RADIO host Ray D'Arcy is losing listeners because of emigration, the head of Today FM has claimed.
CEO Peter McPartlin has said that any drop in listeners to the DJ's popular breakfast show is purely down to the continued departure of young people from Ireland.
The station boss denied that increased morning radio competition and the ratings war between RTE and Newstalk is having any affect on D'Arcy's show.
He argued that the demographic of listeners to Sean O'Rourke and Pat Kenny's programmes were typically of an older age group, which had no bearing on Today FM figures.
Dublin host D'Arcy has maintained a strong listenership, according to the latest JNRL radio figures released this week, with just a 1,000 drop in listeners since October.
However, the dad-of-two has lost 13,000 listeners, compared to the same figures released this time last year, in January 2013.
"The profile of the people we have lost is certainly not down to any of the stuff that has gone on between Newstalk and RTE radio," Mr McPartlin told the Herald.
"One of our biggest problems and for any music station is emigration," he said.
"It's affecting markets like Dublin, Cork and all the other big cities. The listeners we have lost are mainly in the 25 to 39 age bracket, which is the one that is primarily being affected by emigration. We looked at the figures and 25,000 people from this age group have left the country so that is where Ray's year on year drop has come from."
While Sean O'Rourke has emerged as the leader in the morning radio show race with 327,000 listeners, D'Arcy has maintained a steady pace with 230,000 listeners.
Meanwhile, Kenny has increased his listeners from October by 18,000 and now has 96,000 people tuning in.
While RTE said they were delighted with an increase of 6,000 listeners compared to January 2013 when Kenny hosted their Today show, Mr McPartlin said that this was not an accurate reflection of the situation.
"When you look at what's happened between Radio One and Newstalk, there is no doubt that Pat has definitely had an impact on Sean O'Rourke's numbers, which are down 7,000 since October," he said. "When you look at the make up of the numbers that have fallen off from Radio One, they are people largely over the age of 40 who have just gone straight into Pat Kenny's show. The appeal of Radio One is very much over 55, whereas Pat is attracting a slightly younger audience."
Mr McPartlin said this particular battle was having no effect on D'Arcy, who he said was more concerned with a younger audience, which suits his more laid back style.
"Ray, and to a certain extent Ryan Tubridy, are competing for a slightly younger audience," Mr McPartlin added.