Radio Ray rocks Ryan

RTE's youth radio station 2FM has suffered another blow in the latest listenership survey, with the gap between 2FM's Gerry Ryan and Today FM's Ray D'Arcy closing further. In more bad news for 2FM, Today FM's early morning show with Ian Dempsey passed Marty Whelan's show for the first time.

RTE's youth radio station 2FM has suffered another blow in the latest listenership survey, with the gap between 2FM star Gerry Ryan and Today FM rival Ray D'Arcy closing further.

In more bad news for 2FM, Today FM's early morning show with Ian Dempsey passed out Marty Whelan's show for the first time. While big name presenters at sister station RTE Radio 1 performed well, 2FM lost ground with listeners across the country amid claims that its line-up is too old for an under-35s station.

Winners

Across the board, winners included Today FM's Matt Cooper, and Newstalk's George Hook and Eamon Dunphy.

Although Gerry Ryan still has a major following at 2FM, tens of thousands of fans have deserted him over the past 18 months.

Just three years ago Ryan had an audience of 380,000, leaving D'Arcy in the shade with 150,000 listeners. However, the younger rival has been catching up ever since. Ryan's show now attracts 320,000 - a fall of 11,000 in the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) report published yesterday - while D'Arcy's morning mix is listened to by 225,000 people.

The latest figures, covering April 2005 to March 2006, mean that Ryan's show has dropped from third most popular radio show on RTE, down to fourth after Liveline with Joe Duffy.

Earlier in the schedule Marty Whelan, who replaced Ryan Tubridy, now has an audience of 208,000, a drop of 9,000.

But Today FM's Ian Dempsey added 3,000 new listeners, giving him a total audience of 216,000.

Overall, 2FM's listenership fell by one point nationally to give it a reach of 20pc, while Today FM had a national reach of 15pc, which is unchanged.

Over at Radio 1, Ryan Tubridy proved that he has the pulling power of his predecessor Marion Finucane, growing listenership by 5,000 to 344,000.

While Morning Ireland lost 13,000 listeners, bringing the show down to 463,000 listeners, Joe Duffy, Five Seven Live and Pat Kenny made small gains, with Kenny now attracting 295,000 listeners.

Dublin station Newstalk - which should find out on Monday if it has won a quasi-national radio licence - made gains all round.

The station's reach grew to 8pc, a jump of one point, with main attractions Eamon Dunphy and George Hook gaining more listeners.

Eamon Dunphy was up 5,000 to 29,000, while competition and increased excitement in the drive-time slot helped George Hook increase his listeners from 35,000 to 38,000.

Matt Cooper's figures jumped from 142,000 to 174,000 at Today FM, due in part to an earlier start time for the drivetime show.

This is a very impressive jump, although he is still behind Hook in the Dublin market.

In Dublin, FM104 is the clear commercial favourite, with a reach to 21pc, compared to 16pc for 98FM.

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