The radio station was launched in 2002 with a focus on alternative music. At the time, it was the first national music radio station to be launched by the BBC in 32 years.
According to the BBC, more than 2.8million listeners tuned in to BBC Radio 6 Music in the first quarter of the year. It is the highest quarterly listening figure since the Radio Joint Audience Research organisation (known as RAJAR) changed its methodology for measuring listening stats after the pandemic.
A total of 1.41million listeners alone tune in to the station for Lauren Laverne’s breakfast show, the figures reveal. As well as 6 Music’s 20th anniversary celebrations, its festival in Cardiff also contributed to the rise in listeners.
The RAJAR figures also show that 33.81million people tuned in to BBC Radio each week, while BBC Sounds received a record number of plays of its podcasts and on-demand radio programmes, with 179 million plays.
“How better to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the much loved BBC Radio 6 Music than with these figures!” Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, said. “They really illustrate the unique place that the station has in its listeners’ lives, with its eclectic schedule and specialist, passionate DJs who day in and day out champion music. Congratulations to everyone involved in making the station the success it continues to be!”
Moore continued: “And what a way to mark the return of our live music festivals this year, as we emerge from the pandemic and look ahead to Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Coventry, an eight week season of the BBC Proms and Radio 2 Live in Leeds, bringing big acts and a wide range of performances to audiences across the UK.”
“All our live stations provide millions of people with relevant, world-class content so brilliantly, and we also continue to see BBC Sounds grow as listening habits evolve, particularly amongst younger audiences,” she added.
In February, RAJAR stats showed that BBC Radio 6 Music was the UK’s top digital radio station, with 2.6million listeners.
The BBC 6 Music Festival 2022 featured performances from the likes of Little Simz, Khruangbin, Father John Misty, IDLES, Bloc Party and Johnny Marr. Manic Street Preachers kicked off the event with an intimate show at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach, during which they performed a cover of Madonna’s 1984 single ‘Borderline’.