Morning Ireland leads RTÉ resurgence

MORNING Ireland continues to dominate the airwaves as the latest radio listenership showed it top of a pile of resurgent RTÉ programmes.

The strong showing by a slew of RTÉ Radio One programmes was the main trend in the latest JNLR figures, although big-hitting 2FM programmes such as the Breakfast Show and Gerry Ryan continue to lose listeners.

Newstalk also had reason to cheer the new figures, with The Right Hook continuing to add listeners and other programmes such as the Breakfast Show and Lunchtime with Eamon Keane also achieving solid increases.

Today FM said it had rebounded from a relatively poor showing in the previous quarterly JNLR figures published in May, claiming Today FM had a total audience increase of 18,000 each weekday afternoon.

The figures show that the national broadcaster is still dominant across a number of time slots, however, with Morning Ireland consolidating its position as the most listened to programme in the country.

The figures show Morning Ireland had 461,000 listeners, an increase of more than 6% compared with August last year, while it has added 11,000 listeners since last May.

Liveline, the second most listened to programme in the country, has also seen a boost in listener numbers, up 15% compared with a year ago and 3% compared with the figures last May.

Other RTÉ programmes have seen a consistent increase in listenership in the past year, include Drivetime, the News at One and Playback, while Marian Finucane’s Sunday programme registered a staggering 26% increase in listenership compared with August last year.

Overall, audience reach figures remained the same for all of the national services in the current survey period, with RTÉ Radio 1 at 25%, RTÉ 2FM at 16%, Today FM at 15%, Newstalk at 7% and RTÉ Lyric FM at 4%.

2FM, however, saw a slip of 0.7% in its market share, leaving it at 10.9%.

The big losers here are Colm and Jim Jim’s Breakfast Show, down more than 14% compared with a year ago, and 2FM heavyweight Gerry Ryan, down 7% compared with last August.

Of Today FM’s big four programmes only the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show has lost listeners since the last quarterly results in May, although there are general losses year-on-year for all four shows.

On Newstalk George Hook’s programme is the only show on the station to pull in more than 100,000 listeners, although Eamon Keane’s lunchtime show and Off the Ball saw considerable year-on-year increases. The station’s chief executive Frank Cronin said 35,000 more listeners had now joined Newstalk on a daily basis.

Today FM said it was still the market leader in the 20- to 44-year-old bracket, with 2FM announcing this week that it would be targeting a similar age group.

Today FM’s chief executive Willie O’Reilly, also chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, said this showed RTÉ was willfully abandoning its public broadcast remit.

“There are over 600,000 15 to 24-year-olds living in Ireland who are being told by RTÉ Radio, you don’t matter and we don’t want to know you,” he said.

However, managing director of RTÉ Radio Claire Duignan said she was confident that the repositioning of 2FM would “arrest any further marginal decline for the station”, and claimed she was delighted with the strong showing of Radio One.

Meanwhile, 4FM, Ireland’s newest radio station, said it was delighted that 95,000 listeners were tuning in every day.

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