Saturday 25 October 2014

RTE's golden girls losing listeners but 2fm's pulling them in

Published 26/04/2013 | 05:00

Marian Finucane and Miriam O'Callaghan

RTE's two top-earning women presenters, Marian Finucane and Miriam O'Callaghan, are losing thousands of listeners.

While RTE's youth-oriented station 2fm notched up considerable gains, the opposite was true for Radio One's female stalwarts, according to the latest listenership figures.

Ms Finucane, who ranked third in the top 10 highest paid RTE presenters list in 2011 before her massive €491,770 pay packet was reduced to €295,000 this year, continues to lose listeners on both her Saturday and Sunday current-affairs shows, according to the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) figures released yesterday.

Her Sunday programme lost 14,000 listeners between this month and last January following a loss of 20,000 listeners on the same show between last October and January.

Her Saturday show is also down 5,000 listeners from January following a massive loss of 25,000 listeners between January and the previous October.

Miriam O'Callaghan, who ranked fifth on the 2011 top earners' list before agreeing to a pay cut to €211,167 this year from €307,250, also shed 19,000 listeners on her 'Miriam Meets' show since January despite making marginal gains of 1,000 listeners over last autumn and winter.

The biggest overall loss was 29,000 listeners on RTE's Sunday Miscellany programme.

While the number of listeners to the weekend shows has dropped considerably, the public appetite for news, current affairs and chat does not seem to be on the wane during the week. RTE's flagship 'News At One' presented by veteran journalist Sean O'Rourke gained 9,000 listeners, making it one of the week's top-ranked programmes.

War

Rival Sean Moncrieff on Newstalk also gained 9,000 listeners to his weekday afternoon chat show.

But the biggest collective winner in the ratings war is RTE's sister station 2fm, which saw gains of more than 5,000 listeners on the Dave Fanning, the Colm Hayes show and 'Ballsbusters' with Mark McCabe.

The gains are in spite of a moderate loss of 1,000 listeners this spring to 'Ryan Tubridy's morning show' which has lost tens of thousands of listeners since he took over the microphone from the late Gerry Ryan in 2010. Mr Tubridy's salary of €723,500 in 2011 ranked at the top of the RTE presenters pay list.

His TodayFm rival Ray D'Arcy, managed to hold on to the same number of listeners to his mid-morning, weekday chat show at 243,000.

His TodayFm colleague Ian Dempsey also reported no change at 175,000 listeners.

The gains at 2FM will come as good news to former CEO of Newstalk and 98FM Dan Healy who is to replace John McMahon.

Irish Independent

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