RTÉ made to retract audience gain claim

State broadcaster claimed listenership for Breakfast Republic, Nicky Byrne shows had made ‘strong gains’ over last year


RTÉ has been forced to withdraw a claim of substantial audience gains for two 2FM radio programmes after complaints from a rival radio station.

The State broadcaster had claimed that listenership for Breakfast Republic and Nicky Byrne shows had made “strong gains” over last year. The assertion was allegedly based on the latest Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) figures published last week.

However, rival broadcaster Today FM made a complaint to the JNLR’s technical committee, accusing RTÉ of a “flagrant breach” of the rules around the promotion of JNLR figures.

The committee ruled in favour of Today FM, forcing RTÉ to amend a news report that made the erroneous claims on its RTÉ Ten website.

In an online statement, RTÉ admitted an “incorrect statement/comparison” was made on the RTÉ Ten website and it was incorrect to say the audience for the two programmes had increased as “a direct comparison cannot be made”.

Breakfast Republic had an audience of 196,000 for the 12 months up to September 2015, and an audience of 119,000 up to July 2015. But the time slot for the show changed in the interim and the latter time-period encompassed listeners previously attributable to The Ryan Tubridy Show, so the two figures cannot be compared.

Similarly, The Nicky Byrne Show had figures of 163,000 and 150,000 for the two periods, but its time slot also changed, so comparisons cannot be made.

RTÉ’s statement went on to claim 2fm “leads the pack” nationally every morning and said that Breakfast Republic was second only to RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland in listenership figures.