Pat Kenny gains 18,000 listeners but O'Rourke's king of morning radio
PAT Kenny picked up an extra 18,000 listeners for his Newstalk show to 96,000 – but Sean O'Rourke, his replacement at RTE, remains the dominant voice on mid-morning radio.
The RTE veteran pulled in 327,000 listeners according to the latest JNLR figures - but Mr Kenny said he must take some of the credit for his rival's figures.
"It is still too early to tell so Sean O'Rourke's figures have to reflect my massive hand over to him," the 66-year-old said.
"You get books that are up and down. With the size of the audience I had in RTE, anything that is less than 10,000, up or down, is basically within the statistical margin of error so you can't tell."
The JNLRs also brought some positive news for 2fm.
Ryan Tubridy appears to have halted the decline in the morning slot previously held by the late Gerry Ryan, while breakfast host Hector O hEochagain gained 12,000 new listeners, even though he is being replaced.
The latest figures showing gains for early slots at both Newstalk and RTE. 'Morning Ireland' remains the most listened-to show in the country, increasing its audience by 1,000 to 449,000 in the latest JNLR figures.
And Newstalk 'Breakfast' hosted by Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue also enjoyed a 5,000 increase to 126,000 listeners.
Both stations were bullish about the figures, with Kenny shrugging off suggestions he could have hit the 100,000 mark.
And while his figures may not be as impressive as O'Rourke's, he has recorded a boost of about 20pc in the past three months.
He has now almost doubled the ratings of the slot previously held by Tom Dunne, from 53,000 to 96,000. "It's a work in progress," he said last night.
"It's a big ask to get people to change the habits of a lifetime but I am pleased with the results."
Kenny left his long-term employers at RTE last summer in a five-year deal with Newstalk worth an estimated €2m.
He added: "It's worth remembering we don't have a full picture and we won't have a full picture until November of 2014 when I have been at Newstalk for over a year."
O'Rourke was also unconcerned about the slight drop in his listeners over the three months, pointing to the fact that his ratings are 6,000 higher then Kenny's ratings this time last year. "I think the key comparison here is that it's up 6,000 from last year," he said.
"The drop from the last time is a margin of errors. This is great news for RTE. I'm not surprised the show is doing well because I've heard such positive things from listeners."
O hEochagain recorded an audience boost despite being axed from 2fm in December – with the station recently announcing that 'Republic of Telly' stars Jennifer Maguire, Bernard O'Shea and Keith Walsh will be taking over.
2fm boss Dan Healy says Hector's strong ratings would be a blessing rather than a burden for the new breakfast team.
"Hector was a great broadcaster," he said. "We're viewing this as an opportunity for the new breakfast team to utilise his ratings."
Joe Duffy's figures on the 'Liveline' slot fell 14,000 but remain strong at 399,000.
Meanwhile, Ray D'Arcy's figures were down 1,000 to 230,000 but the show is still pulling ahead of Ryan Tubridy, who was stable at 152,000. Also at 2fm Colm Hayes dropped 1,000 to 134,000.
Today FM's Ian Dempsey's ratings increased from 180,000 in the last count to 189,000.
Matt Cooper increased by 2,000 with 160,000 listeners leaving 2fm's 'More Music Drive' in the dust with 110,000.
Newstalk's George Hook was down 5,000 listeners to 130,000 but it was good news for Sean Moncrieff who was up a further 2,000 to 112,000.
The new look 'Off the Ball' show has increased its listenership by 4,000 to 43,000 in the past year despite the turbulence of the entire team quitting last March.