Brendan O’Connor overtakes Ryan Tubridy in JNLR radio listenership survey

Morning Ireland remains number one, while Today FM’s Dermot & Dave, Radio 1′s Sunday Sport, Newstalk’s Moncrieff and 2FM’s The 2 Johnnies are among the JNLR winners

Ryan Tubridy had 334,000 listeners on Radio 1 in the 12 months to the end of June. Photograph: Alan Betson

Brendan O’Connor’s Saturday morning listenership on RTÉ Radio 1 has overtaken the audience for Ryan Tubridy’s weekday show in the latest Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) survey.

Mr Tubridy’s listenership was broadly stable in the months leading up to RTÉ's decision to remove him from the airwaves after it admitted understating his pay over several years, the survey reveals.

The Ryan Tubridy Show had 334,000 listeners in the 12 months to the end of June, a period that included the build-up to his final edition of The Late Late Show, which he hosted for 14 years.

Compared with the previous survey covering the year to the end of March, the presenter’s listenership has dropped by 1,000, the research indicates, though this fall is well within the margin of error for the survey.

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As the research is conducted over a 12-month rolling period, RTÉ's move to take the scandal-hit presenter off air and replace him with Oliver Callan from June 23rd will not have had a meaningful impact on the figures.

Mr Tubridy is now in negotiations with new RTÉ director general Kevin Bakhurst about his return to the airwaves.

Tubridy in return talks to RTÉ on salary significantly less than €200,000Opens in new window ]

His 9am-10am audience of 334,000 – though it has subsided since its pandemic peak in common with the trend for other Radio 1 programmes – remains above the listenership for the slot when he took it over in mid-2015.

Mr O’Connor, meanwhile, now has 338,000 listeners on a Saturday, up 11,000 on his audience in the previous survey, making his show the second most listened-to in the Irish radio market behind Radio 1′s Morning Ireland, which saw its audience rise by 3,000 to 440,000.

Mr O’Connor, who succeeded the late Marian Finucane in Radio 1′s key weekend slots in 2020, has 323,000 listeners on a Sunday, up 4,000 since the last survey.

PositionProgrammeStationNumber of adult listeners (000s)
1Morning IrelandRTÉ Radio 1440
2The Brendan O’Connor Show (Sat)RTÉ Radio 1338
3The Ryan Tubridy ShowRTÉ Radio 1334
=4Today with Claire ByrneRTÉ Radio 1323
=4The Brendan O’Connor Show (Sun)RTÉ Radio 1323
6PlaybackRTÉ Radio 1311
=7Liveline with Joe DuffyRTÉ Radio 1305
=7The BusinessRTÉ Radio 1305
9News at OneRTÉ Radio 1303
10Sunday with MiriamRTÉ Radio 1287

Elsewhere, there were modest gains and losses for Radio 1 shows, with the station’s standout performer being Sunday Sport. Its audience surged to 181,000, up 29,000 since the last survey, as the GAA All-Ireland championships drew listeners to its coverage.

On RTÉ 2FM, Drive It with The 2 Johnnies is now the station’s biggest show, having added 10,000 listeners. This brings the audience for Johnny Smacks and Johnny B to 140,000. In the morning, 2FM Breakfast with Doireann, Donncha and Carl now has 138,000 listeners, up 3,000.

Today FM put in a strong performance, adding listeners in all its key weekday slots. Mid-morning hosts Dermot & Dave recorded an audience of 216,000, up 11,000, which is the highest listenership enjoyed by this slot in many years.

The show, presented by long-term partnership Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore, came to an end last week, with Mr Whelan opting to depart radio to pursue other career interests and Mr Moore due to fly solo in the slot from August 28th.

Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore. Their Dermot & Dave show on Today FM has come to an end after Whelan decided to move on to a new career. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

Ian Dempsey was another JNLR winner, adding 13,000 listeners to bring his tally to 221,000 at breakfast. The Last Word with Matt Cooper has 174,000 listeners, up 6,000.

Alongside Dermot & Dave and the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, Today FM’s third entry in the top 20 programmes on Irish radio is Weekend Breakfast with Alison Curtis, which has 185,000 listeners on a Saturday, up 6,000.

On Newstalk, which like Today FM is owned by Bauer Media Audio Ireland, there was minor slippage in the listenership of some of its weekday peak-time shows, but The Pat Kenny Show was an exception, rising 5,000 to 179,000.

In the afternoon, Sean Moncrieff also added 5,000 to reach an all-time high listenership of 103,000 – this is first time that the Moncrieff show has crossed the 100,000 audience threshold.

Bauer Media Audio Ireland, which is owned by German multimedia company Bauer, has now achieved its best audience figures since it entered the Irish market in 2021 through the acquisition of Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp.

The number of people who listen to Irish radio daily has increased by 65,000 to more than 3.3 million, according to the survey, which is conducted on behalf of the industry and advertisers by researchers Ipsos.

“It is a testament to the hard work and investment from radio stations up and down the country creating brilliant content that over 3.3 million adults are listening to radio every single weekday, a record high in daily audience levels in recent years,” said Ciarán Cunningham, chief executive of Radiocentre Ireland, an alliance between RTÉ and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland group.

Listening to stations through devices other than a radio continues to increase, with mobile devices accounting for 3.5 per cent of all radio listening and 5.9 per cent of listening taking place through a smart speaker.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics