Thursday 21 November 2019

Tale of two stations - 2fm gains as Radio 1 stars fall

RTÉ boss Dee Forbes
RTÉ boss Dee Forbes

Melanie Finn and Aoife Kelly

The latest Joint National Listenership Survey figures show losses for RTÉ Radio 1 and Today FM with some modest gains for Newstalk.

2fm, however, continues to grow with 'Breakfast Republic' proving the biggest winner of the year.

The show gained 11,000 listeners since April and an impressive 27,000 since this time last year.

RTÉ Radio 1 has seen a steady climb for the past five sets of figures - but that has reached a plateau now with several shows taking a slight hit since April.

'News at One' is suffering the biggest loss year on year. It currently reaches a listenership of 325,000, down 10,000 since April and a drop of 23,000 listeners since July last year.

While 'Morning Ireland' is still the most listened-to radio programme in the country at 436,000, listenership has taken a slight hit of 5,000 since the last set of figures.

The programme has lost 13,000 listeners since this time last year.

However, this time last year coincided with the election, Euro 2016, and the 1916 celebrations.

One of RTÉ's best-paid stars, Marian Finucane, has witnessed the biggest drop for her Saturday show, shedding 19,000 listeners from this time last year and now stands at 381,000.

However her Sunday show gained listeners.

Claire Byrne's Saturday politics show is down 25,000 listeners from this time last year, while Joe Duffy's 'Liveline' is down 10,000 but stands at 381,000 and is still the second most listened to programme in Ireland.

Some RTÉ programmes have gained listeners over the course of the year.

Radio stalwarts Ryan Tubridy and Seán O'Rourke have gained 15,000 and 16,000 respectively.

Ray D'Arcy is up 6,000 for his mid-afternoon slot while Ms Finucane's Sunday show is hitting the right note with listeners, with an increase of 11,000 to 332,000.

'Drivetime' is up 2,000 and is now at 238,000 while Miriam O'Callaghan's Sunday show is up 1,000 with 248,000 when compared with July 2016.

Meanwhile, 2fm has seen significant gains for all its flagship shows.

Despite getting off to a tough start, 'Breakfast Republic', fronted by Jennifer Zamparelli (inset left), had the biggest gain of 27,000 in a year.

Nicky Byrne has pulled in 8,000 more listeners and currently has 144,000.

2fm boss Dan Healy said that it had all been part of his masterplan and he always knew that bringing in a raft of new presenters and shows would impact it initially.

"It has been tough this last year. We declined a bit further than I thought we would have but now we're on the road to recovery," he told the Irish Independent.

"The figures are now consistent. There's still an issue around the weekend shows but I'm really happy with the week-day schedule."

On Newstalk, Pat Kenny increased his listenership by a massive 20,000 and is now at 151,000 as the show has gained an extra half an hour.

Seán Moncrieff is up just 1,000 since the last set of figures, at 77,000 listeners while 'High Noon with George Hook' has 98,000.

'Newstalk Breakfast', which is presented by Shane Coleman and Paul Williams, meanwhile, now has 119,000 listeners.

The tune was less positive over on Today FM, which recorded slumps in all its shows over the course of the year.

Ian Dempsey has dropped 17,000 listeners down to 178,000 while Anton Savage's former morning slot, now occupied for the past six months by Dermot and Dave, is down 10,000 to 164,000.

Matt Cooper recorded a slight drop of 8,000 but is holding firm at 131,000, with a spokesperson describing it as a "disappointing" result - but the station had undergone huge changes recently.

Irish Independent

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