Monday 25 September 2017

JNLRs: Bad news for RTE Radio 1 and Today FM as Newstalk and 2FM make gains

2FM celebrating biggest increase across the board

The Breakfast Republic crew on 2FM - Keith Walsh, Jennifer Zamparelli, Bernard O'Shea. Audiences for earlymorning weekday shows such as ‘Breakfast Republic’ all increased.
The Breakfast Republic crew on 2FM - Keith Walsh, Jennifer Zamparelli, Bernard O'Shea. Audiences for earlymorning weekday shows such as ‘Breakfast Republic’ all increased.
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Bad news dominates for Irish radio today as the latest Joint National Listenership Survey figures show losses for RTE Radio 1 and Today FM with very modest gains for Newstalk.

2FM, however, continues to grow with Breakfast Republic proving the biggest winner of the year.  The show gained 11,000 listeners since the last book in April this year and an impressive 27,000 since this time last year.

RTE Radio 1 has seen a steady climb for the past five books but that has reached a plateau now with several shows taking a slight hit since April.

News at One is suffering the biggest loss year on year.  It currently reaches a listenership of 325,000, down 10,000 since April, but has dropped 23,000 listeners since July last year.

While Morning Ireland is still the biggest morning programme in the country at 436,000, listenership has taken a very slight hit of 5,000 since the last book.  However, the programme has lost 13,000 listeners since this time last year.

However, this time last year saw the election, Euros, and the 1916 celebrations.

“With the election and really through the whole financial crisis people may have come back to Radio 1 for that and maybe it suffers a bit in the good times,” says station boss Tom McGuire.

Joe Duffy’s Liveline, meanwhile, has lost 13,000 since April and 10,000 since July 2016.  However, he still pulls a massive audience of 381,000 listeners.

Ryan Tubridy, Ray D’Arcy and Sean O’Rourke were all celebrating big gains in the last book, but are all down again this quarter.

D’Arcy, who joined Radio 1 in February 2015, is holding steady in his afternoon slot when compared with this time last year.  He’s down 9,000 listeners since the last book but up 6,000 on July 2016. 

Tubridy’s morning slot has an impressive audience of 334,000, only dropping 2,000 since the last book, but he is celebrating a 15,000 increase in listeners in the past year.

Sean O’Rourke pulls a similar audience of 342,000 for his early afternoon show.  He’s down 12,000 since the last book but compared to this time last year he’s up 16,000.

DriveTime has lost 3,000 listeners book on book but is has seen a slight increase of 2,000 year on year.

“I think it’s a dangerous business to look at it on one book.  We never do that," says McGuire.  "Year on year there would be one or two points to look at but the rest are all up over the year.  When you’re coming off numbers of 300,000, 400,000 there’s always a bit of give and take.”

Over on 2FM the schedule changes implemented last year are paying off with this being the third positive book in a row.  This time last year thousands had tuned out as the new schedule came into effect, but 12 months later it has proven a success.

The Nicky Byrne show has seen an increase of 5,000 since April and 8,000 since July 2016 to reach a current audience of 144,000.

Tracy Clifford reaches 124,000 listeners, seeing a small increase of 5,000 listeners since the last book, and 10,000 since last year.

Eoghan McDermott’s evening show has seen a similar modest increase.  He currently has 118,000 listeners, up 5,000 and 6,000 since the last book and last year respectively.

“It’s still early,” says station boss Dan Healy, “ We’d like to see a good book next book but we’re making really good progress.  We have a very strong daytime schedule and a very good production team. Things are lean.  We don’t have the million euro Today FM has for marketing.  So it’s very satisfying.

“We’re happy we’ve had three positive books in a row and it’s been five or six years since we’ve had that so hopefully we’ll get a fourth one in October and we’ll continue to build.”

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Having introduced a new schedule last year it’s not possible to do a full comparison until the next book for Newstalk, but things have remained relatively steady at the station, with most shows seeing small gains.

Moncrieff is up just 1,000 since the last book but has gained 11,000 since last year. 

Newstalk Breakfast with Shane Coleman and Paul Williams, meanwhile, has 119,000 listeners, up 3,000 since April.

The Pat Kenny Show has also seen a small increase of 3,000 since the last book.  The show currently draws 151,000 listeners daily.

High Noon with George Hook remains steady with 1,000 new listeners.

Newstalk Drive with Chris Donoghue and Sarah McInerney remains static book on book at 130,000.

“Although it will not be possible to draw a full comparison until the JNLR figures are released in October, with all radio listenership remaining steady at 82%, we are confident that the schedule is resonating with our audience and we look forward to continuing this positive trend,” said Patricia Monahan of Newstalk.

Over at Today FM fortunes have changed since the last book when they saw increases across the board.  Those gains have effectively been cancelled out by the current book.

Ian Dempsey’s breakfast show has seen the biggest losses.  It pulls an audience of 163,000 but has lost 4,000 listeners since the last book and is down 17,000 since last year.

Dermot & Dave, who have been in their 9am-12 noon slot for six months, have lost 12,000 listeners since the last book.  This time last year the slot was pulling 10,000 more listeners.

Fellow newbie, Al Porter is down 4,000 on the last book but the slot is up 4,000 on last year.

The Last Word with Matt Cooper draws an audience of 131,000, up just 1,000 since the last book but down a disappointing 8,000 on the year.

Female stars Paula McSweeney, who hosts the Early Breakfast and Louise Duffy, who hosts the evening show are both down 2,000 listeners each.

While Fergal D’Arcy has lost 6,000 listeners this book he’s the station’s biggest success with an increase of 13,000 on the year.

 “While this is a disappointing book, Today FM still has the number one Breakfast show and Drivetime show outside RTE Radio 1 and in this challenging marketplace, that’s no mean feat,” said a Today FM spokeswoman.

“Ian Dempsey has a hugely loyal audience and still out performs his competitors, people tune into Ian for longer. Similarly, Matt Cooper has made audience gains in this book, had a strong quarter and we expect others to follow in the next book.

“In line with our recruitment strategy, the past 6 months has seen a huge amount of changes for Today FM – we have rebranded, launched two major prime time shows, rolled out a heavy weight brand campaign, completed a nationwide comedy tour with Dermot & Dave and signed rising star Al Porter.

“Our lunchtime and afternoons shows have seen growth of 17,000 listeners in one year. Dermot & Dave are just 6 months into their new time slot and are recruiting the audience we need. The reaction to the two lads in mid morning has been hugely positive. We look forward to seeing all these positives reflected in the upcoming books.”

Fortunes are varied for female faces Miriam O’Callaghan, Clare Byrne, and Marian Finucane on the weekends.

Marian Finucane’s Saturday show from 11am to 1pm has an audience of 381,000, down just 1,000 on the last book. However, she has lost 19,000 listeners since last year.

As we hit summer, Clare Byrne’s show was clocking up 219,000 listeners.  She’s down 11,000 on the last book and down 25,000 on last year.

It’s a similar story for Miriam O’Callaghan on Sundays.  She has a listenership of 248,000, compared to 256,000 on the last book.  She's up 1,000, however, year on year.

Marian Finucane’s Sunday show draws 332,000, which is down 4,000 on the last book but up 11,000 year on year.

The weekend’s biggest success is Sunday Sport from 2pm-6pm which broke 200,000 to hit 202,000.  It’s the first summer RTE has exclusive rights for the GAA so the listenership has increased 34,000 since last year.  It’s also up 19,000 since the last book.

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