Tuesday 21 January 2020

Stations suffer 'radio carnage' as 27,000 hit the off button

Tracy Clifford was among the presenters who took a hit, with her show losing 4,000 listeners
Tracy Clifford was among the presenters who took a hit, with her show losing 4,000 listeners
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

"It's radio carnage," 2FM boss Dan Healy said as the industry ratings landed on his desk.

And he wasn't lying; some 27,000 people have stopped tuning into the 'wireless' in the past 12 months.

The Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) ratings showed stations aimed at younger people like 2FM and Today FM had taken the brunt of the hit, while more established broadcasters such as Miriam O'Callaghan and Joe Duffy saw their ratings increase.

Duffy must now be the undisputed 'King of the Airwaves' after his hugely popular 'Liveline' show jumped by 4,000 to an impressive 395,000.

That means Joe is now the nation's favourite radio broadcaster. He is No 2 behind 'Morning Ireland' on the RTÉ Radio One schedule and has overtaken Marian Finucane.

Meanwhile, O'Callaghan's 'Sunday with Miriam' show saw ratings rise by 7,000 to 254,000.

Newstalk suffered some losses, with its repackaged 'Breakfast Show' dropping 48,000 listeners to 115,000.

It should be noted, however, that the programme has gone through a transitional period with a temporary team filling in after the departure of Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue.

The new look team was unveiled only this autumn and a spokesperson for the station said the "seismic reshuffle" in the schedule and the change in programme length accounted for the drop in ratings.

"It is impossible to compare the two programmes," the spokesperson said. "The new 'Breakfast Show' is now an hour shorter and that will dramatically affect the numbers of listeners."

Pat Kenny, however, saw his figures increase by 15,000 to 146,000, a jump partially due to the programme now lasting longer.

A Newstalk spokesperson said it would not be able to assess the success of the new schedule until the next book of ratings.

On Today FM, Ian Dempsey saw his figures fall by 7,000 to 173,000, while Matt Cooper dropped 3,000 to 136,000. Anton Savage fell back to 166,000, down some 8,000 compared with figures obtained in July.

Over on 2FM the 'Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene' dipped by 5,000 to 131,000, while Tracy Clifford lost 4,000 listeners, bringing her ratings to 110,000.

"We are disappointed," 2FM's Dan Healy told the Irish Independent. "We are targeting a younger demographic who are consuming content on YouTube, on podcasts and on Spotify. The audience is getting harder to target."

A spokesperson for Today FM echoed Mr Healy's sentiments, saying it "hadn't been a good day for national radio".

The gloomy figures were compounded by the closure of much-loved station TXFM.

RTÉ Radio One saw the most substantial increases and station boss Tom McGuire credited new producing talent and veteran broadcasters for its success.

"We have 12 new producers this year and that added a freshness to the station," he said. "I think with the likes of Ray and Ryan we have a nice synergy with TV and this helps ratings."

Figures for Ray D'Arcy's show increased by 5,000 to 216,000. 'Morning Ireland' remains the country's most listened to programme with 444,000 listeners. That is despite a drop of 5,000 compared with the last book of ratings.

'The Business' with Richard Curran on RTÉ Radio 1 increased by 11,000 to 321,000, while 'Sunday Sport' jumped up 21,000 to 189,000.

However, there were losses on Radio One, with Marian Finucane's Saturday morning show dropping 13,000 to 387,000. Ryan Tubridy saw his listenership fall by 3,000 to 316,000, while Sean O'Rourke dipped by 1,000 to 325,000.

Irish Independent

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