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O'Rourke's ratings up but Pat says he must take some credit


 Pat Kenny

Pat Kenny

Pat Kenny

RTE presenter Sean O'Rourke is winning the ratings war but his Newstalk rival Pat Kenny claims he is to thank for it.

O'Rourke, who took over ex-colleague Pat Kenny's radio slot in September, is emerging on top in the latest radio figures with 327,000 people tuning into his show every morning.

However, while still way off the mark, Kenny's Newstalk slot has almost doubled the listeners to 96,000 from the 53,000 which Tom Dunne had for the same slot this time last year.

RTE said they were delighted with the official radio JNLR figures, which shows ratings have increased by 6,000 since January 2013 when Kenny presented the flagship Radio One show.

However, the former Late Late Show host insisted that the figures are "distorted" and that each host needs a full 12 months in their respective hot seat before a clear picture will emerge.

"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 told the Herald last night.

"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."

While still significantly behind his radio rivals, Kenny has added 43,000 listeners to the morning slot on Newstalk from previous host Tom Dunne.

Kenny said his Newstalk colleagues were "jumping up and down" at the results, but he still trails RTE and Today FM with the Ray D'Arcy breakfast show standing at 230,000 listeners after dropping just 1,000 since last October. However, compared to this time last year, D'Arcy is down 13,000 listeners.

"It is a different one for me because usually I am trying to hold on to an audience when others are trying to take it away from me. Now, I am building an audience so it's a lot more fun," explained Kenny.

Pat Kenny's listenership has increased by 18,000 since the last radio figures were released in October, but rival stations insisted that increased air time must be taken into account.

Speaking to the Herald last night, O'Rourke refused to draw comparisons between him and his former colleague, but said that his show's results did not surprise him.

"We're concerned with our own so how other people interpret them is their business, but for RTE to be up 6,000 is very satisfying.

"I'm not particularly surprised because from the word go I have been getting great reaction from the listeners and from people on the bus and the street saying, 'well done and keep at it'."