Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Radio statistics for the first half of 2009 are out, reflecting changes in licenses and listener habits for the first time since the Swiss federal government redistributed licenses in October 2008. A station can operate without a license, but it does not receive a share of the mandatory fees collected.
Radio Cité, which was given one of three new licenses among the 14 in total, has lost ground in Geneva and remains the least-listened-to station, with some 12,000 daily listeners on average in Geneva, while One FM, which initially lost its license despite being the city’s most popular private radio station, then was offered Buzz FM’s license by that station, has gained ground and now has 75,600 daily listeners.
The lion’s share of radio audiences goes to the several public radion stations owned by SSR, the public broadcasting system. The youngest member, English-languge World Radio Switzerland (WRS), is slowly but steadily building its audience, particularly beyond its original home (as World Radio Geneva, a private station) throughout Switzerland as it develops into a national English-language station.
It now has 20.6 listeners per 1,000. The time spent listening has risen to 23.3 minutes. “Extending the duration was a big priority for us,” says Philippe Mottaz, WRS managing director, who notes that when people spend more time on a radio station they appreciate more clearly its value. The station will be distributed nationwide on DAB starting 15 October, which Mottaz expects to have a strong impact on the number of listeners.
By comparison, One FM has 102.3 listeners per 1,000 and its fans listen 40.3 minutes a day. Radio Lac, which is popular in Lausanne as well as Geneva, has 64.1 listeners per 1,000 and people listen on average 33.6 minutes a day.
Publica Data, which monitors stations’ listeners, cautions that with a revised system to collect data starting 1 January 2009 the new figures cannot easily be compared to past numbers. A spokesman for Publica Data told GenevaLunch that WRS figures should also be viewed separately because listener time during programming which is shared, such as the popular BBC News, is not measured or included in figures unless the listener was already tuned into the station. The numbers may also be slightly skewered because the sample audience listeners whose radio time is measured must be able to fill out questionnaires in French or German.
Mottaz notes that SSR is still looking at the best way to measure WRS audiences throughout the country.