RTÉ 2FM manager Dan Healy insists recent changes made to the station are “completely justified” as the latest listenership figures show a rise in listeners for Laura Fox’s new weekend show.
The presenter took over from Louise McSharry in the 9am-11am weekend slot. Listenership has subsequently grown by 8,000 on Saturday and 11,000 on Sunday.
Ms McSharry was dropped from the station in October 2021 after 11 years. She said she was unhappy that she didn’t get to present her final two shows and say goodbye to listeners.
Figures released under the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) show that the majority of RTÉ Radio 1’s weekday shows have increased their listenership while the big win for its sister station, 2FM, is with The Breakfast Show which is up 9,000 listeners to 123,000.
However, it’s not all good news for the station as The Jennifer Zamparelli Show is down 3,000 listeners while Tracy Clifford’s show is also down 3,000.
Bauer Media’s Today FM is celebrating after it recorded a market share of 9.2pc, which is its highest in over a decade. This compares to RTÉ’s 2FM at 5.8pc.
Earlier this year, Today FM added an extra hour to The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, bringing its listenership up by 15,000 to 201,000.
The Ray Foley show has gained 6,000 listeners, The Last Word with Matt Cooper is up 3,000 while Dermot and Dave has seen a drop of 3,000, bringing it to 203,000.
Morning Ireland on Radio 1 remains the most popular show nationally, as it has increased its listenership to 473,000, which is up 8,000 listeners.
Today with Claire Byrne has similarly seen an increase in its audience by 8,000, now having a listenership of 350,000, with Drivetime also gaining 1,000 listeners, with 216,000 tuning in every weekday evening,
Liveline has seen a drop, with Joe Duffy’s programme losing 3,000 listeners.
Playback, which is presented by Sinéad Mooney, has seen the biggest increase in the station, gaining 32,000 listeners.
At the weekend, while Brendan O’Connor’s Saturday show has seen a drop of 7,000 listeners, his Sunday show is up 4,000.
And Sunday with Miriam gained 11,000 as 339,000 listeners engage every Sunday morning.
Bauer Media’s Newstalk is celebrating its breakfast show being up 5,000 listeners to 146,000, The Pat Kenny Show is down 2,000, Lunchtime Live is down 3,000 and The Hard Shoulder remains the same at 155,000.
RTÉ 2FM’s Dan Healy said he is happy with listenership figures and that the “two big risks” he took in shaking up the station have paid off.
“Obviously, we had to make a change last year with Breakfast,” he told Independent.ie. “We went with Donnacha, Doireann, and Carl and The Breakfast Show has flown. This better reflects that as they have been on air since last May.
“The 2 Johnnies have been with us since February and we are seeing real evidence elsewhere, where they seem to be flying from 4.30pm on, so that's really positive. They are two big risks we took and we believe we are really building now, which is positive.
“At the weekend, we also made changes there, and they seem to be completely justified in so far as we put Laura Fox in at 9 o'clock – 9am to 11am – replacing Louise McSharry. She has grown by 8,000 listeners on Saturday and by 11,000 on Sunday so we are really happy with that.”
Ms McSharry declined to comment when contacted by Independent.ie.
Meanwhile RTÉ Radio 1 manager Peter Woods said he is “absolutely happy” with the latest JNLR figures.
“Playback has had a phenomenal performance and over a couple of books has put on almost 40,000 more listeners,” he said.
“Sinéad Mooney presents that and we put her in there for a specific reason because she has a big personality. She is making a big connection with listeners.
“On Morning Ireland you have Rachael English, Mary Wilson, Audrey Carville, Áine Lawlor, and Gavin Jennings, and at times Justin McCarthy. That’s quite a line-up.
"That's some of the best broadcasters that have been through this station in the past few years all in one place in the morning, so that is an authoritative programme that's delivering to a wide audience. Then you have Ryan Tubridy, who is maintaining his great style.”
Meanwhile, managing editor of Newstalk, Patricia Monahan, also gave her reaction to the latest figures, saying: “It is fantastic to see continued and consistent growth across the station and to achieve another milestone for Newstalk of 7.2pc market share.
"It is particularly encouraging to see strong growth in the 20-44 age group.”