BBC Radio 4 is one of the biggest radio stations in the UK with over 11 million listeners who tune in, on average, for over 11 hours every week. The station's reach and the quality of its output make it a leader in intelligent speech. Its news, current affairs and documentary output set a national agenda around what is important and help shed new light on issues in genres including history, science, politics, ethics, religion and arts.
However, the radio category as a whole is finding it challenging to bring in younger audiences. For example, 35-54 year olds spend over 90 minutes less time with radio each week now versus 10 years ago, while for 15-34 year olds the difference is more than a 4 hours reduction in time spent listening (RAJAR Q1 2017 vs Q1 2007).
Like the category as a whole, it is important for Radio 4 to attract its next generation of listeners, the crucial group being 25-54 year olds. Qualitative research with this audience had already revealed that, while there was a real appetite for intelligent, informative content, there were also clear barriers to consuming it on Radio 4 that needed addressing. And the main barrier was that this audience felt the station lacked the modernity required to make them feel that it was 'for them'.