Newstalk continued to add listeners in the first few months of 2014, a new snapshot of the Irish radio market shows. The station, owned by Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp, is one of the main winners in the latest Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) survey.
Some RTÉ presenters led by Marian Finucane have also increased in popularity, but there were losses for Seán O’Rourke, Liveline and theNews at One. Ray D’Arcy was the main casualty on Today FM, which saw listeners drift away from its daytime schedule.
As the listenership figures are averaged out over a 12-month period from April 2013 to the end of March 2014, they do not give a true indication of the full listenership of The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk and Today with Seán O’Rourke, which both began last September.
However, the figures suggest Pat Kenny is playing his part in boosting Newstalk, with his mid-morning slot listened to by 114,000 over the period. This is up by 18,000 since the last survey was published in January.
Newstalk Breakfast, hosted by Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue, has increased its audience to 137,000, up 11,000 since the last survey, though the station’s other big show, The Right Hook, slipped by 9,000 listeners since the last survey, to 121,000.
Today with Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 now has 312,000 listeners, down 15,000 since the last survey.
Despite the upheaval prompted by Kenny’s move to Newstalk, Radio 1 has maintained its market share over the past year. However, there were mixed fortunes across the schedule.
Morning Ireland remains the most listened-to radio programme in Ireland with an audience of 444,000, down 5,000 on the last survey but up slightly over the year. But Liveline, presented by Joe Duffy, fell for the fourth consecutive survey. It now has 390,000 listeners, down 9,000 since the last survey, and 34,000 annually.
RTÉ’s News at One has also suffered following O’Rourke’s move to Kenny’s old mid-morning slot, with the bulletin shedding 13,000 listeners since the last survey, to 336,000.
On 2fm, Ryan Tubridy continued to decline, recording a listenership of 148,000, down 4,000 since the last survey and 11,000 over the year. It is too soon to calculate the performance of Breakfast Republic, Nicky Byrne and other recent additions to the 2fm schedule.
On Communicorp-owned Today FM, the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show was one of the few gainers, with the presenter holding onto all of his 189,000 listeners since the last survey and adding 14,000 over the past year. Ray D’Arcy now has an audience of 218,000, down 11,000 since the last survey and 25,000 annually.
The Dempsey and D’Arcy shows are the only two of the top 20 most listened-to programmes that are not broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1, which dominates the radio landscape with a 23.1 per cent market share.
Today FM is the next biggest with a 9 per cent share, ahead of its rival 2fm, with 7.1 per cent. Newstalk’s market share is still just 5.6 per cent, though it has made gains both nationally and in Dublin. Local and regional stations have a combined 52.8 per cent share of the market.
A total of 16,600 people were interviewed during the year-long survey period by the research firm Ipsos MRBI on behalf of radio stations, advertising bodies and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Some 83 per cent of all adults listen to the radio on a typical day, tuning in for an average of almost four hours.