Here's an oldie but a goodie as stars shine again
IN a dramatic reversal of fortunes, almost all of Ireland's top name radio stars are now boosting their audiences.
After a period of decline for RTE, the biggest gains were made by 2FM's Gerry Ryan (up 24,000), Radio 1's Drivetime (up 24,000), Radio 1's Joe Duffy (up 13,000) and Radio 1's Marian Finucane (up 13,000).
The shows leading the pack this time round suffered some of the sharpest falls when the last audience figures were released back in May.
The May figures, described as a "big-name bloodbath" because so many stars lost listeners, showed a 15,000 fall for Mr Ryan and a 9,000 fall for Drivetime.
But yesterday Mr Ryan was confirmed as the upwardly mobile king of morning radio, with his 325,000 daily listeners trumping the 246,000 people who tune in to Ray D'Arcy, who has the same timeslot on Today FM.
Meanwhile, Drivetime's 204,000 daily listeners is ahead of anything else in the 4.30pm to 8pm timeslot, with Today FM's Last Word (2 to 5pm) trailing with 180,000.
Mr D'Arcy was one of the only top names to emerge from the May figures with a listenership gain (up 4,000). Yesterday he was one of the only well-known faces to see his audience fall (down 2,000).
Other shows to lose ground were Today FM's Ian Dempsey (down 6,000) and Today FM's Sunday Business show (down 6,000).
The other winners of the day were Pat Kenny, who grew his audience by 10,000 and 2FM's Nikki Hayes who was up 11,000.
Yesterday's figures cover the rolling 12 months to June, while May's cover the rolling 12 months to March. The latest figures are a major boost to radio's elite.
Newstalk, which launched its quasi-national service back in September, also had cause for celebration yesterday, as the station is now reaching 5pc of the national audience each day.
The battle against Radio 1 is going well in Dublin, where Newstalk pulls in 100,000 listeners a day to Radio 1's 272,000. But the regional market remains a struggle, with Newstalk's 83,000 non-Dublin listeners dwarfed by the 505,000 people outside the capital who switch on to Radio 1 each day.
RTE's 2FM revamped its schedule amid much fanfare last March, bringing in a host of new talent including FM104's former morning team Colm and Jim Jim.
That new schedule is included in listenership figures for the first time yesterday, but Paul McCabe of media agency MCM McConnells said it was too early to make definitive statements.
"You only really have three months of it in what are 12 month figures, so it's hard to say too much about how the new mix is working," he said.
Overall, 2FM's national share of the audience dwindled from 18pc in July to December 2006 to 17pc in the first half of this year. There was better news in Dublin though, where the station's share grew from 13pc in the second half of last year to 14pc in the first half of 2007. Meanwhile, Dublin's Phantom FM now reaches about 2pc of the city's daily listeners, with the figure increasing to 5pc in the 15 to 34 age group.
Those listeners seem to be switching over from Today FM. Across the regions, Donegal's Highland Radio remains the most popular local station reaching 64pc of its catchment area, followed by Limerick's Live 95 which reaches 59pc. Beat FM, in the Southeast, now reaches 18pc of its local area.