Today FM, Newstalk and 2fm see listeners switch off

JNLR radio survey shows decreases for most of the big stations but gains for Radio 1

Listeners have switched off from Today FM, Newstalk and 2fm, while Radio 1 has added to its recent audience gains, the latest radio ratings show.

All weekday shows on Today FM and Newstalk in the peak radio hours between 7am and 7pm lost listeners over the past year, according to the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) survey for April 2015 to March 2016.

The figures put pressure on Newstalk ahead of the imminent departure from the station of Ivan Yates, co-presenter of its most popular programme, Newstalk Breakfast.

It now has 164,000 listeners, down 7,000 since the last survey.


Pat Kenny’s listenership has also declined 7,000 since the last survey and stands at 126,000.

Over the past year, his Newstalk mid-morning show has lost 16,000 listeners.

After its first full year on Today FM, The Anton Savage Show recorded an audience of 175,000, which is 37,000 lower than the listenership Savage inherited from Ray D'Arcy.

Meanwhile, at Radio 1, D’Arcy increased the listenership of his afternoon slot by 34,000 to 217,000 in the first year of his show.

Tom McGuire, the head of Radio 1, said the general election was “definitely a factor” in the good set of figures for the station.

The Republic's most listened to radio programme remains Morning Ireland, which added 12,000 listeners since the last JNLR survey and is up 43,000 year-on-year with a listenership of 460,000.

Although there were slight drops for both Seán O'Rourke and Ronan Collins, both shows have grown their audience over the past 12 months, while Tubridy and News at One have also performed well on weekdays.

On Saturday, The Business added 41,000 listeners year-on-year, taking it to 310,000 listeners.

2fm losses

The survey wasn't all good news for RTÉ, with 2fm losing market share from 6.5 per cent to 6.1 per cent.

Head of 2fm Dan Healy earlier this year forecast the slide, which follows a round of changes to its line-up, but on Wednesday he said he expected the numbers would recover later this year.

The biggest fallers on 2fm since the last survey were Breakfast Republic, which lost 19,000 listeners to 162,000, and The Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene, which shed 14,000 listeners to 143,000.

Local and regional stations increased their share of the national market by half a percentage point to 54.4 per cent, while Radio 1 advanced by 0.4 of a percentage point to 23.5 per cent.

Today FM’s share of the national market slipped to 7.5 per cent, down from 7.6 per cent.

The only weekday peak-time presenter on Today FM who didn't lose listeners since the last survey was Matt Cooper, who held firm at 132,000, although his drivetime programme The Last Word is down 21,000 listeners year-on-year.

Weekends were better for Today FM, with Alison Curtis adding 8,000 listeners to 149,000.

Newstalk, which like Today FM is owned by Denis O'Brien's media group Communicorp, retreated to 6.2 per cent national market share, down from 6.5 per cent, after losing listeners in a tough Dublin market.

About 16,800 people were interviewed during the 12-month rolling survey by the research firm Ipsos MRBI.

Some 83 per cent of the Republic’s adults listen to the radio on a typical day, tuning in for an average of almost four hours.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

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