New radio listenership figures released by the SA Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) show growth in community radio, with overall penetration by the sector up to over 22%, according to a media release from Misa.

The media release reads:

It's a quiet start to the year for the radio industry, certainly when it comes to the latest RAMS audience figures released this morning, Tuesday, 17 February 2009, with no individual radio station growing
significantly over the previous RAMS period.

According to SAARF RAMS February 2009, year on year however, many stations are attracting more listeners than they did in the same period last year. Radio in total has also grown, with weekly
listening up from 92.0% last year, to 93.7% currently, and average weekday listening up from 75.0% to 77.1%.

While there may be more people tuning in to the medium, time spent listening is down on the year previous, by 18 minutes, although it is stable over RAMS November 2008.

The following radio stations are attracting significantly bigger audiences than they did in the release of the year previous:

  • 5FM, from 4.8% penetration to 5.5%, with 1.715 million listeners a week. \
  • 94.7 Highveld Stereo, up across the week from 3.8% to 4.5%, with 1.405 million listeners.
  • 99.2 YFM has grown both across the week, from 3.9% to 4.5% (1.410 million listeners), and on an average Monday to Friday, from 1.6% to 2.0%.
  • Gagasi 99.5 FM is up across the week, from 4.8% to 6.0% (with 1.886 million listeners), and during the working week from 2.9% to 3.5%.
  • Radio 2000 has grown its audience on a weekly basis from 0.8% to 1.1%.
  • Talk Radio 702 is up from 1.3% to 1.7% reach weekly, with 528 000 listeners.
  • Ukhozi FM has grown its audience to 6.629 million across the week, with a reach up from 19.9% to 21.2%.
  • Total Community has grown significantly from 19.6% to 22.3% across the week, as well as on an average Monday to Friday, from 10.5% to 11.5%. Provinces showing a substantial annual increase in community radio listening are North West, Limpopo, Free State and the Eastern Cape.
  • Three community stations have also shown growth: East Rand Stereo 93.9fm has grown its weekly reach from 0.3% to 0.7%, with 44 000 listeners; Izwi loMzansi 98.0 fm from 0.3% to 1.2% across the week (78 000 listeners); and Qwa-Qwa Radio, with 209 000 weekly listeners, up from 6.7% to 10.4% reach.

The following stations showed declines over the same period (Feb 08 to Feb 09 release):

  • 94.2 Jacaranda, down from 4.1% to 3.4%, average Monday to Friday.
  • RMFM's audience has dropped from 0.8% to 0.5%, on an average Monday to Friday.
  • Thobela's weekday audience has declined from 6.4% to 5.6%.
  • Trufm has lost audience, from 1.7% to 1.3% (past 7 days).

The industry can now look forward to the end of February, when SAARF releases the full results of Teen RAMS, an additional RAMS sample of 13 – 15-year-olds covering the July to December 2008 period.

Other RAMS developments which will come into effect this year include substantially larger sample sizes, as primary diary keepers increase from 21 000 to 25 000 per year, with the inclusion of a second Small Urban/Rural sample from July to December 2009. In addition to the flooding of the Large Urban sample, the Small Urban/Rural samples will now also be flooded, boosting the number of diary keepers from 48 000 to 60 000 per year.

Finally, all SAARF's research, including RAMS, will now include 15-year-olds as part of the adult universe.

The second release of SAARF RAMS for 2009 is scheduled tentatively for 22 April 2009.

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