Media: Big stories boost 5 Live figures

BBC Radio 5 Live was the big winner when Rajar audience figures for the final quarter of 2010 were announced last month.

Boosting figures: Five Live's Victoria Derbyshire
Boosting figures: Five Live's Victoria Derbyshire

The station recorded an increase of one million listeners compared with the same period in 2009.

5 Live pulled in a record 7.1 million listeners each week during Q4 of 2010, and 600,000 more tuned into the Breakfast show.

These figures make 5 Live a tasty target for PROs. 5 Live controller Adrian Van Klaveren says a succession of major stories helped boost figures.

'At the end of 2010, we had a series of big events, ranging from the spending review to the rescue of the Chilean miners and the start of The Ashes in Australia. These are the type of events where 5 Live really comes into its own,' he says.

5 Live is the BBC's national radio service specialising in news and sports commentaries. It is also is well known for live phone-ins and debate programmes.

With a range of specialist programmes, from hard news through to lifestyle and entertainment, the station relies heavily on audience involvement.

'The audience is crucial to everything we do,' says Van Klaveren. 'We want to hear about their experiences and opinions.

'This adds to the sense that all of 5 Live is a conversation with its audience and this often gives us some of our most powerful moments.'

When it comes to sports coverage, Stuart Skinner, associate director at PHA Media, believes 5 Live is the best station on the airwaves.

Skinner, who handles a number of sport and leisure clients for PHA, says that sport and debate shows present great opportunities for securing clients airtime.

'5 Live covers all kinds of sport in great depth. It has specific shows dedicated to specific sports, rather than just a general round-up,' he says. 'Quite often, we target the station for sporting individuals and people associated with sport. We set up a live interview recently with snooker player Ronnie O'Sullivan, when he was representing one of our brands.'

For PROs targeting 5 Live, Van Klaveren suggests tuning into the station to learn about the various programmes and what might be of interest to 5 Live.

He says this is essential if PROs want to be successful. 'We are a diverse station in terms of what we cover and different programmes have different agendas,' says Van Klaveren. 'The clue is in the name; the station is very much about being live.'

With the reach for the 6am-10am Breakfast show now exceeding three million for the first time, the morning show is a great place to start if you are pitching stories and interviews.

Van Klaveren points out that the Breakfast show feeds into the entire station and across the BBC network, and says that 'if it doesn't work for Breakfast, it might work somewhere else'.

Weekly reach: 7.1 million (Source: Rajar, Q4, 2010)
Market share: 5.3 per cent
Demographic: 70 per cent of listeners are male
Average age of listener: 47


The Breakfast show feeds into the entire station and across the BBC network.Email


- What makes Radio 5 Live different from its rivals?

We aim to offer everything that matters to people right around the country. There is also something about the tone of what we do; it is very informal, relaxed and engaging. We try to draw people in and keep them listening. It is not the old-fashioned, formal style of news presentation.

- Why do you think you have added so many listeners in the last quarter of 2010?

The station has a real focus and clarity on what it is trying to achieve. In terms of individual quarters, there are particular events that can help 5 Live.

- Describe your listeners

It is a huge range, spread across the country. It is much more about attitude and sharing a set of interests. We are certainly not aiming for a single demographic. However, looking at the average figures, our listeners are 70 per cent male, with an average age of 47.

- What is your advice for PROs wanting to secure coverage with 5 Live?

Listen to the station and get a feel for the different programmes. The key thing is to tell us the top line of the story, what is happening, why it is newsworthy and give us a sense of who we can talk to. 5 Live is all about talking to people.

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