Chris Evans radio show drops 400,000 listeners after Top Gear

Chris Evans' BBC Radio Two breakfast show lost more than 400,000 listeners in the three months after he quit Top Gear, new figures show.

Chris Evans. Picture: Toby Williams
Chris Evans. Picture: Toby Williams

Nick Grimshaw’s morning offering on Radio One has also lost listeners but the once-doomed digital station Radio 6 Music has continued to grow its audience for a fifth consecutive quarter.

The Chris Evans Breakfast Show attracted 9.06 million listeners per week in the third quarter of 2016, compared with 9.47 million in the second quarter and 9.42 million in the same period last year.

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Evans quit as host of the motoring show on July 4.

The Radio 1 Breakfast Show With Nick Grimshaw attracted 5.25 million listeners per week in the third quarter,down from 5.43 million in the second and 5.78 million last year, according to the latest figures released by audience research body Rajar.

Radio Three’s Breakfast show saw a drop in listeners from 751,000 in the second quarter down to 579,000 in the third quarter, while Radio 4’s Today programme also suffered a small drop, down to 7.1 million from 7.35 million the quarter before but an improvement on 6.76 million at the same time last year.

However, Radio 4 as a whole posted a weekly reach of 11.23 million during the period from June 27 to September 18, the station’s second highest audience after a record second quarter.

Radio 1 also improved its reach, pulling in 9.87 million listeners in the third quarter, rising to 10.9 million when listeners aged 10 to 14 are included, compared with 9.46 million last quarter, and 10.56 million last year.

Ben Cooper, controller of Radio 1 & 1Xtra, said: “Reaching 11 million people and putting on a further half a million 10 to 24-year-olds shows that Radio 1 is doing a great job for young listeners, although as ever, Rajar figures are only part of the picture and should be seen alongside the increase to 1.5 million views a day on our YouTube channel and our 8.5 million users on social media.”

Digital-only station BBC Radio 6 Music broke its audience record for the fifth time in a row, drawing 2.34 million listeners, up from its previous record of 2.27 million in the second quarter and 2.19 million last year.

Helen Boaden, director of BBC Radio, said: “Another fantastic quarter for BBC Radio 6 Music.

“I’m delighted that more and more people are discovering the station’s irresistible combination of outstanding alternative music and witty presenters, who love what they play and who effortlessly share their musical passions with the audience.

“Congratulations too to BBC Radio 4 and BBC Asian Network who have retained many of their new listeners by delivering outstanding content every day.”