Recent data from Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) shows that BBC Radio 3’s audience in the last quarter was 2.03 million – up 6% from 1.91 million last year.

The station attributes the increase to ‘more experimental and innovative programming alongside focuses on core classical through Our Classical Century’.

Other potential contributions include the Breakfast show’s ‘On the River’ focus, which included a mix of slow radio and contemplative listening, as well as live recordings of concerts; new shows presented by Jess Gillam, Tom Service and Kate Molleson; and Fingal’s Cave, an immersive experiential piece of sound art that generated a great deal of interest.

The data comes as part of an analysis of listener numbers across the spread of BBC Radio stations.

James Purnell, director of BBC Radio and Education, said: ‘With 34 million tuning in each week, our stations and programmes continues to make a difference in the daily lives of our audiences. Our biggest radio stations are the most listened to in the UK and yet again we’ve seen how loyal listeners are with many millions of people tuning in each week’.

Alan Davey, BBC Radio 3 controller, said: ‘BBC Radio 3 encourages as many people as possible to explore experimental, boundary pushing programming, from classical, jazz, and avant garde to arts discussion , drama, poetry and slow radio through intelligent and adventurous content. It’s a compelling offer and that’s why we’ve seen audiences remain strong at over two million listeners.’