Radio 1 loses early listeners as more breakfast with Hector
Marian Finucane’s Sunday show suffered most among the top 10 programmes, losing 16,000 listeners
RTÉ RADIO 1 has lost listeners from its weekday and Sunday morning schedules, but the audience for its afternoon shows has grown, the latest radio listenership figures show.
Marian Finucane’s Sunday show suffered the most among the top 10 programmes, losing 16,000 listeners to 325,000 in the period from October 2011 to September 2012 when compared with July 2011 to June 2012, the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) survey reveals.
By contrast, Finucane’s Saturday show gained 4,000 listeners to 388,000 since the last survey. It has also made year-on-year gains and recovered most of the listeners lost during 2011.
There was a slight fall for Morning Ireland’s listenership, which fell by 3,000 to a reach of 441,000, while Liveline with Joe Duffy gained 3,000 listeners to 431,000.
Their diverging performance closed the gap between the two most listened-to radio shows.
On weekday mornings, The John Murray Show lost 9,000 listeners to 318,000, Today with Pat Kenny shed 7,000 listeners to 321,000 and The Ronan Collins Show’s audience dropped by 12,000 to 210,000.
RTÉ described the morning losses as “small”, while RTÉ Radio managing director Clare Duignan said gains on shows broadcast on weekdays from 1pm onwards were “really encouraging”.
News at One’s listenership climbed 9,000 to 366,000, Mooney added 2,000 to 234,000 and Drivetime made gains of 7,000 to 266,000.
There was no change for Ryan Tubridy’s 2FM show, which continues to come off the worst in the battle for listeners with Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy.
The 2FM programme has a listenership of 175,000, flat on both the last survey and a year ago.
However, 2FM was toasting the success of Breakfast with Hector, which has gained 8,000 listeners to 138,000.
Duignan said Hector Ó hEochagáin was “blazing a trail through breakfast” and Tubridy was “establishing a large and loyal morning audience”.
RTÉ’s suite of radio stations command almost a third of the market nationally, and take a 42 per cent share in Dublin. RTÉ Radio 1 generates most of that audience.
John Purcell, the newly elected chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland group, highlighted that the combined might of independent radio was more popular than RTÉ, attracting 2.51 million daily listeners to RTÉ’s 1.26 million.
“The real story of this and every JNLR is that independent radio is the clear leader in the Irish radio market,” said Mr Purcell, who is chief executive of KCLR 96FM and a director of Newstalk.
However, all of the 10 most listened-to shows in Ireland are broadcast by RTÉ Radio 1.
The most popular radio show to be broadcast by any other station is D’Arcy’s morning show, which has a listenership of 249,000. This has slipped 6,000 since the last survey, but is up 21,000 on last year.
Also on Today FM, the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show is listened to by 189,000, flat on the last survey but up 36,000 year on year, which the station described as a “massive” gain.
The Last Word with Matt Cooper lost 4,000 listeners to 170,000, but added 16,000 year on year.
Today FM chief executive Peter McPartlin said the station’s gain in market share from 9.1 per cent to 9.7 per cent over the past year suggested that the public was “responding well to the diverse mix” on its schedules.
Its afternoon presenter Ray Foley, who has 153,000 listeners, finishes up next week and moves to the breakfast show on Communicorp sister station 98 FM.
His slot will be filled by evening presenter KC, aka Keith Cunningham.
On Today FM’s Sunday schedule, Savage Sunday presented by Anton Savage was down 5,000 to a listenership 117,000, while the Sunday Business Show added 5,000 listeners. Its audience has climbed by 37,000 over the past year to 87,000, a substantial gain.
Newstalk Breakfast, which in September installed Norah Casey as a permanent co-host to Chris Donoghue, attracts 133,000 listeners, flat on the last survey, but up 18,000 year on year.
The most listened to show on Communicorp-owned Newstalk remains the Right Hook with George Hook, which added 6,000 listeners to 136,000 and is up 15,000 in the last year.
Newstalk has a 4.6 per cent national share of the radio market and 7.7 per cent in Dublin. FM104 enjoys the second-biggest market share in the capital (behind RTÉ Radio 1), advancing to 13.6 per cent, followed by Q102 at 8.1 per cent - both stations are owned by UTV Radio.