Fewer tuning in to Tubridy on radio as show loses 87,000 listeners


THE BIGGEST casualty of the latest radio listenership figures which were published yesterday is 2fm’s Ryan Tubridy, who has seen the number of people tuning in to his morning show fall from 262,000 to just 175,000 since October of last year.

The collapse in his listenership contrasts with his main rival Ray D’Arcy, whose morning show on Today FM saw its listener figures jump by 10,000 to 228,000 over the same period.

RTÉ put the emphasis on the continuing success of its main radio current affairs programmes such as Morning Ireland.

However, the Joint National Listenership Research survey (JNLR) figures will also make for difficult reading for many of RTÉ’s most high-profile weekend broadcasters with Marian Finucane, Miriam O’Callaghan and George Lee also recording sharp declines.

Finucane saw the number of listeners tuning in to her Saturday morning programme fall from 403,000 last year to 335,000. The same number of people tuned in to her Sunday morning programme, compared with 365,000 12 months ago.

O’Callaghan’s Miriam Meetsprogramme, which is broadcast on Sunday mornings, fell from 273,000 12 months ago to 255,000 this month, while Lee’s The Businesssaw a 34,000 year-on-year decline in listeners, down from 347,000 in October 2010 to 313,000 over the 12 months to the end of September.

Sam Smyth, who was controversially axed from his Sunday morning slot on the Denis O’Brien-owned Today FM, earlier this month, also recorded a decline in listeners year-on-year with his figures currently standing on 92,000 compared with 106,000 last year. While the yearly fall-off in listeners to his show is significant, the numbers tuning in between July and October was static.

RTÉ put a brave face on the figures and said RTÉ Radio 1 continued “to reign as the nation’s favourite radio station”. It said the station had recorded year-on-year gains across the weekday schedule, with Morning Ireland, Today with Pat Kenny, News at One and Drivetime all seeing figures increase.

The head of RTÉ Radio 1, Jim Jennings, accepted that the latest figures were “not as strong for weekend listening” but said that that was the same for other stations. “Naturally we look forward to a resurgence in weekend figures as the autumn schedule kicks in. It’s great to see RTÉ Radio 1 with 18 of the top 20 programmes, retaining such a conclusive lead on its rivals.”

Playing down the fall-off in listeners to Ryan Tubridy, the head of 2fm John McMahon said there were “ups and downs” in the latest figures. “It’s encouraging to see gains and stabilisation across some daytime shows after a difficult period for 2fm.

“Equally there are some changes that have yet to bed down fully. I’m confident that the ongoing work we’re doing to improve both Hector and Ryan’s shows, and indeed every show on 2fm, will pay dividends over time.”

RTÉ also pointed out that because the October 2010 figures for Tubridy’s show were not based around a full 12-month period accurate year-on-year comparisons could not be made.

Today FM’s Ray Foley and Matt Cooper both saw the numbers tuning in fall with Foley’s listenership declining from 152,000 to 141,000 over the last 12 months and Cooper’s falling from 159,000 to 154,000.

However, Today FM’s chief executive Willie O’Reilly expressed delight with the Ray D’Arcy Show’s increases. Year on year the figures are up by 10,000 but they have increased by 16,000 in the last three months. “The Irish public have taken Ray D’Arcy and his team to heart and given him their number one vote. The station is in a growth phase and winning back listeners from the opposition,” Mr O’Reilly said.

George Hook remains the most popular broadcaster on Newstalk and his Right Hook drivetime show increased its listeners by 2,000 to 121,000. Seán Moncrieff, who presents an afternoon show on the station, also recorded an increase and went from 89,000 to 93,000.