03 million last quarter and 7.06 million last year.
Nick Robinson joined as Naughtie's replacement in November 2015.
BBC Radio 3's audience grew to 2.12 million from 2.05 million last quarter and 2.08 million last year, increasing it's share to 1.3% from 1.2% last quarter, while its flagship mid-morning show Essential Classics, which plays definitive recordings of the greatest classical music, had a record reach of 909,000 listeners.
BBC Radio 6 Music also achieved yet another record weekly audience with 2.24 million listeners.
Helen Boaden, director of BBC Radio, said: "BBC Radio 3 is in rude health and the station has had a fantastic year under its new controller with landmark seasons and carefully thought through changes to the schedule.
"The unique blend of remarkable music and culture programming is something you'd only find on Radio 3, and I'm delighted that so many listeners are connecting with the station and its output as it approaches its 70th anniversary.
"It's also brilliant that BBC Radio 6 Music continues to reach record audiences, quarter after quarter, as audiences are discovering the station's specialist music and expert DJs, and long may that continue."
Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, said: "In my first year it's been an honour to lead the BBC Radio 3 family which includes BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms and BBC performing groups, all of whom play an essential part in our purpose to connect audiences with remarkable music and culture.
"I'm really proud of our constantly evolving offer which is unique and lovingly curated with music hand-picked by experts and ideas that offer new insights.
"Moving into our 70th anniversary year, I'm delighted that Radio 3 continues to play such a special role in the daily lives of our listeners."
All BBC Radio's weekly reach over the period from December 28 2015 to April 3 2016 was 32.01 million, a drop from 32.13 million last quarter and from 31.67 million last year.
BBC Radio 1 posted a reach of 9.91 million listeners, a drop from the 10.33 million listeners last quarter but a boost to the 9.67 million it pulled in this time last year. The figure rises to 10.71 million when listeners aged 10 to 14 are included.
BBC Radio 2 gained half a million weekly listeners in the past year, now reaching 15.51 million and steadily building on the 15.47 million listeners last quarter and 15.01 million last year.
BBC Radio 4 posted a weekly reach of 10.57 million during the quarter, dropping from 10.93 million last quarter and 10.89 million last year, while BBC Radio 5 Live posted a reach of 5.77 million listeners , up from 5.59 million last quarter and 5.76 million last year.
Among digital-only stations, BBC Radio 1Xtra also saw a surge, reaching 1.04 million weekly listeners across the period, up from 982,000 last quarter and 839,000 last year, while BBC Radio 4 Extra experienced a decline to 1.85 million listeners per week steadily dropping from 2.11 million last quarter and 2.17 million last year.
BBC Radio 5 live sports extra held steady at 1.33 million listeners, compared to 1.34 million last year, while t he Asian Network drew 562,000 listeners, reporting on a six-monthly basis, the same as last year.
The BBC World Service posted a weekly UK audience of 1.47 million, down from 1.51 million last quarter but a boost to the 1.35 million figure of last year.
BBC Local Radio reached 8.79 million listeners per week, up from 8.56 million last quarter and but a slight drop on the 8.82 million of last year.
In a statement, Evans said: "We are so thrilled that our fabulous and enthusiastic audience continue to find our breakfast show worth waking up to.
"We promise to do all we can to keep it fresh, relevant, warm, inclusive and interesting. Thank you so much for listening."