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Radio wars: Ivan Yates smiling in the Hard Shoulder as ditched Today FM presenter wins listeners

RTÉ’s dominance of the top 20 shows is broken only by Ivan Yates.

Yates' show breaks into Ireland's top 20 in listenership terms.
Yates' show breaks into Ireland's top 20 in listenership terms.
Image: RollingNews.ie

NEWSTALK’S THE HARD Shoulder with Ivan Yates is one of the biggest winners of the latest release of radio listenership figures.

The drivetime show gained 10,000 listeners in the last quarter and now reaches 183,000 people daily, breaking into the top 20 most-listened to shows on Irish radio.

The Hard Shoulder is in 20th place on that list, with all of the other 19 shows being broadcast on RTÉ Radio One.

RTÉ’s Morning Ireland remains the most-listened to show in the country, reaching 424,000 people daily, an increase of 3,000 on the previous quarter.

Despite RTÉ One’s apparent domination of radio listenership, some of the station’s major news-focused shows have dipped since May.

While Ryan Tubridy and Ray D’Arcy have both increased their listenerships according to the JNLR figures, Today with Sean O’Rourke, the News at One and Drivetime have all lost listeners.

The News at One recorded a 5,000 quarterly fall having also fallen by 9,000 in the three months previous.

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


  • Morning Ireland – Was 421,000 now 424,000. Up 3,000.
  • The Ryan Tubridy Show – Was 328,000 now 332,000. Up 4,000.
  • Today with Sean O’Rourke – Was 322,000 now 319,000. Down 3,000.
  • The Ronan Collins show – Was 220,000 now 219,000. Down 1,000. 
  • News at One – Was 334,000 now 329,000. Down 5,000.
  • Liveline with Joe Duffy – Was 375,000 now 372,000. Down 3,000.
  • Ray D’Arcy – Was 220,000 now 223,000. Up 3,000.
  • Drivetime – Was 223,000 now 221,000. Down 2,000.

RTÉ Radio One’s managing editor described the listenership figures as “solid” and said that the station’s programmes were “performing well across the board”.

“We’re particularly happy with the gains for Ryan Tubridy and Ray D’Arcy. We’re also very happy to have increased our market share overall, driven by gains in our key demographics,” he said.

pastedImage (1) The top 20 most-listened to shows on Irish radio. Source: JNLR/IPSOS


Communicorp-owned Newstalk hailed the results for The Hard Shoulder and said its listenership was now “an all-time high for a Newstalk programme”.

The station also said it had consolidated its position as the second-most-listened to station in Ireland.

  • Newstalk Breakfast – Was 122,000 now 123,000. Down 1,000.
  • The Pat Kenny Show – Was 150,000 now 142,000. Down 8,000.
  • Lunchtime Live with Ciara Kelly – Was 100,000 now 99,000. Down 1,000.
  • Moncrieff – Was 97,000 now 96,00. Down 1,000.
  • The Hard Shoulder with Ivan Yates – Was 173,000 now 183,000 listeners.
  • Off The Ball – Was 54,000 now 51,000 listeners. Down 3,000.

Managing editor of Newstalk Patricia Monahan said the station was “delighted” with the results. 

“It is great to see the audience responding to our unique blend of opinion and analysis on everything from health and housing issues to the best blockbusters and Beaujolais,” she said.

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Today FM

The release of the latest figures comes two days after Today FM announced a big shake up of its its afternoon and evening programming.

The station announced on Tuesday that presenters Muireann O’Connell and Louise Duffy are leaving the station with Mairead Ronan making a comeback in O’Connell’s slot.

O’Connell said in a tweet that she had been “fired” by the station. The latest figures show that she gained 3,000 listeners in the past three months, with Fergal D’Arcy also gaining 3,000 listeners.

In the previous quarter, both O’Connell and D’Arcy had lost 6,000 listeners in the three months to May.

  • Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show – Was 181,000 now 179,00. Down 2,000.
  • Dermot & Dave – Was 163,000 still 163,000. No change.
  • Muireann O’Connell – Was 93,000 now 96,000. Up 3,000.
  • Fergal D’Arcy – Was 106,000 now 109,000. Up 3,000.
  • The Last Word with Matt Cooper. Was 152,000 now 151,000. Down 1,000.

Matt Cooper’s programme remains in third place in the competitive drivetime battle with RTÉ One and Newstalk but lost just 1,000 listeners in the recent quarter after a 10,000 jump last time out.

Station CEO Keith McCormack has hailed Today FM’s performance among the 25-44 age bracket as a key result for the station. 

“Today FM is the number 1 station in the increasingly competitive 25-44 year old market and reassuringly, we can see that they’re listening to Today FM for longer, staying with us throughout the day,” he said. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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