Most commercial stations report increase in listeners say Rajar figures

All the north's commercial radio stations apart from U105 reported a year-on-year increase in listeners according to industry monitoring body Rajar
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE north's main commercial radio stations attracted nearly 200,000 more listeners combined over the last quarter compared with the April-June period in 2016, according to figures from industry monitoring body Rajar.

Cool FM, the Downtown Network and the Q Radio Group all recorded a marked uplift in their numbers, as did BBC Radio Ulster in the non-commercial sector.

Only U105 saw its numbers slip back, with 8,000 fewer listeners than this time last year and 6,000 less than in the first quarter of this year.

The Bauer Group stable of Cool FM, Downtown Radio and Downtown Country have seen nearly 140,000 extra people tuning in than last year, adding 87,000, 26,000 and 26,000 listeners respectively.

The Q Radio network - which has moving from its old premises on Belfast's Ormeau Road to a new broadcasting base at the Fountain Centre in the city centre - has 41,000 more listeners now than this time last year at 284,000.

BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle remains the most listened-to radio station in Northern Ireland with an average weekly reach of 544,000 (approximately 36.2 per cent of the population), an increase of 24,000 from the same period last year.

Meanwhile in print media, News Letter and Morton Newspapers owners Johnston Press has announced a 3.1 per cent fall in revenue to £102.9 million for the first six months of this year, while pre-tax profit fell 31 per cent to £6.7m, blamed on another a sharp decline in print advertising.

But the group, which runs around 200 local newspaper titles across the UK, has revealed a significant rise in profitability at i, the national newspaper it bought from Evgeny Levebev just over a year ago for £24m.

The daily title delivered profit of £3.7m over the period, up 42 per cent year on year, while circulation revenue for i increased from £4.4m to £11m and advertising revenue lifted from £0.8m to £3m. The average daily circulation of i in June was 270,990, down 7.9 per cent year on year.

Most listened to Northern Ireland radio stations (weekly audience) Q2 2017 v Q2 2016:

:: Radio Ulster: 544,000 (up from 520,000)

:: Cool FM: 474,000 (up from 387,000)

:: U105: 187,000 (down from 195,000)

:: Downtown Radio: 274,000 (up from 248,000)

:: Downtown Country: 126,000 (up from 100,000)

:: Q Radio Network: 284,000 (up from 243,000)

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