Ryan Tubridy has drawn level with RTE rival Gerry Ryan as king of the airwaves after gaining 3,000 listeners, according to the latest radio listenership figures published yesterday.
The pair are in a dead heat, after 2FM motormouth Ryan dropped 9,000 figures. However, both he and Radio One presenter Tubridy remain the undisputed favourites of mid-morning radio, each attracting 316,000 listeners, or 9pc of the country's radio audience.
If having to share his throne has any consolation for Ryan, rival Today FM presenter Ray D'Arcy also lost 9,000 listeners on his mid-morning chat show, bringing the total number of listeners to his show to 245,000.
Veteran Radio One morning man Pat Kenny gained 2,000 listeners for a total of 293,000.
Overall, RTE emerged as the winner in the ratings published yesterday by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) for the period between October 2007 and September 2008.
The rise and fall in the current number of listeners was based on a comparison of previous listenership BCI figures from July 2007 to June 2008.
For the first time in two years, RTE radio featured in the top 10 of all national prime-time programmes with 'Morning Ireland' the most listened-to programme in the country, capturing a weekday audience of 436,000 listeners, up 4,000.
Phone-in guru Joe Duffy gained 10,000 listeners to 378,000 on his 'Liveline' programme on Radio One.
Marian Finucane also continues to pull in audiences on her Radio One Saturday chat show, reeling in 24,000 more listeners over the year to 347,000. Former RTE legal affairs editor Mary Wilson also proved popular with listeners on her 'Drivetime' programme on Radio One, with 8,000 more listeners tuning in over the past year to a total of 229,000.
Newstalk star George Hook also made a significant breakthrough, with his show listenership rising 5,000 to 100,000 -- while Today FM rival Matt Cooper's audience dropped 9,000 to 207,000.
A small but telling number of new listeners also tuned in to the dulcet tones of RTE's classical music station Lyric FM, which was the only national station to see an increase in audience reach.
Although the increase was just a modest 1pc and the station holds just 4pc of the national radio audience, the numbers of people tuning in, especially during the evening rush-hour drivetime programme are growing all the time, according to Lyric FM head Aodan O Dubhghaill.
"We're a niche station and always will be but I think more and more people are discovering us. It could be to get away from the doom and gloom but also the constant talk on other stations," he said last night.
Overall, RTE Radio One led the airwaves during the week, capturing 23pc of the country's radio audience, followed by RTE's 2FM at 17pc, Today FM at 16pc, Newstalk at 6pc and RTE Lyric FM at 4pc.
But in the morning, listeners tuned out to rival funnymen on Today FM and 2FM. Ian Dempsey saw 4,000 listeners abandon his show on Today FM and is now down to 234,000 listeners, while there are now 5,000 fewer listeners to the 'Colm and Jim Jim Show' on 2FM at 197,000.