Commercial radio advertising revenues hit an all-time high in 2021

Radiocentre data reveals commercial radio grew 25% year-on-year

Figures released by industry body Radiocentre reveal commercial radio took £718.7 million in ad revenue in 2021, breaking the medium’s previous record of £713.6m set in 2018. This highest-ever revenue represents 25% growth year-on-year vs. a pandemic-hit 2020. Digital ad formats were the fastest-growing element and now represent around 10% of total radio ad revenue.

Whilst Entertainment and Leisure, Government, Finance, and Motors continue to be the highest-spending sectors for radio advertising, the medium was also boosted by 87% y-o-y growth in spend among Travel & Transport advertisers, almost doubling from £32.9 million in 2020 to £51 million in 2021, as lockdowns eased and the travel industry was able to return to business. This post-pandemic recovery was further bolstered by significant growth in spend from individual advertisers such as online motors brands WeBuyAnyCar and Cinch; supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury’s; and technology firms Samsung and Amazon.

This follows last week’s RAJAR figures showing how commercial radio has increased its share of total listening time to 48%, up from 47.1% in the previous quarter. The same figures reveal healthy audiences for all of UK radio, posting its biggest-ever audience with 49.5m people now tuning in each week, representing 89% of the adult population (RAJAR Q4 2021).

Ian Moss, CEO of Radiocentre says: “It is fantastic to see revenues at a record high this year particularly after a challenging couple of years. These figures show radio has a really strong foundation to build on as we come out the other side of the pandemic and demonstrates that investment in digital platforms continue to pay off”.

Featured image: Jonathan Velasquez


MediaCat is an online publication exploring marketing and media change. It focuses on brands, the environments where they operate, and the industries that serve them, reporting on ideas, trends, and perspectives. Delving into modern brand experiences, evolving media landscapes, emerging forms of insight, the dynamic world of commerce, forces of transformation in organisations and markets, and the drivers of social impact, the magazine aims to guide professionals navigating a brave new world.

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