Scottish Daily Mail

The big turn off: 30,000 quit BBC Radio Scotland

- By Graham Grant Home Affairs Editor

THE weekly number of BBC Radio Scotland listeners has slumped by nearly 30,000 in the past year.

The average amount of people tuning in each week fell from 877,000 in the first quarter of 2022 to 850,000 between January and March of this year.

The latest Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar) figures come after the station faced criticism over a presenter referring to Nicola Sturgeon as ‘our leader’ during an interview with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in January.

Fresh concerns about pro-SNP bias were raised after the comment was made on Good Morning Scotland by Laura Maciver, who asked Mr Sunak: ‘Are you pursuing a different relationsh­ip with our leader and with Holyrood from your predecesso­rs?’

BBC Scotland said the remark happened in an ‘unscripted’ interview and its journalist­s should have described Ms Sturgeon by her then title of First Minister.

Last night, a BBC Scotland spokesman said: ‘Radio Scotland continues to perform very robustly in a competitiv­e marketplac­e.’

The Rajar stats also show a huge drop in Radio 4 audience numbers, while Radio 2 lost listeners to new rivals. In the first quarter of 2023, Radio 4 posted its lowest tally since 2007 at 9.4million – having shed 1.2million listeners in a year.

One industry source said Radio 4’s attempts to ‘modernise’ may be turning off its core audience, with shows like Today perceived to be airing ‘woke’ content. Radio 2, which has been hit by controvers­y over the departures of a string of older presenters, lost 121,000 weekly listeners in a year.

But two rivals targeting its disaffecte­d listeners – Greatest Hits Radio, which poached Scots presenter Ken Bruce, and Boom Radio – both posted strong growth.

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