RTÉ Radio 1 loses listeners to afternoon shows
RTÉ Radio 1’s weekday morning audience remains stable but the most listened-to radio station has lost listeners in afternoon slots, the latest radio listenership figures show.
Marian Finucane’s weekend shows suffered the most severe losses of the top 10 programmes. Her Saturday show lost 25,000 listeners to 363,000 in the period from January to December 2012 when compared with October 2011 to September 2012, while her Sunday audience fell by 20,000 listeners to 305,000, the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) survey reveals.
Other Radio 1 shows to record significant losses were Liveline, down 11,000 to 420,000 and Saturday morning’s The Business, presented by George Lee, down 9,000 to 334,000.
Morning Ireland remained the most listened-to programme, maintaining a steady listenership of 441,000 since the last survey, while John Murray increased his reach by 5,000 to 323,000. Of the other weekday morning shows Pat Kenny’s listenership was unchanged at 321,000 while Ronan Collins picked up an extra 1,000 listeners to take his reach to 211,000.
RTÉ Radio managing director Clare Duignan described the figures as a “mixed bag for all national radio stations”, but said Radio 1 was the only station “to record key stability in the breakfast slot”.
Of the afternoon shows, News at One dropped 6,000 listeners to 360,000, while Mooney shed some 13,000 listeners. Drivetime’s audience fell by 1,000 to 265,000.
Over on 2fm Ryan Tubridy’s listenership suffered a decline of 15,000 to take his reach to 160,000 and although Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy lost 6,000 listeners, his show commands a strong lead over Tubridy, with 243,000 listeners.
RTÉ Radio attracts almost a third of the national audience and takes a 40 per cent share in Dublin, with the Radio 1 audience accounting for the bulk of the listenership.
However, John Purcell, chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland group, pointed out that the combined output of independent radio attracted more listeners than RTÉ, with a 67.9 per cent share of the radio market between 7am and 7pm each weekday compared to RTÉ’s reach of 32.1 per cent.
“An examination of the JNLR data on a franchise area by franchise area basis reveals the picture that the RTÉ stations are comprehensively beaten in the listenership stakes everywhere around the country by independent radio while in the crucial Dublin market RTÉ stations are clinging on to only 40 per cent of the market,” said Mr Purcell, who is chief executive of KCLR 96FM and a director of Newstalk.
However, consistent with the previous JNLR survey, all of the 10 most listened-to shows in Ireland are broadcast by RTÉ Radio 1. After D’Arcy’s morning show, the most popular radio programme broadcast by any other station is Ian Dempsey’s Breakfast Show on Today FM, which lost 14,000 listeners since the last survey, to take its audience to 175,000. However, the show managed to increase listenership figures by 4,000 on a year-on-year basis.
Matt Cooper, meanwhile, saw his Last Word show lose 10,000 listeners to 160,000. Today FM was the only national station to show growth in its daily audience numbers in 2012 with 907,000 weekly listeners.
Today FM chief executive, Peter McPartlin said: “With emigration in our target market of 20-44-year-olds at such high levels, for us to have been the only national station to show growth in its daily audience numbers is very encouraging”
Newstalk has a 4.4 per cent share of the national radio market, down from 4.6 per cent.