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Ivan Yates drives record audience for Newstalk as station nears 2FM share in latest radio figures

Communicorp-owned stations performed strongly in the latest round of JNLR figures.

Ivan Yates
Ivan Yates
Image: RollingNews.ie

NEWSTALK AND TODAYFM have kicked off the new year with record audience numbers, making gains on their RTÉ rivals, according to the latest JNLR listenership figures.

The Communicorp-owned stations have experienced gains across their prime-time slots over the last 12 months, with TodayFM pulling away with a 7.4% market share.

Ivan Yates has also helped drive the growth at Newstalk, with his evening show The Hard Shoulder now the station’s most-listened to show with an audience of 170,000.

The station’s market share is now 6.9%, up 0.6% on the figure from this time last year, bringing it almost level with 2FM.

The RTÉ station saw year-on-year gains across its prime-time shows, but its market share of 7% represents a drop of 7.2% from last quarter.

RTÉ Radio 1 remains the most-listened to station in the country, with a 21.9% market share and a weekly reach of 1,387,000.

Here’s how each of the national stations performed:

RTÉ

It was mostly positive news for Radio One’s midweek schedule in the latest JNLR figures, with all shows up among its prime slots, with the exception of Drivetime, which had marginal losses.

Here’s a breakdown (all figures refer to changes since the last quarter):

  • Morning Ireland  – up 6,000 to 439,000 listeners
  • The Ryan Tubridy Show – up 12,000 to 325,000
  • Today with Seán O’Rourke – up 3,000 to 320,000
  • The Ronan Collins show – up 4,000 to 221,000
  • News at One – up 2,000 to 343,000
  • Liveline with Joe Duffy – up 7,000 to 381,000
  • The Ray D’Arcy show – up 2,000 to 221,000
  • Drivetime – down 1,000 to 221,000

The Ryan Tubridy Show show saw the biggest gains for the station, having increased listener numbers by 12,000 since September.

Despite Morning Ireland’s loss of 4,000 listeners over the quarter, it remains Ireland’s most-listened to radio show, and has gained 16,000 listeners since this time last year, representing a good first year with Bryan Dobson as co-presenter. 

Tom McGuire, the head of RTÉ Radio One, told TheJournal.ie that these figures reflected a “really solid” schedule for the station.

“The audience like the mix of sport, music, entertainment, current affairs, drama, and arts” he said. “That’s what Radio One has always been: it’s been a bit of everything.”

He also said that Morning Ireland was increasingly popular online and among viewers of RTÉ News Now, who could look forward to the introduction of a new studio for the show later this year.

Meanwhile, it was a mixed quarter for 2FM, with Breakfast Republic down 2,000 to 187,000, the Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene with no change on 153,000, Tracey Clifford up 3,000 listeners to 145,000 and Eoghan McDermott down 7,000 to 138,000. 

However, all four shows saw gains on the figures from 12 months ago, with Tracey Clifford the standout performer with a jump of 12,000 listeners.

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Dan Healy, head of RTÉ’s 2FM told TheJournal.ie said the year-on-year gains were positive for a schedule that has been in place for the last three years. 

“We probably would have expected a bit more from this book,” he said. “We thought we’d be a bit stronger, but it feels like business as usual.”

He said that the station planned a series of events over the coming year, including with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, which he expected would assist in creating more awareness of what the station has to offer.

The station now has 837,000 weekly listeners, down 7,000 from last quarter.

Today FM

It was a mostly positive book for Today FM’s primetime midweek shows, with a particularly strong quarter for Ian Dempsey’s morning slot.

  • Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show – up 18,000 to 180,000 listeners
  • Dermot & Dave – up 1,000 to 165,000
  • Muireann O’Connell – down 6,000 to 99,000
  • Fergal D’Arcy – no change at 112,000.
  • The Last Word with Matt Cooper – up 5,000 to 142,000

All shows saw year-on-year gains on their listeners, with a spokesperson for Today FM saying they were “delighted” with the figures.

The station’s CEO Keith McCormack said he was happy to see a young audience driving the station’s growth.

“How they listen may be changing, but what remains constant is their desire for great personalities and great audio content,” he added.

The station’s weekly reach now stands at 893,000 listeners – a record for the station.

Newstalk

Newstalk also had a solid performance, with gains across the board for shows on its prime-time schedule,  including a particularly strong performance for Ivan Yates’ Hard Shoulder:

  • Newstalk Breakfast – up 7,000 to 128,000 listeners
  • Pat Kenny Show – up 3,000 to 155,000
  • Lunchtime Live with Ciara Kelly – up 4,000 to 105,000
  • Moncrieff – up 6,000 to 97,000
  • The Hard Shoulder with Ivan Yates – up 13,000 to 170,000

All shows were up year-on-year, and Patricia Monahan, Managing Editor of Newstalk, said is was clear that the station’s presenters were providing the insight, opinion and analysis its listeners wanted.

“Today’s figures are the result of strong team-work across the Newstalk schedule,” she added.

The station also achieved its highest-ever prime time audience, with a 6.9% market share, a year-on-year increase of 0.6%. 

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