The media consultancy Initiative provided the following analysis of the latest Irish radio listenership survey.
The latest round of listenership (JNLR) results was released by IAPI (Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland)day. We now have four full books of rolling data, following three-month comparisons of radio listenership. For this reason, IAPI requests that we compare data with the last full book, which looked at January to December 2005. The current book looks at listenership from April 2005 to March 2006.
As the intermittent period between books is now smaller, results are not as startling as when comparing year on year, however, there are still many interesting trends to be noted. The national listened yesterday figure remains steady at 85% of all adults, while there is not much movement among the national radio stations. RTÉ stations, Radio 1 and 2FM both lose listeners, as has been the trend in recent books. 2FM lost 28,000 listeners, 27,000 of whom are from their core target market of 15-34 year olds.
Clearly their strategy of using older DJs to attract younger listeners is not working. Radio 1, still the most listened to station nationally, lost 17,000 listeners since the end of December, bringing its listened yesterday figure down to 818,000. RTÉ Radio 1 now has a national share of voice of just over 22%, with 2FM following on 14%. Today FM retain their 11% share, while home local stations dominate with a 45% share of listening.
The big story in Dublin is Spin 103.8's emergence as the joint second most listened to station among 15-34 year olds. The youth oriented music station now has as many listeners as its sister station 98FM with 99,000 15-34 year olds tuning in daily. 98FM continue their downward spiral of recent books, with FM104 sky rocketing ahead of them. FM104 now has 145,000 15-34 year old listeners, and 202,000 adult listeners. Newstalk 106 is also continuing its growing impact on the Dublin market, strengthening its bid for a quasi-national licence.
The station is to find out Monday if its bid was successful. The talk-based station grew its listeners by 7% on the last book. It now has 76,000 Dublin listeners, just 13,000 less than Today FM has in the capital. Both Dunphy and Hook managed to increase their number of listeners, with George Hook once again surpassing his Today FM rival Matt Cooper, with 38,000 daily Dublin listeners, compared to Cooper's 28,000Nationally, many RTÉ programmes lost listeners. Still Ireland's most listened to radio programme with 463,000 daily listeners, Morning Ireland on Radio 1 lost 13,000 listeners. All of 2FM's weekday programmes lost listeners, which indicates that last year's reshuffle to older presenters is having a disastrous effect on younger listener retention. Damien Farrelly recorded the biggest losses, losing 15,000 daily listeners, while 2FM's mainstay Gerry Ryan lost 11,000 listeners. These listeners it appears are tuning into local radio and Today FM. While Today FM made no overall gains, presenters such as Ray Darcy and Ian Dempsey continue to grow their audiences nationally. Both programmes appear in the top ten most listened to Irish radio programmes, Darcy at number seven and Dempsey at number eight.
Although being swamped by George Hook in Dublin, Matt Cooper is Today FM's real winner nationally, growing his daily audience by 23% to 174,000 listeners. Cooper's The Last Word was extended earlier this year to include an extra half hour of programming.
In Cork, all stations except for Today FM lost listeners, with both 2FM and local market leader 96FM losing 4,000 listeners each. Even with a gain of 2,000 listeners, Today FM is still bottom of the ranks (with the exception of Lyric) in the rebel county, with only 36,000 daily listeners and a 7% market share. Red FM's bid for the south western youth radio licence may be hampered by its continued loss of young listeners in Cork city. While it is not experiencing losses of the scale it did a couple of years ago, the station is not managing to grow or attract new listeners.
While the effect of iPods on young listeners, is not really evident from the latest book, with 15-34 year olds radio listenership remaining steady at 83% daily, many issues surrounding consumer created media were raised at yesterday's Initiative run Media Dialogues Radio Forum. Research methods and the growth on new stations were also discussed as well as the radio industry’s reluctance to blow its own trumpet.