RTE Radio 1 head Tom McGuire said that it was “poignant” to see the late Marian Finucane’s surge in listenership for her Sunday show.
The latest JNLR figures reveal that the legendary broadcaster gained 19,000 more listeners for her eponymous weekend programme, bringing her up to 309,000.
Her Saturday morning show had a slight drop of 2,000 down to 341,000 but was still the most-listened to show on the weekends.
“It was particularly poignant for us to see the great performance of Marian reflected in her programme’s increase. Her Sunday show went to over 300,000 and that’s a really brilliant performance,” he said.
“She went out on a high and was so crucial to our schedule. About 12 or 13 years ago, we didn’t have this listenership on a Saturday or a Sunday morning.
“Before that, you might feature a gardening or a comedy show. But this was a new creation and she did build up the audience. This is a really big challenge for us now.”
He said that Ms Finucane, who died suddenly at her home in Kildare on January 2, is irreplaceable and they will be completely revamping her slot on the weekend schedule.
“It will be a couple of months before we confirm anything. We have been having conversations about it but we need to be respectful following Marian’s death. We won’t be replacing her. We will be launching a new programme in the middle of March,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said he was “happy enough” with RTE Radio 1’s performance in the latest JNLR survey, which is compiled every three months and shows gains for all its shows.
Miriam O’Callaghan made huge gains in the latest survey, given that her Sunday programme jumped 29,000 listeners up to 265,000.
Morning Ireland retains its position as the most-listened to programme in the country, standing now at 441,000 after gaining 12,000 listeners.
Ryan Tubridy increased his audience by 2,000 to stand now at 336,000 while Sean O’Rourke jumped 6,000 to reach 321,000
Joe Duffy kept his position as the second most-popular show, standing level at 363,000 while Ray D’Arcy is up 5,000 to 224,000 and Drivetime with Mary Wilson gained 18,000 to reach 229,000.
Over on 2fm, it was a mixed bag with Doireann and Eoghan’s early morning show jumping 7,000 to go to 142,000.
Jennifer Zamparelli gained 1,000 listeners and now stands at 157,000 while Tracy Clifford and Jenny Greene were down 8,000 and 9,000 respectively.
However, there was bad news over on Newstalk given that Pat Kenny dropped 4,000 listeners down to 138,000.
Newstalk Breakfast is also down 6,000 to 119,000 while Lunchtime Live is down 4,000 to 88,000.
The Hard Shoulder with Ivan Yates is still performing well but shed 1,000 listeners to bring it to 181,000.
Today FM’s Ian Dempsey showed a slight drop of 3,000 to reach 174,000 listeners but Mairead Ronan grew her afternoon show audience to reach 91,000.
Fergal D’Arcy and Matt Cooper also increased by 2,000 and 1,000 respectively.