Irish Radio – We love it. But who’s listening to who? Read the update from the latest JNLR Release

The JNLR figures for the year running April 2015 – May 2016 were released last Wednesday 27th April. We wanted to share just a few highlights as to the key changes.

• All National stations, other than RTÉ Radio 1 are down YOY, which could be due to their vast election coverage (+2.4% increase in Market Share). In the much bigger picture, it has to be said that RTE Radio 1 have made the right moves in recent years, bringing in high quality presenters, like Ray D’Arcy from Today FM and Ryan Tubridy from 2FM. The pair brought a loyal, younger audience, mostly listeners in their 30s, 40s and additional Housekeepers with children. All of which are attractive audiences for advertisers.

As expected, RTE Radio 1 take the top 5 programme spots, but more importantly all 5 had notable increases in listenership, especially Morning Ireland and News at One (each +43k).

• RTE 2FM’s drop in market share (-1% National Market Share year on year) could be a manifestation of the huge re-brand exercise they have undergone. 2FM modified their schedule, image and music, with the aim of recruiting a younger audience. Their schedule changes include the loss of Ryan Tubridy, Rick O’Shea moving to weekends and Tracy Clifford coming in from Spin. The case here could be that they have alienated some of their older listeners faster than they have recruited younger ones.

Due to the changes in RTE 2FM’s Schedule, there are no notable year on year changes in programmes.

• The same could be said for Newstalk and Today FM’s decrease in national market share (-0.4% and -1.1% respectively). With big moves, like Today FM’s Anton Savage replacing Ray D’arcy 2 years ago, many argue it can take up to 2 years for timeslots to recover. On the other hand, Pat Kenny has been at Newstalk for 2 and a half years and dropped 16,000 listeners year on year with this release, despite his general election coverage.

• In the Dublin Market, the competitive battle ground, the national stations follow the same trend, with RTÉ Radio 1 being the only station to have a positive book (+2.8% increase Dublin Market Share). As for the Dublin-only stations, FM104 has jumped to 11.5% market share, cementing its no. 2 spot in the market. Otherwise, Spin 104.8, 98FM have dropped off marginally in share, as they both battle it out, along with Q102, for 3rd place. Also worth noting, Sunshine 106.8 jumped in market share to 5%, following their move away from country music and towards a more relaxed sound.

• Conversely, in Cork, the local stations rule supreme, where Red are No.1 following a +1.7% increase in share YOY, followed closely by Cork’s 96FM, whose share fell by -1.1%. Neil Prendeville’s move from Cork’s 96 to Red FM, 2 years ago, has definitely contributed to the change in no. 1 spot.

In the rebel county, RTE Radio 1 have to settle for 3rd place, despite an increase in share, it was not as substantial as other markets (+1.6% YOY). On the other hand, RTE 2FM had a marginal increase in share (+0.2%), despite falling nationally and in Dublin.

• It will be extremely interesting to see how things move in the next JNLR ‘book.’ Questions we’ll be looking to answer are:

1. Will Today FM and 2FM recover from this book?
2. How will Newstalk recover in spite of the departure of Ivan Yates?
3. Will 2FM’s re-brand pay off?
4. Who will take 3rd spot in Dublin?
5. Can Red FM keep the top spot in Cork?

Did you have any other observations? Or do you have any more questions for us here in Mediaworks? Don’t hesitate to get in touch!