Entertainment Radio

Tuesday 18 June 2019

JNLRs: Sean O'Rourke, Marian Finucane see biggest drops at RTE Radio 1 as 2fm, Today FM, Newstalk make modest gains

RTE 2fm sees fourth positive book in a row

RTE’s Sean O’Rourke
RTE’s Sean O’Rourke
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Sean O'Rourke has seen the biggest drop in listenership at RTE Radio 1 in the latest Joint National Listenership Survey (JNLR).

RTE Radio 1 has seen losses across the board since the last book in July although some shows have remained steady or gained year on year while 2fm, Newstalk, and Today FM are celebrating modest gains.

Today with Sean O'Rourke is down 18,000 listeners on the last book in July to reach an audience of 324,000 for his early afternoon slot.

However, the broadcaster, who took over the slot from Pat Kenny in 2013, achieved a record audience for the slot in April this year and he's holding steady, gaining 1000 more listeners overall in the past 12 months.

Morning Ireland, meanwhile, has seen a drop for the second book in a row, albeit by just 2,000.  The flagship morning programme now pulls an audience of 434,000, down 10,000 since this time last year.

Drivetime and Ronan Collins have both also lost 2,000 listeners, pulling audiences of 236,000 and 212,000 respectively.

News at One has remained level with October 2016 at 325,000 listeners.  However, both Ray D'Arcy and Joe Duffy are down year on year.  The former has dropped 6,000 to 210,000 and the latter is down a significant 25,000 although he still pulls a massive audience of 370,000.

Ryan Tubridy is down 4,000 since July but has gained 14,000 listeners since last year.

On the weekends, Marian Finucane is down 31,000 to 350,000 and 16,000 to 316,000 listeners on Saturday and Sunday respectively.  Her audiences have dropped 37,000 and 8,000 on the weekends year on year.

Miriam O'Callaghan, meanwhile, is down 10,000 since July to 238,000 and since October last year she has lost 16,000 while Claire Byrne has lost 3,000 listeners to pull 216,000.

Prior to July this year, RTE Radio 1 had made steady gains for five books.  Station boss Tom McGuire is happy with how the station is performing year on year.

"Sean is still very strong year on year," he says, "and we're very strong on news and sport.  It's steady as it goes.   The big jump in sport [Sunday Sport rose 21,000 since July and 11,000 year on year] is indicative of the commitment to GAA over the summer. 

"The past four years have been marked by some big movements with Sean bedding in to Pat's slot and then Ray coming across in the afternoons, Ryan coming back from 2FM.  We were awarded National Full Station of the Year earlier this month."

Over at 2fm there have been modest gains across the board for the fourth book in a row.

Breakfast Republic has gained 11,000 listeners since July, and an impressive 43,000 since this time last year while Nicky Byrne and Jenny Greene are up 7,000 from the last book and 20,000 on last year.

Eoghan McDermott has seen his listenership increase by 9,000 to 127,000, which is 17,000 more than last year and Stephen Byrne, who replaced Ruth Scott on the weekends in January, has gained 7,000 listeners since July.

Tracey Clifford gained 3,000 listeners to match Eoghan McDermot's 127,000.

On the weekends, Dave Fanning remains steady with a 1,000 increase to 97,000.  Stephen Byrne is up 7,000 to hit 96,000 and Rick O'Shea, who has just departed for RTE Gold, was up 4,000 to 81,000.

Veteran broadcaster Larry Gogan is up 9,000 listeners to 110,000 on Saturday and 8,000 to 78,000 on Sunday.

At Today FM there have been modest gains across the board.  Ian Dempsey has gained 6,000 listeners in the past three months but he's down 4,000 from last October.

Dermot & Dave, who moved to Today FM mid mornings in January grew their audience by 3,000 to 167,000 while Al Porter, who has been with the station for seven months, has an audience of 118,000, which is a gain of 5,000 for that slot on the same time last year.

The Last Word with Matt Cooper has an audience of 136,000, up 5,000 in the last three months. 

Today FM has a market share of 7.5 per cent compared to RTE 2fm's 6.7 per cent.  However, 2fm has seen market share increase from 5.8 per cent this time last year.  Reach at Today FM is 402,000 compared to 404,000 at 2fm.

"It’s the first time since Gerry Ryan died that 2FM has a bigger audience reach than Today FM," says Dan Healy.

"This is the first time we’ve punched Today FM on any core measurement.  Daily reach is very important.   It’s really a sign of change.  Gerry died in April 2010 and by the end of March 2011 Today FM were ahead of 2fm."

Keith McCormack, CEO of Today FM commented, “It’s been a strong book for us and it’s great to see so many new listeners choosing Today FM. We have a heavy weight line up right across the schedule now and on the back of some really great station highlights in the past 3 months, we’re seeing growth. From Electric Picnic to Dare to Care, there have been some quality radio moments in Today FM that our audience really connected with”

At Newstalk, market share has grown to 62 per cent.  There have been very modest gains across the board apart from Pat Kenny who is down just 1000 since July to pull an audience of 150,000.

Newstalk Breakfast, meanwhile, is drawing an audience of 121,000, up 2,000 since July. The gain will be welcome as the new look show, with presenters Paul Williams and Shane Coleman, continues to hold its audience and build on it.

Adrian Serle, Communicorp Group CEO said the station is "delighted" with the station's overall performance.

George Hook stepped down from his High Noon slot last month after controversial comments about rape and Dr Ciara Kelly is the new presenter. The slot gained 4,000 listeners for an audience of 102,000 since July.

The Hard Shoulder, presented by Ivan Yates since September 4th, which was previously Newstalk Drive, hosted by Sarah McInerney and Chris Donoghue, is up 5,000 listeners since July. 

Off the Ball has seen a small increase of 2,000 to reach an audience of 53,000 book on book.

“We are delighted with Newstalk’s performance, as outlined in today’s JNLR figures, which shows that Newstalk’s weekly reach has risen to 739,000, representing a book-on-book increase of 10,000 listeners and a year-on-year increase of 40,000 listeners," Mr Serle said.

"We have seen growth across the primetime schedule from Breakfast through to Off The Ball, which achieved a record high of 53,000 listeners. It is clear that our schedule and content style of opinion and analysis is resonating with the audience.”

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