Home News JNLR: National Stations Show Good Growth as Radio Listenership Remains Strong

JNLR: National Stations Show Good Growth as Radio Listenership Remains Strong

John Clancy, managing director of Carat Ireland, casts his eye over the latest batch of figures from the JNLR to see who is up and who is down.


Irish radio is remarkably resilient, we’re an oral and aural culture, full of storytellers and nowhere is that more clearly reflected, than in our enduring love affair with radio.  The latest listenership results that show that 83% of listen daily to radio and even when you look at younger age cohorts, that you might think never lift their heads up from their phone screens, three quarters of 15-24yr olds, still listen to radio daily.


All of the national stations performed well in these latest results, when comparing period on period (Oct15-Sep16 v Oct16-Sep17).  The standout performers however were 2FM and Newstalk, adding 69,000 and 28,000 daily listeners respectively.  For 2FM this has seen their daily reach grow from 9% to 11% which is significant.  Signs perhaps that their schedule changes are starting to have a positive effect.  Time will tell what the impact of recent controversy and schedule change will be.

In our last analysis we flagged that 2FM had closed the gap on Newstalk and Today FM, in daily reach, but the big news of this book, is that it has overtaken them.  The order is now as follows: 2FM (404,000), Today FM (402,000) and Newstalk (395,000).  Outside of that battle for the number 2 spot, ‘Home Local’ (county level stations) dominate with a daily reach of 1,529,000, followed by Radio 1 with 891,000.

Looking at a year on year picture, at a programme specific level, it’s the early schedule that’s driving the 2FM performance with Breakfast Republic (up 44,000).  The Radio 1 Primetime schedule had a relatively poor performance for that period, Today FM held steady across the board and on Newstalk Moncrieff posted a healthy increase of 13,000 listeners.  Dermot and Dave on Today FM are holding listeners in what was the old Ray D’Arcy slot (9-12).  It’s probably too early to judge the impact of Al Porter on the same station from 12-2.30 as he’s yet to complete a full year with the station, but perhaps his growing TV profile will help him.  The George Hook slot is a key one for Newstalk, with 102,000 listeners and it will be a challenge for Ciara Kelly to step in and maintain and grow that audience.


FM104, Q102 and Spin 1038 will all be happy with this latest research, showing YoY improvements to their daily reach of 16,000, 20,000 and 10,000.  98FM has lost 10,000 YoY, despite adding 2,000 in this latest book-on-book period.  The nationals all added to their reach in Dublin YoY with the exception of Today FM (-8,000).  In market share for primetime listenership (7am-7pm), Radio 1 is the clear leader (35.1%) and FM104 has consolidated it’s clear number 2 position with a share of 12.1%, up steadily book on book and year on year.

Looking at key programmes in the Dublin market, it’s competitive as ever.  In the breakfast slot, just looking at the Dublin local stations, FM104 has the best story, up 4,000 listeners book on book and 6,000 year on year.  Year on Year, 98FM (-3,000) and Spin 1038, both lost breakfast listeners.  It’s a strong book throughout the FM104 schedule, with other strong results coming from the Q102 daytime schedule, particularly Martin King from 9-2 adding 13,000 year on year (although his show is now an hour longer).


Cork 96FM continues to grow and grow, now reaching 123,000 listeners daily, up from 109,000 YoY.  The challenge for them is that Red continues to do the same and better, consolidating recent gains by holding steady book on book, with 138,000 daily listeners.  Looking at primetime market share (7am-7pm) however between the same two stations, Cork 96FM actually has the slight edge (21.3% v 21.1%), but effectively it’s neck a neck.  Despite not having had a great book, Galway Bay FM, Limerick Live FM and WLR remain leaders in their franchise areas.

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