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Youth Market Shines for Radio Stations in JNLR Book

Oilbhe Doyle, account director at OMD 

Oilbhe Doyle of OMD casts her eye over the latest set of figures from the JNLR.

This is quite an interesting book with plenty of standout headlines coming to the fore. One of the key standouts of this JNLR book, is the story of the youth market. Four years ago, everyday listenership of all radio amongst the 65+ bracket stood at 14%, this figure has now risen to 17%. On the other hand, the 25-34yr olds figure has fallen from 22% to 18%. Although it has become apparent that radio listenership is gradually ageing, this fact is juxtaposed with all youth stations showing gains.

The most modest were at iRadio, picking up 1% overall in terms of average weekday reach. Spin have shown growth of 4% in Dublin and 1% in the South West. Red FM picked up by 11% and Beat 102-103 rose by 7%. Undoubtedly the proliferation of digital alternatives has had something to do with youth erosion in traditional radio, however this demise is not from the youth stations. The growth of youth stations themselves highlight their ability to stay true to their savvy and demanding youth listeners. On air, on the ground, in digital and social media these youth stations have stayed on top of the curve and engaged their youth listeners  through consistently and successfully driving relevance for their audiences. They are at the forefront of the youth market and the continuation of this strategy will enable them to continue to know, grow, entertain and engage.

Over the last few years the analysis of The Dublin Market has been pretty straight forward, with FM104 storming ahead of the pack recording gains across all its shows and Spin 103.8 a few steps behind in its shadows. We always wondered when the FM104 acceleration would be challenged by the other Dublin stations, referring to the real issue as an “Identity Crisis” on both Q102 and 98FM’s part.

However it seems now that threat has come to the fore and a shakeup has started to occur, in fact this time last year, was the first time for a while that we saw any real dips in FM104’s performance. The pattern has followed in this book again showing some more dipping figures, overall FM104 has dropped 2% in Dublin, The Strawberry Alarm Clock has lost 13,000 listeners, the 10-3 show has lost 14,000 listeners and The Jam 4,000 listeners. However despite this, FM104 remains the largest station in Dublin by a significant margin, they still continue to power ahead but now are faced with real challenges to their future growth. Ones to watch for FM104 are Spin 103.8’s strong performance along with its upcoming major re-brand and finally the resurgence of 98FM, with a 2% growth in Dublin, much of which can be attributed to the Ray Foley “experiment” in the morning.

On a national level – there’s no denying that Pat Kenny has been great for Newstalk. This book shows his timeslot has almost doubled in a year, up from 78,000 to 143,000 listeners. To keep it in perspective however Sean O’Rourke, who filled his place at Radio1, still has more than twice as many listeners at 295,000. The Pat effect has reached beyond this one timeslot however, with the station up from 8% to 10% average weekday reach nationally, when compared with this time last year, and up from 12% to 16% in Dublin. Breakfast is up 26%. George Hook has struggled, down from 135,000 to 113,000 listeners. Still, Communicorp bosses are no doubt very happy with their investment.

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