Saturday 25 May 2019

JNLRS: RTE Radio 1 thriving year on year as 2FM slows ahead of schedule shake-up

Modest losses dominate across weekdays on Newstalk and Today FM except for drive time shows and Ian Dempsey

Good news for Ray D'Arcy and Ryan Tubridy in the latest JNLRs - Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Good news for Ray D'Arcy and Ryan Tubridy in the latest JNLRs - Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

RTE Radio 1 continues to dominate the airways across weekdays and weekends with an increase in listenership across the board year on year in the latest Joint National Listenership Figures (JNLRs).

The most-listened to station in Ireland had a particularly negative book this time last year, and today’s figures reveal it has bounced back and further grown its audience.

Figures for the past three months, however, present a more mixed bag, with some of the national station’s shows seeing losses in listenership since February and others making modest gains.

2FM‘s growth, meanwhile, has slowed overall in recent months and the station today announced a schedule shake-up. 

Read more: 2FM schedule shake-up: Jenny Greene to return as Bernard O'Shea departs and Doireann Garrihy joins line-up

Newstalk and Today FM, meanwhile, have seen modest losses in listenership across weekday shows except for their successful drive time shows and Today FM’s Ian Dempsey’s Breakfast Show.

The biggest show in the country remains RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland, with a huge audience of 421,000, despite dropping 18,000 listeners since February and 10,000 since last year.

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Aine Lawlor Photo: Gerry Mooney

However, last year’s strong figures for the programme were boosted in no small part by a series of adverse weather events in early March so the programme is overall on an even keel.

Also down this book at Radio 1 is the News at One, presented by Áine Lawlor and Claire Byrne, with 9,000 fewer listeners for the first quarter, reaching 334,000, but holding steady year on year with an increase of 2,000.

Joe Duffy has also seen a loss, of 6,000 listeners  to 375,000, but he has increased his listenership by 5,000 year on year.

Ray D’Arcy’s late afternoon talk show is down 1,000 on this book but up 15,000 year on year to reach 220,000 and Ronan Collins pulls the same audience of 220,000, losing 1,000, but up 17,000 since last year.

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Good news for Ray D'Arcy and Ryan Tubridy in the latest JNLRs - Picture credit; Damien Eagers

It’s good news today for Ryan Tubridy whose morning chat show has gained 3,000 listeners this book and an impressive 24,000 year on year to reach an audience of 328,000.  Similarly, Sean O’Rourke is drawing 322,000 listeners, up 2,000 since February and increasing 27,000 since last year.

Speaking to Independent.ie about the results, RTE Radio 1 managing editor Peter Woods said they are “overall really happy” with the station’s performance.

“On JNLR day I would generally walk out on hte floor and all the figures are known and it’s an open office and on a general day it’s bad news for some of them and you’re trying to be not too celebratory for others, but walking up yesterday it was steady as she goes and all good news,” he says.

Regarding the small drop in listenerships for Morning Ireland, News at One, and Joe Duffy, he added, “If you look at the audiences programmes like News at One have, you’re talking 340,000, 350,000, you’re losing and gaining over a period of time but you’re holding around the same line. 

“We have a dream team with News at One with Claire Byrne and Aine Lawlor so we’ll talk about the drop but there’s no panic.”

The latest results for 2FM show that growth has slowed in recent months.  Breakfast Republic is up just 1,000 from February to March, and 3,000 year on year. 

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Jenny Greene and Nicky Byrne. Pictures Brian McEvoy

Nicky Byrne and Jenny Greene’s show, which saw both hosts depart the station in March, was reaching an audience of 155,000, up 2,000 since the last book and up 7,000 year on year.

Tracy Clifford gained 2,000 listeners since the last book to reach 147,000, although she increased her listenership by an impressive 18,000 year on year.

Eoghan McDermott’s early evening show, however, saw losses of 4,000 since the last book and 2,000 year on year.

Read more: 2FM schedule shake-up: Jenny Greene to return as Bernard O'Shea departs and Doireann Garrihy joins line-up

Today FM and Newstalk have both seen modest losses since the last book in February, apart from their drive time shows, The Last Word with Matt Cooper and The Hard Shoulder with Ivan Yates.  The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on Today FM has also bucked the trend by gaining 1,000 listeners.

