Radio listening booms as people self-isolate

"These figures indicate that the public are turning to radio in times of crisis"


Words by: Billy Ward

With people across the country being ordered to stay at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak, new figures have suggested that radio stations are seeing a significant rise in listeners.

Global, which owns Capital FM and talk station LBC, said online radio listening had risen by 15% in the last week while the BBC said streaming of its radio services had seen an 18% rise.

BBC Radio and Education director James Purnell said: “People turn to us during significant events for our news and analysis but also for music, entertainment and companionship. Last week, we saw record live listening on BBC Sounds”.

“These figures indicate that the public are turning to radio in times of crisis,” a spokeswoman for Global said.

However, some music streaming platforms are showing less usage since the outbreak began. Data from two US analytics companies suggested use of music-streaming apps such as Spotify had dipped by around 8%.

The streaming decline is likely explained by people no longer commuting to work, going to the gym or shops, which would also normally be streaming music on their floors.

Read next: The UK music industry pulls together to fight the economic impact of coronavirus

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