BBC Radio Ulster recently boasted about its listening figures in a very triumphalist way.
What they neglected to point out that, unlike the commercial radio broadcasters, they have little restriction on the vast sums expended on presenters and staff .
Commercial radio has to raise its own revenue, so it follows that it is unable to compete with the publically funded BBC.
One BBC Radio Ulster show in particular boasted of listening figures of 162,000. Well first of all how are these figures calculated? Second, that particular show broadcasts after 9am. Most people are at work, or actively looking for work so unlikely to be listening.
Those likely to be listening are out of work through choice or disability, the aged and retired as well as a particular minority pressure group.
What the BBC neglected to point out that the shows 162,000 listeners’ figure is probably 20% of the listening population, so it follows that an overwhelming 80% do not listen to that show.
If the BBC was forced to work to the same funding constraints as its commercial rivals, it would be interesting what the listening figures would be like.