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Today FM DJ, Ian Dempsey. Photo: Damien Eagers

Matt Cooper’s show on Today FM has an audience of 152,000, up 10,000 listeners this quarter and 14,000  year on year. This is a four year high for the show.

Similarly, it’s good news for Newstalk’s Ivan Yates who has built an audience of 173,000, up 3,000 book on book and up an impressive 28,000 year on year.  Yates has further increased his lead on Pat Kenny whose late morning Newstalk show draws 150,000, 5,000 fewer than February, but gaining 2,000 since last year.

Newstalk Breakfast has also suffered a drop this book, with 4,000 fewer listeners since February and 2,000 year on year, to reach an audience of 124,000, as has Dr Ciara Kelly’s Lunchtime Live which is down 5,000 but up 1,000 year on year.

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Sean Moncrieff’s late afternoon show is holding steady as usual with a listenership of 97,000, no change since the last book but up an impressive jump of 14,000 year on year.

Newstalk now has 414,000 listeners tuning in every day and is the second most listened to station in Ireland behind behind RTE Radio 1.

Patricia Monahan, Managing Editor of Newstalk said, “We are delighted with today’s results which clearly show that we are providing our audience with the opinion and analysis they want.

“Leading the way are Ivan Yates and Sean Moncrieff who have seen significant audience growth in the last 12 months. It is also great to see our long-standing weekend programmes continue to make gains .”

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Ivan Yates. Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File

Over on Today FM, Dempsey’s breakfast show currently draws 181,000 listeners every morning, down just 1000, but an increase of 18,000 since last year.  This is the highest listenership for the show since 2014.

Dermot and Dave, meanwhile, are holding steady, down 2,000 since the last book and up 1,000 since last year.

It’s not such good news for Muireann O’Connell, however, as she is down 6,000 listeners since February and down 8,000 year on year.  Muireann has been hosting the slot since November 2017 following the departure of Al Porter.

Fergal D’ARcy is also down 6,000 book on book, but he is up 2,000 year on year.

Weekends are typically more volatile in radio and this is reflected in the latest figures for RTE Radio 1.

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On Sundays, Marian Finucane is reaching an audience of 325,000, increases of 13,000 book on book and 17,000 year on year. Photo: Damien Eagers

The station is performing strongly, with Marian Finucane gaining 18,000 listeners on Saturday since the start of the year, and adding 58,000 year on year to reach a huge audience of 382,000.  This sees the show recover and grow following a particularly negative book last April when the show had lost 35,000 listeners.

Also on Saturdays, The Business draws 313,000, up 13,000 since February and 8,000 year on year.  Playback, meanwhile, is up 20,000 book on book and 37,000 year on year to reach 312,000 listeners. 

Cormac Ó hEadhra is drawing a listenership of 227,000, up a very respectable 13,000 since February.  Cormac took over the slot from Claire Byrne in February 2018.

On Sundays, Marian Finucane is reaching an audience of 325,000, increases of 13,000 book on book and 17,000 year on year.  Miriam O’Callaghan, meanwhile, is also celebrating a 6,000 increase since the last book and 4,000 since April last year. 

Arts show Sunday Miscellany on RTE Radio 1 is also doing well with an audience increase of 17,000 since February and 26,000 since this time last year.

Over at Newstalk, Down to Business with Bobby Kerr is drawing an audience of 123,000, Futureproof with Jonathan McCrea is reaching 70,000 and Off the Ball Sunday has 134,000 listeners.

On Today FM there was growth for Alison Curtis who increased her audience by 10,000 to 136,000 in the past three months while Mario’s Sunday Roast is reaching 87,000, an increase of 8,000.

Keith McCormack, CEO, Today FM said, “Breakfast and drive are the bed rock of any great radio station, so I’m delighted to see Ian and Matt continue to drive massive audience numbers.

“Today’s numbers reflect Today FM’s ambition to continue to deliver great audio content right to Irish audiences, right across the day.”

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