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Radio Wars

RTÉ has been sent to the bold step over 'misleading' listenership figures

The broadcaster had to publish a clarification over a show’s claimed increase in listeners.

RTÉ WAS FOUND to be in breach of guidelines on listenership figures after it said a 2fm show had increased its listenership by more than 70,000.

The state broadcaster trumpeted the success of Breakfast Republic in an article detailing the the latest Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) figures, claiming the show’s listenership had increased from 119,000 to 196,000 in a three-month period.

The show, presented by Keith Walsh, Jennifer Maguire, and Bernard O’Shea, airs weekday mornings between 6am and 9am.

However, Ryan Tubridy had left the station for Radio 1 since the release of July’s figures. Breakfast Republic received 75 minutes of his old timeslot, meaning the show was now on air for longer and had absorbed more listeners.

A similar increase in listeners was claimed for Nicky Byrne’s show, which gained an extra hour.

Today FM branded the RTÉ’s portrayal of these figures as “misleading” and “potentially damaging”.

The Broadcasting Authority’s guidelines on audience growth says these figures must ‘treated carefully’, and any increase on a previous audience figure must be based on the same time slot. The JNLR committee found RTÉ to be in breach of this.

The broadcaster subsequently published a clarification on their website of the figures, while also getting a dig in at Today FM over slight drops in listenership across The Last Word, The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, and The Anton Savage Show.

“It was incorrect to say that this audience has increased as a direct comparison cannot be made,” the article now reads.

Directly comparing 2fm’s morning schedule between 6am to midday with Today FM’s, the commercial rival remains ahead, culminating in a 46,000 listener difference between 8.00am and 8.14am.

2fm share’s of the 15 to 34 age bracket has increased 21% year-on-year, while Today FM grew its entire listenership by 20,000 to 903,000 year-on-year.

Read: RTÉ’s radio have had a STELLAR three months – here’s the latest radio figures >

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