Following weeks of upheaval with the departure of Anton Savage and news Al Porter is to join its ranks, Today FM’s latest JNLR listenership figures show a mixed bag, writes Stephen Rogers.
Morning stalwart Ian Dempsey has experienced a decline of 20,000 in his audience compared to 12 months ago — he now has 167,000 people tuning in.
In the afternoons, the station pointed out that while Fergal D’Arcy has not been in his 2.30pm to 4.30pm slot for the full year, his audience of 103,000, constitutes a three-year high for that timeslot.
And Matt Cooper has managed to keep 132,000 people tuning in, the same number as a year ago.
Following the acrimonious departure of Savage from the mid-morning slot, Dermot and Dave have moved to his old show time from their lunchtime slot.
The station says this is part of a “completely new show format”.
In a tweet following his departure, Savage had said he and the station’s new management “disagreed on a move to set music quotas; we disagreed on significant changes to the playlist; we disagreed on topics for discussion; on format, on choice of contributors; and we disagreed on the choice of certain guests”.
Al Porter is due to take over the lunchtime show on February 13.
It was also a mixed range of results for RTÉ radio 1.
Ryan Tubridy increased his listenership by 9,000 bringing the total to 323,000.
Another stalwart, Sean O’Rourke, had a more modest gain of 1,000 meaning he now has an audience of 332,000.
However, on a more negative note for the station, both Marian Finucane’s weekend shows lost 20,000 listeners year-on-year — her Saturday show was down to 372,000 and her Sunday show to 308,000.
The News at One now has 332,000 listeners, down 14,000 year-on-year. The losses were less severe for Ray D’Arcy and Drivetime, both seeing a decline of 2,000. D’Arcy now has 213,000 listeners, Drivetime 238,000.
Both Morning Ireland and Liveline held steady at 448,000 and 387,000 respectively.
Tom McGuire, head of RTÉ Radio 1 said: “With more than 1.3m listeners every week, RTÉ Radio 1 is the station of choice for the Irish audience. In a ‘post-truth age’ of ‘alternative facts’, the credibility of quality reporting, the breadth of coverage and the reflection of real life will always be guaranteed for the listener to RTÉ Radio 1.”
RTÉ said it could not give year-on-year figures for its main 2FM shows due to schedule changes.
It said the figure for Breakfast Republic was 154,000 and 131,000 for Nicky Byrne and Jenny Greene. Those two shows’ versions last year had 181,000 and 157,000 respectively.
Newstalk’s new morning show now has 122,000 listeners.
In Cork, the battle of the mid-morning talk shows continues, with Neil Prendeville on Red FM and PJ Coogan on 96FM shown to be attracting 63,000 listeners each.
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner.