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Today programme loses 65000 listeners as audience tunes out

17 May 2018

The popularity of Amazon's Echo smart speakers has helped push the audience for digital radio past that of FM and AM in the United Kingdom for the first time.

Ben Cooper, controller BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra & Asian Network, said: "Radio 1 has reinvented how the BBC reaches young people in the digital age".

Last year Norway became the first country to end national radio broadcasts on FM.

Margot James, Digital minister, welcomed "an important milestone for radio".

Speaking at the Tuning In commercial radio conference this week, Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries, said, "The 50% share will be an important milestone for radio" and confirmed that Government will "work closely with all partners - the BBC, commercial radio, Arqiva, auto manufacturers and listeners - and subject to this will make some further announcements".

Mr Purnell said that BBC podcast listening was up a third across all audiences since the same time a year ago, accounting now for 40,000 hours a week. This now makes up nearly a fifth of all digital listening, and nearly 10% of all radio listening including on traditional FM and AM radios.

The new digital figure includes listening through DAB sets, cars, voice-controlled speakers and online. For the first time that audience share is greater than analogue platforms - FM and AM. The number of hours of DAB radio listening grew by 31m hours (8.9%) year on year in the first quarter, to 376m hours.

"This is a landmark moment for for the radio industry and for listeners alike", said Ford Ennals, the chief executive of Digital Radio UK.

BBC listeners are ditching politics for classical music in the morning, according to official figures showing Radio 4's Today programme losing its audience while the Radio 3 breakfast show soars.

Today programme loses 65000 listeners as audience tunes out