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Are we listening to the last gasp of RTÉ Radio 1?

The hype at the recent National Media Conference, about a “golden age for radio”, sits uncomfortably with the future for RTÉ Radio 1. The latest Ipso MRBI survey of listenership shows a dramatic shift to local radio among younger people.

Only one in twenty five 15-to 24-year-olds listen to RTÉ Radio 1; that’s 4%, compared to 70% who listen to a local station. They tune in for only two and a half hours a day, compared to four and a half hours for the over-35s. Youngsters spend, on average, four minutes a day on Radio 1, compared to 13 minutes on Today FM, and the rest on local radio.

In the Dublin commuter belt, young people listen to RTÉ Radio 1 for less than three minutes a day; even Today FM does twice as well. Local radio has mopped up the young market, with an average of two hours, 12 minutes of listening. The over-35s are buttering the turnips in RTÉ Radio 1. This group are listening to the State’s premier radio station for one hour and 20 minutes a day, or 30% of their listening time. Half of their time is tuned in to local radio. If today’s young people continue with their listening habits, as they age, which is likely, then RTÉ’s Radio 1’s listenership, both numbers, and duration, will have disappeared down the plughole in several decades.

Radio 1 heads should visit the history of the Irish Press.

John Colgan
Co Kildare


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