Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 breakfast show records lowest listening figures in six years

The host, who is soon to leave the station and be replaced by Zoe Ball, has lost more than half a million listeners over the past year

Chris Evans, Getty, SL

Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 breakfast show has lost more than half a million listeners over the past year, according to radio audience figures.

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The host attracted 8.82 million weekly listeners between July and September 2018, down from 9.35 million during the same period in 2017, according to a report by radio industry body Rajar.

The figure is the lowest audience for the Radio 2 breakfast show since 2012.

Evans is leaving the station in December after 13 years to join Virgin.

New host Zoe Ball will become the first woman to helm the Radio 2 breakfast show.

Radio 2’s overall audience figures were also at their lowest since 2012, with the station having notched up 14.6 million weekly listeners, down from 15.4 million last year. However, Radio 2 is still the most listened to station in the UK.

All but two of the BBC’s national radio stations saw a dip in audience figures, with the exception of digital-only stations 6Music and BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra.

Evans isn’t the only Radio 2 veteran leaving the station this year: Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley’s partnership on Drivetime is coming to an end, with Mayo departing the station after 17 years.

Whiley, meanwhile, is moving to a 7pm-9pm Monday to Thursday slot to present a new music show. A new Drivetime host is still to be confirmed.

Radio 1’s breakfast show – which was recently taken over by Greg James – added almost half a million listeners on a year-on-year basis, and 5 Live’s breakfast show, hosted by Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden, added 259,000 listeners.

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Absolute Radio’s breakfast show and Chris Moyles’ morning slot on Radio X also enjoyed a surge in listeners. Kiss’s breakfast show with Rickie, Melvin and Charlie and the Capital breakfast show with Roman Kemp and Vick Hope both saw a dip in audience figures.