Saturday 17 March 2018

RTE still dominates the airwaves despite widespread fall in listeners

New figures reveal top shows are losing out

Fergus Black

RTE has managed to hold onto its lead over its national and regional radio rivals despite dropping listeners across many of its most popular shows.

A massive 86pc of the adult population still continue to tune in daily to a mix of national, regional, multi-city and local radio throughout the country.

With few exceptions, almost all of the top shows lost audience numbers in the past 12 months, according to the latest JNLR figures from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which cover the period July 2009 to June 2010.

While it carried off a clean sweep of the top 10 most-listened-to programmes, the task for RTE was to hold onto its position following huge gains over the past three years.

"This book (JNLR figures) was all about keeping the ships steady and holding onto RTE Radio's lead on competitors," Clare Duignan, RTE Radio managing director said.

Top ten

RTE's Morning Ireland continued to head the top 10 with 431,000 listeners but was a 14,000 drop on the last comparable figure.

Today FM's Last Word was down 13,000, News at One on RTE showed a drop of 12,000 while the late Gerry Ryan programme, now the Colm and Lucy Show lost 10,000.

But there were stunning exceptions to the general audience slide.

TV star and recently turned radio chat show host Miriam O'Callaghan was last night celebrating a massive 20,000 boost in her audience figures with her weekend RTE Radio 1 show climbing from 226,000 to 246,000.

"I didn't really expect it but I'm excited and really delighted," the well-known broadcaster told the Irish Independent last night.

Miriam, who launched her radio career last September, said she had thought about the move for a long time before taking the plunge.

"I really love it and I don't have to worry how I look," she added.

Also bucking the downward trend was the Ray D'Arcy show on Today FM . Its figures rose by 4,000 to 235,000 -- making it the "most popular radio programme amongst 20 to 24-year-olds".

Today FM CEO Willie O'Reilly said the station had now overtaken 2fm in market share, making it the second most listened to national radio station in the country.

John McMahon, head of RTE 2fm said he was delighted that Colm Hayes and Lucy Kennedy held on to such an impressive audience after taking over the morning 2fm slot in the wake of Gerry Ryan's sudden death last April.

Although "book on book" figures for the year show that the programme had 286,000 listeners, a fall of 10,000, RTE sources said that a much larger drop had been feared.

Newstalk also welcomed the latest JNLR figures and said they showed the station now reaches 260,000 listeners daily -- up 3,000 on last year.

Its chief executive, Frank Cronin, said that they were happy to achieve a market share of 4pc and that he was also delighted to see a 13pc increase for Sean Moncrieff's show.

Presenter Eamon Keane -- who quit his lunchtime show on Newstalk last May -- may have mixed feelings about the latest figures. They show an unchanged audience figure of 66,000 listeners.

98FM said the latest figures confirmed it was Dublin's number one music radio station with a market share of 10.9pc.

Irish Independent

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