Belfast Telegraph

British-only radio station Union Jack has fastest growing audience in UK

The station almost doubled its audience reach in one year.

Radio station Union Jack plays only British music. (David Davies/PA)
Radio station Union Jack plays only British music. (David Davies/PA)

A British-only radio station launched in the wake of the Brexit referendum has the fastest-growing audience in the UK.

Union Jack was established in 2016, and has recorded a rapid rise in the number of listeners tuning in to its exclusively domestic content.

The station promises “the best of British” by only airing music from homegrown artists, and has quickly increased its audience as it continues “ripping up the rule book”.

Union Jack, which blends music and comedy, increased its reach by 73% between the final quarter of 2017 and the final quarter of 2018, a greater increase than any other national radio station in the UK.

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Union Jack has recorded a huge rise in audience reach. (Union Jack)

At the end of the 2017 financial year the station had a reach of 88,000, this then rose rapidly to 111,000 in the third quarter of 2018.

The relatively new national radio station then recorded a reach of 153,000 weekly listeners in the last quarter of 2018, according to official figures from Radio Joint Audience Research Limited (Rajar).

Giles Gear, programme manager of Union Jack, said: “Union Jack is a national DAB station that is very happy ripping up the radio rule book. Indeed, it has history doing so.

“Compare 20 minutes of Union Jack with any national commercial station, and see which has more personality.

“2019 will see more investment in comedy-based, original show formats, involving iconic British institutions.

“If I could tell you what they were, I would, I am beyond excited.

“Union Jack has spent 18 months ripping up the rule book, inviting listeners to join the party as we pave our own path.

“Union Jack is the antidote to boring and bland commercial radio.”

Union Jack was billed as “the only radio station in the universe that plays the best of British” on its launch in September 2016. 

It dispenses with DJs and instead has comedic material between songs.

The station’s total hours have increased by 47% from 2017 to 2018, to a total of 720,000 listening hours each week.

It was launched by the team behind Absolute Radio and commercial radio company Jack FM, and invites listeners to select its playlist through an app. 

The station is quickly gaining popularity.

Jack chief executive Ian Walker said: “With our two national radio stations, Union Jack and Jack Radio, achieving a combined total of close to 200,000 listeners who are listening for almost a million hours each week, we are really starting to make our mark on the national digital radio landscape.”

Hits Radio was the station with the second largest increase in reach, with a 40% rise.

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