There is no one who works in radio who doesn't know who Gillian Reynolds is. She is what is known in the trade as a "doyen". She writes about radio every week in the Sunday Times Culture Magazine, having joined the paper eighteen months ago having spent several decades doing the same job for the Daily Telegraph.
To cut to the chase, Gillian is someone any half decent radio presenter wants to please. I've never actually met her, but I remember about five years ago she appeared on Radio 4's Media Show and said something along the lines of 'I can't listen to him because he's got a whiney voice'. I must admit it hurt a bit. I know my voice can be a little soporific at times, but do I really whine? I'd like to think not.
Anyway, she's clearly warming to me. In her new column she's positively reviewed the For the Many Podcast and also written a couple of nice things about my radio show. In today's Sunday Times she did it again.
I am honoured to have her company of an evening!
On Thursday the Q4 2018 Rajar audience figures were released. They showed that in the first three months of my new evening show I achieved the highest audience that slot has ever got in LBC's 46 year history. When you start a new show it's normal for it to take some time to bed in, and often the audience can go down. I was prepared for this given also that we've introduced a completely new format. So to get a year on year increase from 475,000 listeners a week to 600,000 listeners was both a relief and highly pleasing.
The Drivetime slot, 4-7pm, which I presented for five and a half years until September, has also gone up to 905,000 - a figure I never got to. I told James Rea, the Managing Editor at LBC, that both sets of figures rather vindicated his decisions! All this contributed to the fact that LBC achieved record listener figures of 2.21 million, a 9% increase. When you think that Radio 4 was down by 7%, Radio 5 Live was down by 10% and Radio 2 by 4%, it shows you just how well LBC is doing. However, you're only as good as your last figures and one swallow does not make a summer.
Rajar is a tricky beast to tame and one thing I have learned is that you should always treat brilliant figures with suspicion, but also do the same with disastrous ones. I remember one quarter Rajar apparently recorded that I lost 50% of my listeners in London. They were compensated for by a large rise in the audience outside London, but even so, I knew it was preposterous. So I am very pleased, with these most recent figures, but you can only really judge a new show on a full year's figures.