BBC Radio 2 has shed one million listeners since the departure in March of star broadcaster Ken Bruce, according to the latest quarterly figures from audience research body Rajar.

Mr Bruce left the berth he had occupied for more than three decades to host a new show on Greatest Hits Radio, operated by the Bauer Media Group which also owns Absolute Radio and Jazz FM.

Following his arrival, Greatest Hits Radio saw a 13% jump in its average weekly audience, from 5.1 million in between January and March to 5.8 million in April-June, part of a 59% year-on-year increase.

Meanwhile BBC Radio 2 saw its average weekly listener share drop by 7%, from 14.5 million in the first quarter of 2023 to 13.5 million in the period between April and June. It is the largest quarterly fall for the network since audience Rajar resumed collecting data in September 2021 following its suspension at the start of the pandemic.

When Mr Bruce left the BBC he took with him his popular music quiz PopMaster, now also a Channel 4 programme fronted by him. Following his departure, veteran BBC DJ Gary Davies filled in as mid-morning host until Vernon Kay took over permanently in May.

Commenting on the figures, the Glasgow-born broadcaster said: “I’ve always said that it’s not really about the numbers and it’s not, for me at least. But I’m delighted to hear today’s news for the team here at my new home, Greatest Hits Radio.

“My first four months have flown by, and I’ve loved every minute of it, and there's much more to come.”

This week Mr Bruce also announced that he was to head up a new station with Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio portfolio called Ken Bruce’s Secret 60s devoted to music of the 1960s.


Across the dial, BBC Radio 4 is also losing audience share. The Rajar figures show listeners have also fallen to their lowest level since the pandemic, averaging nine million between April and June, down 5% from 9.4 million in the previous quarter. That’s a year-on-year drop of 1.3 million.

The station’s flagship morning news show, the Today programme, was down 300,000 listeners from first quarter figures.

However there was better news at BBC Radio Scotland where audiences are holding more or less steady, with the station actually showing an 8.4% year-on-year increase.