Chris Evans loses R2 listeners after Top Gear backlash

Former Top Gear presenter Chris Evans
Former Top Gear presenter Chris Evans
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CHRIS Evans’ Radio 2 Breakfast show audience fell by more than 200,000 listeners to 9.47m during a turbulent period which covered the launch of Top Gear and the presenter’s decision to quit the rebooted show, according to figures fron listening bureau, Rajar.

Elsewhere, Brexit proved good for business at the Today programme after the flagship Radio 4 current affairs show surged to its highest-ever listening figures.

Today’s weekly audience soared to 7.35m listeners, during a quarter which covered the EU Referendum and the political shockwaves from the June result. The Today programme team, which has successfully integrated recent arrival Nick Robinson, attracted nearly 600,000 new listeners since the Spring. The audience has increased from 6.68m year-on-year.

The programme’s Referendum coverage included long-form pieces by John Humphrys about the economy and immigration.

A BBC spokesman said the speech station had benefited from “listeners wanting access to high quality, impartial journalism as they woke up during those crucial campaigning months.”

Woman’s Hour was boosted by a “takeover” from guest editors including Angelina Jolie-Pitt and Mary Berry. Gwyneth Williams, Controller Radio 4, said: “Our listeners trust us to bring them a uniquely rich and surprising mix of programmes – from the biggest political interviews to the context in global debates, science, original drama and satire.

“Rather than simply wanting a quick fix on the headlines as they wake up, our discerning listeners turn to Today to hear some of the best journalism and interviewing in the world, giving them a deeper understanding of the stories of the day.”

Nick Grimshaw’s Breakfast slow slumped to a low of 5.43m weekly listeners. Radio 1 said the figure rose to 5.82m when children aged 10+ are included. Radio 1 shrugged off a decade low audience of 9.46m by pointing to its YouTube channel which receives an average of 1.15m views a day. Shaun Keaveny’s 6 Music Breakfast show broke the one million listeners barrier for the first time. Radio 3’s Essential Classics series recorded a record weekly audience of 954,000 listeners. The Archers received its highest ever on-demand figure for the April 3 “stabbing” episode which received 375,000 web requests.