Wednesday 24 July 2019

JNLRs: RTE Radio 1’s Marian Finucane and Sean O’Rourke see highest gains as losses dominate at Today FM and Newstalk

Gains weekdays at 2FM, for Ivan Yates and Sean Moncrieff at Newstalk, and Fergal D’Arcy and Alison Curtis at Today FM

RTÉ broadcaster Marian Finucane
RTÉ broadcaster Marian Finucane
Marian Finucane
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
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

News-led programmes across the national radio stations suffered losses in the latest Joint National Listenership Figures (JNLRs) published on Thursday.

The late summer season saw a decrease in listenership for breakfast news programmes and news-led talk shows while lifestyle programmes and weekend shows generally saw modest gains from July to September.

Morning Ireland on RTE Radio 1 remains the most popular breakfast show, and the biggest radio programme, in Ireland, despite losing 4,000 listeners since July to reach an audience of 434,000. 

Newstalk Breakfast, meanwhile, is down 5,000 listeners to 121,000, although it is holding steady year on year.

On Radio 1, both the News at One and Joe Duffy’s Liveline saw decreases of 5,000 and 7,000 respectively, although they still draw an impressive listenership of 341,000 and 374,000, which have increased since this time last year.

Drivetime on Radio 1, presented by Mary Wilson, also lost listeners.  It now draws a listenership of 222,000, down 6,000 since July, and down 14,000 year on year.

However, Tom McGuire, Head of RTE Radio 1 said it was a “very stable kind of performance” during summer when listening patterns are different and the focus shifts from news to lifestyle content.

At Newstalk, Ivan Yates, who overtook Pat Kenny for the first time on the last book in July, has further increased his lead by gaining 4,000 to reach 157,000, an increase of 22,000 year on year, while Pat slipped back to 149,000, losing 3,000.   However, Pat is holding steady year on year.

Overall Newstalk has grown its listenership by 30,000 over the past year.

At Today FM, The Last Word with Matt Cooper is also down in this book, dropping 4,000 to 137,000 listeners but again there’s no change year on year.

There was better news at RTE Radio 1 where Miriam O’Callaghan helped to boost Sean O’Rourke’s ratings this summer while he took a two-month career break.  The show gained 10,000 listeners with O’Callaghan at the helm for two months.

Meanwhile, Keelin Shanley took the reins for a period this summer on Sunday with Miriam, which gained 8,000 to reach 272,000.

However, the biggest gain in listenership for this book was seen by Marian Finucane for her Saturday show, which increased by 17,000 since July to reach 346,000 listeners.  Her Sunday show saw an increase of 1,000 to reach 322,000.

Ryan Tubridy’s weekday morning slot has gained 2,000 listeners to hit 313,000, but he is down 17,000 since this time last year.  Ray D’Arcy’s afternoon talk show on Radio 1 held steady with no change since July at 219,000, up 9,000 year on year.  Ronan Collins increased his listenership by 4,000 to 317,000.

In terms of entertainment breakfast shows, 2FM’s Breakfast Republic gained 3,000 listeners to reach 189,000 while Ian Dempsey on Today FM is down 5,000 to 162,000. At Today FM, the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show lost 5,000 to reach 162,000, down 7,000 year on year.

2FM saw increases across the board on weekdays with Nicky Byrne and Jenny Green up 5,000 to 153,000, Tracey Clifford up 2,000 to 142,000, and Eoghan McDermott gaining 1,000 to 147,000.

However, Stephen Byrne’s weekend shows both saw losses – of 5,000 down to 133,000 on Saturday and of 7,000 down to 199,000 on Sunday.

Dan Healy, Head of 2FM said the gains have been “very incremental” for the station and added that he sees Chris and Ciara and Stephen Byrne on weekends as “very strong presenters”. 

Speaking about the losses for Stephen’s shows, he added, “It’s the first time that’s happened and I wouldn’t be going back to revisit that. We would expect it to correct itself in the next book but if it didn’t correct in the next book we’d have a look.  We’re looking at trends.”

Meanwhile, at Newstalk Sean Moncrieff gained 4,000 to reach 91,000 listeners, an increase of 12,000 since last year.

Back at Today FM, Dermot and Dave are down 3,000 to 164,000 while Muireann O’Connell is down just 1,000 to 105,000.  Fergal D’Arcy saw the only increase at the station for a weekday show, adding 10,000 listeners to reach 112,000.

However, at weekends Alison Curtis is celebrating having gained 5,000 and 20,000 book on book for her Saturday (131,000) and Sunday (84,000) shows respectively.

“I've worked really hard to build a show that is about and for the listeners to highlight the every day highs and lows of family life and to be company for them each Saturday and Sunday morning," she said.

In a statement, Today FM added, “As expected, this was a steady book for Today FM given both our primetime and weekend schedule is not yet one year on air. To have 880,000 people from across Ireland tuning in weekly is a testament to our line up.”

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