Are morning radio shows on the decline?
By Joe Harker
Radio breakfast shows are a popular staple of many people's morning routine. Millions of listeners across the country tune in to listen to presenters like Chris Evans and Nick Grimshaw.
However, Chris Evans' breakfast show has lost almost half a million listeners in the past year. Listening figures for his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show have around 9.01 million listeners a morning, down from 9.47 million listeners at this point last year. Evans is the BBC's biggest earner, making around £2.2 million a year for his work.
Hannah Verdier in The Guardian suggests that a "banter heavy" breakfast show is causing listeners to switch off in favour of podcasts or making their own Spotify playlists. Evans has been criticised in the past for his boisterous style, his loud enthusiasm can be endearing or irritating depending on the listener. Verdier wrote: "This isn't an era where passive listeners are happy to soak up a foghorn of morning talk backed up by a playlist which, aimed at a broad range of tastes, manages to satisfy none."
Although Chris Evans is pulling in fewer listeners, BBC Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw has gained about 350,000 new listeners for his breakfast show. Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio and Music said the increased listening figures were "fantastic news for radio" and demonstrated Radio 1's "enduring appeal in a crowded digital marketplace".
These figures are a reversal of last year's listening figures. In 2016 Grimshaw's audience figures fell to their lowest point while Evans' breakfast show reached a high point of 9.7 million listeners in 2016. Grimshaw appears to be winning back his audience, while Evans has continued to lose listeners. His Radio 2 breakfast show is still the most listened to in the UK, but he has lost a lot of listeners. It is possible that Evans is not as popular as he once was. His audience figures hit a high point just before he was due to present Top Gear, though he only lasted for one series before leaving the show.
Are breakfast radio programmes on the decline, or does the popularity of the presenter have more to do with falling figures?