Pat Kenny is now being followed by an audience of 78,000, a fraction of what his listenership figures were on his RTÉ morning show, and far less than the 334,000 now enjoyed by his replacement, Sean O’Rourke.
The latest study of radio listenership trends show that the Today with Sean O’Rourke programme on RTÉ Radio 1 is up 13,000 year on year, a result that has delighted the station’s bosses, as well as O’Rourke himself.
“We are happy about those figures but not getting carried away by them,” said O’Rourke last night as he praised his show’s production team for the success.
“I am working with a great bunch and, while it would be premature to come to any big conclusions, it is great to get results like this so early in the transition.”
O’Rourke added that he was enjoying his change from News at 1 to the Today show as it liberated him from the straitjacket of news. “This is the best job I’ve ever had,” he said.
Jim Jennings, managing director of RTÉ Radio, said: “This is a very strong result. It’s particularly pleasing to see Radio 1’s mid-morning programmes increase their audiences.”
Other RTÉ broadcasters to improve listenership figures include John Creedon and Ronan Collins, whose show saw gains of 24,000 year-on-year to 234,000.
Weekend listening figures were strong, with gains by Marian Finucane and Claire Byrne.
However, while the Joint National Listenership Research figures released yesterday reveal that one third of Irish adults tune in to RTÉ Radio daily, commercial stations continue to make gains.
Pat Kenny’s fellow Newstalk presenter George Hook has increased his listenership by 1,000 to 135,000 people daily.
Newstalk Breakfast with Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue has 121,000 listeners daily, an increase of 1,000.
Also on Newstalk, Sean Moncrieff has 110,000 listeners daily, up 16,000 year-on-year.
Gerard Whelan, Newstalk chief executive, said: “Recent changes to our schedule have resulted in thousands of listeners nationwide moving the dial to Newstalk. We can see a very strong performance from Pat Kenny after only one month on air. We have every confidence that this momentum will continue and we look forward to seeing continued growth in the months ahead.”
Ian Dempsey continues to be the most popular broadcaster on Today FM, which, in turn, claims to be the nation’s favourite independent station with 24% of all adults tuning in each week.
Dempsey gained 12,000 listeners since July, bringing his audience to 180,000 listeners.
The latest JNLR figures show that independent radio stations have a combined 67% share of the market compared to 33% for RTÉ Radio.
This prompted the head of the representative body for commercial broadcasters to urge communications minister Pat Rabbitte to take the change into account when preparing the introduction of the Public Service Broadcasting Charge which is to replace the TV licence.
Chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland John Purcell said: “Minister Rabbitte will shortly begin examining the results of his recent consultation on the introduction of the new charge which will replace the television licence fee. The JNLR results need to form part of his considerations as they are the clearest indication of what the audience are actually listening to.
“The minister cannot afford to ignore the radio choice of 2.45m Irish people who tune into independent radio stations every day. Such consistently high levels of listenership prove that Ireland’s independent radio stations are providing a service to the public that is widely used, performs an invaluable role in society, and has become an integral part of our Irish identity in every county in the country.”
The figures show that 2.45m listeners (67% of the population) tune in to independent radio on weekdays.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved