Radio 1 figures make Grim reading as Breakfast Show sheds 1 million listeners

Nick Grimshaw recorded the lowest figures in ten years for his early morning show, while Radio 2 competitor Chris Evans celebrated a record audience

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Forget sweating the small stuff over on BBC3, new Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Nick Grimshaw has some bigger problems to think about after new figures for the opening quarter of 2013 revealed the programme had hit a ten-year low.

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Grimshaw has lost 900,000 listeners since his first three-month period in charge, between October and December 2012, and almost a million compared with the last full quarter recorded by his predecessor Chris Moyles.

An average of 5.8 million now tune in to listen to Grimshaw each week, according to Rajar (Radio Joint Audience Research), the lowest figure for the show since it was fronted by Sara Cox almost a decade ago.

The result is in stark contrast to the continued success of Chris Evans’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show which celebrated its biggest ever adience, up 600,000 to 9.8 million each week in the first quarter of 2013, compared with the same period last year.

The pattern was echoed across the two channels, with Radio 1’s average weekly audience of 10.3 million marking a 7.9% drop year on year, while Radio 2 drew a record 15.3 million listeners and its biggest ever audience share of 17.7%.

For only the second time ever since a new measurement system was instigated in 1999, Radio 1 also fell behind Radio 4, which was listened to by 10.8 million per week.

Grimshaw was brought in to replace Moyles as part of Radio 1 controlller Ben Cooper’s attempts to attract a greater share of the 15 to 29-year-old demographic, under instruction from the corporation’s governing body the BBC Trust.

A Radio 1 spokesman said of the results: “When you put in a new schedule and target new listeners it takes time to build a new audience, both for Grimmy and the entire station.

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“Ben has got a two-year plan for the station and this is the second quarter of it. It is the biggest set of changes to the station in a generation. We were expecting this kind of situation. Even though the audience is slightly smaller our focus is on the younger demographic.”