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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Sandra Mallon

Ryan Tubridy being switched off with RTE, Today FM, Newstalk all losing listeners in radio figures

RTE Radio One boss Peter Woods has defended the station’s major ratings loss as it’s revealed thousands of listeners tuned out of radio in the last four months.

According to the latest Joint National Listenership Ratings, RTE, Today FM and Newstalk all suffered a drop in numbers across the board.

But the most notable drop was RTE Radio 1, which saw Ryan Tubridy take a dramatic hit to his morning radio show, losing 25,000 listeners. The Late Late Show host has 344,000 tuning into his show, compared to 369,000 in the last quarter.

Morning Ireland lost 22,000 listeners to its programme as 451,000 listeners tuned into the show this quarter, while Claire Byrne lost 19,000 listeners, leaving her with 331,000.

The JNLRS also revealed Joe Duffy lost 11,000 listeners since the last book, leaving him with 321,000 tuning into his show, while Ray D’Arcy dropped 18,000 listeners, seeing him dip under the 200,000 to 197,000.

But Head of RTE Radio1 Peter Woods said he isn’t worried about the drop in numbers - saying “we have massive figures, so our drops look bigger”.

Peter told us: “I just think there is an adjustment because we had a massive book in during Covid and we went right up, and we still retain figures that we didn’t have before Covid.

“With Morning Ireland…. It's 473,000… but I could look at a similar programme on another station that has gone down maybe 7000 but it has somewhere between 25 and 35 per cent of the listeners of Morning Ireland. We have massive figures, so our drops look bigger in terms of numbers but if you’re looking at the percentages, we’re still holding our percentages.”

But Mr Woods admitted he “always worries” listeners to the station suffer fatigue.

“I’d say you always worry about that…. We always look at our content, but I’m not worried any more than I am normally worried,” he said.

Mr Woods said despite RTE star Ryan Tubridy losing 25,000 listeners, he believes the presenter’s show is “superb”.

But he admitted he was left scratching his head and unable to figure out why the Late Late Show host lost so many listeners.

“I think Ryan Tubridy is superb, but I can’t figure it out myself by which I mean he has a connection with the listeners, which very few people manage to have.”

But he doesn’t think Ryan needs to go an extra hour on his radio show.

“You’re looking at somebody who is successful in an hour. Would it go to two hours? It mightn’t. That was my argument at the time. To me, Ryan Tubridy’s programme is a massive win and you take the massive win rather than diluting it and maybe losing it.

“But also when you look at Morning Ireland's drop… sometimes when you see a programme as an outlier, you might look at that but all of those programmes serve their purpose, they do what they are supposed to do.

“We have an idea in our heads what the programme is supposed to be and we’re achieving that and hopefully leave enough space so that the programme can adapt and change organically.”

Meanwhile, 2FM also suffered a ratings loss with 2FM Breakfast with Doireann Garrihy, Carl Mullan and Donncha O’Callaghan seeing 123,000 listeners tuning into their show, a drop of just 1,000 since the last quarter.

Jennifer Zamparelli saw a drop of 7,000 listeners bringing a total of 131,000 tuning in, while Tracey Clifford has 120,000 listening, a drop of 7,000.

Meanwhile, newbies the 2 Johnnie’s remained unchanged since the last quarter with 122,000 listeners to their show.

But Dan Healy, Head of 2FM, admitted he thought the figures would be slightly higher.

He told us: “It doesn’t feel like we’re down…. I think we’re definitely seeing a shrinking of audience mid-morning in Irish radio generally. We had this massive Covid deviant so to me 2FM it is a bit like the tide. The Spring tide has come in with the audience in Covid. And now it is gradually receding.

“We’ve gone from a market share of 5.8per cent to 5.6 per cent. It’s nothing really to worry about… it’s in the normal course.

“I thought we would probably nudge forward a bit. I thought we would cross the sixes book. I’m disappointed with that.”

He praised Jennifer Zamparelli for “holding her own” with the figures, but said “we are definitely seeing the JNLR showing life post Covid”.

Over at Today FM, Ian Dempsey lost 2,000 listeners and now has 199,000 tuning in, while Pamela Joyce – who replaced Mairead Ronan – is down 4,000 to 130,000 listeners.

But a spokesman for Today FM said the station were seeing 75,000 listeners more to their breakfast shows than their 2FM rivals.

Matt Cooper’s The Last Word also suffered a large drop of 10,000 listeners. He now has 164,000 people tuning in.

But Ray Foley emerged victorious amongst broadcasters as 6,000 more people are tuning into his show, meaning he now has 149,000 tuning in.

Foley has the highest ever afternoon time slot at the station.

Ray Foley gained thousands more listeners to his Today FM show (Today FM)

Ray said: “Of course I’m completely thrilled and bewildered and overjoyed! It’s wonderful to know that more people are happy to indulge my waffly nonsense as I know to lower the radio bar every afternoon from 2pm. Tell your friends! And thank you!”

Commenting on the figures, James Brownlow, Managing Editor, Music & Entertainment, Bauer Media Audio Ireland said: “This survey included post-pandemic radio listening habits complimented with our audiences’ summer holiday period.

"Negative reach fluxes for radio were expected in this survey, but to see Today FM achieve the brilliant length of listening measures it did is testament to the team's amazing ability to deliver in-class audio entertainment.

“Then there is what Ray Foley and his team achieved - nothing short of outstanding. This is why we wanted Ray back with us, and why he is one of the country's best entertainment radio broadcasters.

"Ian continuing to do the business at breakfast for Ireland is made to look effortless by him and the team, brilliant work. It’s no mean feat to retain the number 1 spot in the country for independent radio but it's just in Today FM’s DNA”.

Elsewhere, Pat Kenny lost 7,000 listeners to his Newstalk show, with 177,000 now tuning in, while Newstalk Breakfast, Moncrieff and Lunchtime also saw a small drop.

But The Hard Shoulder gained 1,000 more listeners since the last quarter, with 156,000 tuning in.


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