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RTÉ has been losing listeners to commercial stations but Radio 1 is still top dog

Today FM and Newstalk see strong gains across their entire week-day schedule.
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RTÉ RADIO ONE is still the most listened to station in Ireland despite a drop in its overall audience, according to recent figures published this afternoon.

The JNLR listenership figures released today show Morning Ireland is the most-listened-to radio programme in the country with 450,000 people tuning in each morning down 41,000 on the same period last year.

The Brendan O’Connor Show on Saturday morning comes in second place with 366,000 listeners, and 329,000 listeners tuning in to the programme every Sunday morning.

The Ryan Tubridy Show with 359,000 listeners is the third most-listened-to programme down 22,000, followed by Joe Duffy’s Liveline with 346,000 listeners.

Rounding out the top five is Today with Claire Byrne with 340,000 listeners tuning in, down 29,000 on the same period last year.

Commenting on the figures, Peter Woods, Head of RTÉ Radio 1, said: “This is a consolidation for Radio 1. The book reflects how well the changes we made in the schedule last year have played out, with strong performances for Claire Byrne, Sarah McInerney and Cormac Ó hEadhra, Katie Hannon, Brendan O’Connor and Bryan Dobson on the News at One.”  

Miriam O’Callaghan’s Sunday show was the only one to grow its audience up 4,000 listeners to 322,000. Ray D’arcy and Drivetime meanwhile saw their listenership shrink by 32,000 and 41,000 respectively. During the period, The Ray D’Arcy Show broadcast to 210,000 listeners each weekday afternoon, while Drivetime with Sarah McInerney and Cormac Ó hEadhra had an audience of 224,000 listeners. 

2FM also lost out over the past 12 months. The station’s weekday breakfast show is down 23,000 to 103,000 listeners, following on from the drop last year of 9,000. 

“These are early days for our new Breakfast Show and the chemistry between Doireann, Donncha and Carl is infectious, and we are looking forward to seeing their audience grow over the next few months,” Dan Healy, Head of RTÉ Radio Strategy and RTÉ 2FM said. 

It was a good period for Jenny Greene who grew her 2fm audience by 9,000 to 122,000.

The station overall had a weekly audience of 324,000. 

Bauer Media

Today FM enjoyed a weekly listenership of 911,000 and recorded a market share of 8.9% — beating nearest competitor 2FM.

Ian Dempsey’s breakfast show meanwhile was down just 1,000 over the 12 month period to 178,000 weekly listeners.

Mairead Ronan’s lunchtime programme added 33,000 new listeners – the biggest increase of any Today FM show – with 136,000 weekly listeners over the course of the survey period. Today FM will be keen to keep this new audience as Mairead recently announced that she will be leaving the station at the end of the year to spend more time with her family.

Fergal D’Arcy’s mid-afternoon music programme also increased its listenership to 132,000, up 7,000. The Last Word with Matt Cooper increased its listenership by 18,000 over the past 12 months, now broadcasting to an audience of 170,000.

Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore continue to be the biggest draw for the station, with a weekly listenership of 205,000, their biggest ever audience according to Today FM. They picked up 22,000 new listeners during the period.

Commenting on the figures, Whelan said. “we are so excited by these figures that show that more people than ever are enjoying our show.

“It has been a very tough couple of years, and we try every day to lighten people’s mood and bring them some laughs and support with our show. A heartfelt thank you to all our amazing listeners who make the show the success it is.”

After rising consistently in previous quarters, The Hard Shoulder with Kieran was down 31,000 to 146,000 weekly listeners. The Sean Moncrief show also dropped 20,000 to 76,000 weekly listeners.

The station overall had a weekly audience of 767,000 as its other flagship shows saw continued gains among listeners:

  • Newstalk Breakfast, 137,000 Listeners (Up 17,000)
  • The Pat Kenny Show, 183,000 Listeners (Up 28,000)
  • Lunchtime Live, 112,000 Listeners (up 10,000)
  • Moncrieff, 76,000 Listeners (Down 20,000)
  • The Hard Shoulder, 146,000 listeners (Down 31,000)
  • Down to Business 128,000 listeners (Up 24,000)
  • Off The Ball 124,000 listeners (Up 15,000)

Newstalk managing editor Patricia Monahan said the station provides “a clear alternative
to RTE Radio 1”.

“We are delighted to see Newstalk make significant audience gains in the latest results. It clearly shows there is a demand for talk radio that engages, entertains and provides a clear alternative to RTE Radio 1.”

German media giant Bauer Media took over Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp Group — which includes Today FM, Newstalk and 98FM – earlier this year.

The first JNLR results for Bauer Media Audio Ireland since it entered the market is “a
very proud day for all”, according to group CEO Simon Myciunka.

“Our stations have flourished over the past year. Our audiences rely on us as a source of trusted news and information, but they also come to us to be entertained, for escapism and light relief. Our music and entertainment stations have shown they have what it takes to entertain and engage and the growth in Newstalk demonstrates the strong appetite for an alternative talk radio product to RTÉ Radio 1,” said Myciunka.

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