Ulster Bank to sponsor RTÉ’s ‘Drivetime’ radio programme for 12 months

Show hosted by Mary Wilson has proved to be attractive option for banks in the past

‘Drivetime’ presenter Mary Wilson. The programme  is  Ireland’s most popular drivetime radio show. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

‘Drivetime’ presenter Mary Wilson. The programme is Ireland’s most popular drivetime radio show. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Ulster Bank has agreed a year-long sponsorship deal with RTÉ for its Drivetime evening programme on Radio 1, which is hosted by Mary Wilson. The cost was not disclosed but RTÉ circulated a document earlier this year pricing a 12-month sponsorship at €260,000.

Given that the sponsorship had been out to pitch for a number of months, Ulster Bank is likely to have received a significant discount on this price.

Drivetime airs from 4.30pm to 7pm each weekday and is Ireland’s most popular drivetime radio show. It has a weekly listenership of 242,000, according to the latest JNLR listenership survey. The sponsorship begins today and will include 30 sponsor-credited stings a week. It will also cover online broadcasts and podcasts.

Drivetime has proved to be an attractive sponsorship for banks in Ireland in recent years. Danske Bank, which has quit retail banking here and now only has a small presence in the Irish market, was the show’s most recent sponsor, while HSBC is also a former backer.

Eddie Cullen, managing director of corporate and institutional banking at Ulster Bank, said the deal reflected its commitment to supporting Irish businesses. “Sponsoring a prime-time show that has a strong business listenership highlights to companies that we are open for lending and have €1.2 billion available for business lending this year,” he said.

Tara Farrell, sponsorship manager at RTÉ Radio, said the deal would deliver a “highly effective platform” for Ulster Bank to “communicate directly with its business customers”. Ms Farrell said radio sponsorship remained a “buoyant” sector of the advertising market and said RTÉ would announce “several new radio sponsorships in the coming weeks”.