Ryan a favourite with radio fans right up to his death
'It is a fitting tribute that Gerry retained his position in the top 10 radio shows'
THE late 2fm broadcaster Gerry Ryan had held firmly on to his much-coveted spot in the top 10 most popular radio shows in the weeks before his tragic and sudden death.
The mammoth task facing RTE bosses in permanently filling the multi-million euro radio slot frequented by the outspoken DJ was highlighted yesterday as the latest listenership figures showed he remained a firm favourite.
Rival station Today FM expects the loss of Mr Ryan -- who attracted a 300,000-plus audience -- to affect the mid-morning listenership figures over the next few months.
Claire Duignan, managing director of RTE Radio, said the late broadcaster remained in their thoughts yesterday as they analysed the latest listenership figures for the 12 months up to last March.
"Not only has Gerry remained number one with 20-44s, but it is a fitting tribute that, in a set of results that sees fewer listening to radio overall on weekdays, Gerry Ryan retained his position in the top 10 most-listened-to programmes in Ireland," Ms Duignan said.
Bosses at 2fm, which oversaw a radical change of its schedule to target the under-45s market in early January, have yet to announce his permanent replacement.
DJ Colm Hayes and chat-show host Lucy Kennedy have taken over the mid-morning slot temporarily for the next four weeks.
'The Gerry Ryan Show' remained the number one show among those aged between 20 to 44, yet the JNLR/Ipsos MRBI survey showed it lost 11,000 listeners in the 12 months to March.
RTE 2fm chief John McMahon said the overall results were "reassuring".
A number of its shows, including the 'Tommy & Hector Show', fronted by comedians Tiernan and O hEochagain, and 'The Will Leahy Show', entered the top 20 for the under-45s for the first time.
Yet rival station Today FM, which has long-positioned itself to target the under-45s, boasts four shows, including Ray D'Arcy, Ray Foley and 'The Last Word' in the top five for that group.
Today FM chief executive Willie O'Reilly warned the state of the economy was continuing to affect radio listening patterns, with declines in all the national 'drive-time' programmes amid severe job losses.
"We anticipated some losses as a result of increased competition and reduction in commuting," he added.
Some of RTE's highest-paid stars, including 'The Late Late Show' host Ryan Tubridy, Pat Kenny and Joe Duffy, saw significant fall offs.
Yet, both Newstalk and RTE stressed that, when compared with the same time last year, listenership figures indicated that many of the shows had in fact increased their radio audience.
Year on year, Tubridy, Kenny and Derek Mooney showed an increase.
Mary Wilson's 'Drivetime' show continues to pull in the commuters and Newstalk's George Hook is still making himself heard in the prime slot.
Around 86pc of adults continue to listen to a mix of radio stations throughout the country.
Figures show talk radio station Newstalk has grown outside of the capital, with increases in listenership of 47pc for Munster and 12pc in the rest of Leinster.
Newcomer to the radio market, 4FM, now has a daily listenership of 100,000 listeners.
The top local stations in terms of listenership were Highland Radio, Limerick's Live 95FM and Mid West Radio.