RTÉ broadcasting veterans Seán O’Rourke and Marian Finucane were the big winners in the latest radio listener figures, with the pair increasing their overall audience by a combined 77,000.
In fact, yesterday’s Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) figures make happy reading for most of RTÉ Radio 1’s main talent, with only two of the prime weekday presenters recording audience decreases compared to last year.
Seán O’Rourke’s saw a jump of 33,000 to 328,000 listeners while Morning Ireland experienced a rise of 10,000 in its figure, meaning its total now stands at 439,000.
The other morning show, with new host Ryan Tubridy at the helm, now attracts 307,000 listeners. There was no comparable figure for last year.
Compared to the morning, the afternoon slots on RTÉ Radio 1 did not have quite as much success.
While Ronan Collins (up 6,000 to 215,000) and News at One (up 5,000 to 325,000) experienced increases, Liveline saw a drop of 11,000 to 371,000 year-on-year, and Drivetime’s listenership fell by 1,000 to 226,000. Ray D’Arcy’s afternoon show now has 199,000 listeners.
Moving into the weekend, both Marian Finucane and Miriam O’Callaghan saw significant gains.
While Marian Finucane’s listenership for her Sunday show dropped by 4,000 to 337,000, her Saturday show experienced a massive increase of 48,000 to 373,000. Miriam O’Callaghan’s weekend show rose by 18,000 year-on-year to 265,000.
RTÉ said it could not provide comparison figures for its 2FM presenters as there has been such a change to its daily schedule.
However, it was able to confirm that 196,000 people listen to the Breakfast Republic show and that it is “the most popular music and entertainment breakfast show on national radio and second only to RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland in terms of figures for morning listening across the board”. The station pointed out its weekly reach has gone up 44,000 to 824,000 year-on-year.
Jim Jennings, managing director of RTÉ Radio said, overall, it was a good day for RTÉ “with almost 2m people tuning in to our radio services”.
“The figures are testament to the quality of RTÉ’s output, the breadth of programming available, and the dedication of the staff and contributors here,” he said.
There was mixed news for two of Communicorp’s national stations, Newstalk and Today FM.
At Newstalk, the Breakfast show, hosted by Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue, increased its listenership by 25,000 to 178,000. The rise for The Right Hook with George Hook was even greater at 35,000. He now has 148,000 listeners.
However, Pat Kenny’s listenership took a turn for the worse dropping by 9,000 to 134,000.
At Today FM, a number of its stalwart programmes also experienced losses. Ian Dempsey’s listenership dropped by 15,000 to 181,000 and there was a fall of 18,000 to 135,000 for Matt Cooper’s Last Word programme.
Anton Savage, who took over the prestigious mid-morning slot from Ray D’Arcy earlier this year currently has 191,000 listeners for his show.
In Cork, the battle for mid-morning listenership between 96FM and Red FM continues.
While PJ Coogan’s show on 96FM, with audience of 71,000, still has the biggest figure, Neil Prendeville has closed the gap significantly on his previous employer. He now has some 64,000 listeners.
Red FM pointed out that with 136,000 people listening every day, it had experienced a 40% increase on its listenership since this time last year.