Around 84% of the Irish population listen to a radio station every day, according to the latest JNLR survey which was carried out by Ipsos MRBI.
According to the figures national radio holds the majority share position in Dublin (55.2%) and the Dublin Commuter belt (56.1%) while local/regional radio holds the majority in the other regions throughout the country, in particular achieving its highest share position in the North West and Cork regions (62.1% and 60.4% respectively).
Among the younger, 15-34 year olds, audience across the country, local/regional radio is in the majority share position at 64.3% versus 35.7% for national radio.
In particular, the local/regional group holds its strongest share position among this age segment in Dublin, 75.6%; Cork, 64.9%; the Multi-city region, 67.5% and the Dublin Commuter region, 73.2%.
On the other hand, among at the older 35+ age segment, national radio has a marginal majority share with 50.1%. However, in regional markets among this age group, national radio maintains a strong share position in Dublin, 67.4%, the Dublin Commuter region, 67.3% and in the Multi-city area, 56.4%.
Local radio continues to be a strong performer in the individual radio markets across the country – in many areas reaching more than 40% of the local adult population daily. In Kerry, Mayo, Donegal Nth and Donegal Sth/Sligo, at least half of the adult population tune in daily. In particular, on the criterion of share of minutes listened during prime 7am to 7pm, Highland Radio, MWR, Tipp FM and Radio Kerry hold the majority share position in their franchise areas.
Not surprisingly RTÉ programmes continue to dominate the To 10 programmes in radio land with Morning Ireland strengthening its grip by adding an additional 6,000 listeners to end the book on 450,000.
Morning Ireland’s gain was Joe Duffy’s loss as he shed 6,000 listeners to end up as the second most listened-to programme with 421,000 listeners. There were also losses for Marian Finucane (-12,000 on Saturday and -13,000 on Sunday) as well as Playback and Miriam Meets.
In the cut-throat drivetime slot, RTÉ’s Drivetime shed 12,000 listeners to end up with 247,000 listeners while Matt Cooper on Today FM shed 23,000 to end up with 151,000. Meanwhile over at Newstalk, George Hook made up some ground on Cooper by gaining 4,000 listeners to end up with 134,000 listeners.
In the mid-morning slot Ryan Tubridy continues to slog it out with former RTÉ presenter Ray D’Arcy in Today FM, with the latter now having 76,000 more listeners that his former RTÉ colleague.
The latest JNLR listenership figures were also welcomed by the independent radio sector and coming at a time when the BAI prepares to review the funding of RTÉ, provides it with another stick to beat the national broadcaster.
“The JNLR results show that the combined strength of independent radio stations has a 67.2% share of the market in comparison to the state broadcaster which has 32.8%,” says John Purcell, chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland.
“The BAI has suggested that RTÉ require further public funding to remain relevant, but the JNLR figures prove how out of touch RTÉ radio stations are with Irish audiences,” he says.
“With 2.46 million Irish adults tuning in every day, the programming broadcast by independent radio stations is proving to be most relevant to the audience, who value the Public Service Content broadcast by Independent Radio Stations.
“The radio preferences of the Irish radio audience as seen in the JNLR figures need to be reflected in legislation. The Minister for Communications cannot ignore the radio choice of 70% of the adult population and continue to withhold funding of public service content on independent radio stations. The Government’s response to the BAI report highlighted the importance of ensuring public service broadcasting continues to be sufficiently well funded, which can only be achieved by supporting independent radio. I hope that this thinking is evident in the draft legislation.”