More switching on to radio in north as Q celebrates record listeners

Q Radio breakfast presenters Cate Conway and Stephen Clements raise a ‘breakfast’ toast to celebrate the station’s highest ever listener figures. The station now attracts a combined 306,000 listeners - 56,000 more than the same period last year.
Gary McDonald Business Editor

NEARLY a third of a million more listeners tuned into the north's main radio stations over the summer compared to the same period last year, figures from industry monitoring body Rajar have revealed.

Every commercial station, as well as Radio Ulster, recorded big upturns during July, August and September, and between them had a staggering 322,000 more listeners than in the third quarter of 2016.

And fresh from the launch of its plush new headquarters in the heart of Belfast city centre, Q Radio is celebrating its highest-ever listener figures, with 306,000 listeners tuning in across Northern Ireland (up 57,000 from a year ago).

The Rajar numbers results round off a month of incredible success for the station, picking up an IMRO Radio Award for best news bulletin, as well as a Gold Award in the media owner initiative category at the PANI Awards.

As well as increasing the overall figures, people are also spending longer than ever before tuned into Q Radio, with the total listening hours now going beyond two million across its broadcast areas in Belfast, the North West, North Down, Newry & Mourne, Mid-Ulster, County Antrim, Tyrone & Fermanagh.

Robert Walshe, the station's managing director and head of programming, said: “The Q Radio team is delighted with this recent set of figures. Adding listeners in such huge numbers from last year is testament to our dedication as a station to broadcasting quality local content for local people.

“The station has also just been granted licence extensions into a further five regions across the country, adding to the seven already tuning into Q Radio, demonstrating our commitment to continued growth and delivering a stronger platform to develop our offering and our listenership even further.”

The Bauer Group stable of Cool FM, Downtown Radio and Downtown Country have seen more than 100,000 extra people tuning in than last year, adding 16,000, 43,000 and 43,000 listeners respectively.

Managing director Mark Mahaffy said it was "an historic moment" for radio across Northern Ireland, with Cool FM and the digital-only Downtown Country recording their best-ever performances.

“Radio is enjoying an extraordinary purple patch, with the highest listening figures ever recorded by Rajar,” he said.

BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle remains the most listened-to radio station in Northern Ireland with an average weekly reach of 572,000 (approximately 38 per cent of the population), an increase of 68,000 from the same period last year.

Most listened to Northern Ireland radio stations (weekly audience) Q3 2017 v Q3 2016:

:: Radio Ulster: 572,000 (up from 504,000)

:: Cool FM: 495,000 (up from 400,000)

:: U105: 198,000 (up from 182,000)

:: Downtown Radio: 288,000 (up from 245,000)

:: Downtown Country: 142,000 (up from 99,000)

:: Q Radio Network: 306,000 (up from 249,000)

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