Rajar radio listening figures

. .

THE following is a right of reply to an article that appeared in the Irish News on August 2 in relation to the most recent official radio audience figures published by industry monitoring body Rajar.

The article contained misleading figures and interpretations in terms of the overall market and for specific stations, and while some of these matters were noted on the official Rajar website, other points need greater clarification.

All the figures pertain to the quarter two 2018 Rajar period, when compared with the same period the year before. Each station's figures are also taken (unless otherwise stated) within the context of their own transmission area in Northern Ireland.

The article stated that 80,000 listeners in Northern Ireland had turned off commercial radio in the summer. In fact, as independently audited Rajar figures for the period (quarter two 2018 compared to quarter two 2017) actually showed an extra 19,000 listeners tuned into commercial radio.

In the report, it was stated that Cool FM lost 9,000 listeners. However, figures for the same period, as above, saw listening change from 474,000 to 473,000, or movement of just 1,000 listeners, which was reflected in the figures listed at the end of the report.

The article claimed that U105's audience decreased by 1,000 listeners, which was not accurate. Year on year comparisons can only be made for the exact same coverage area, therefore U105 (now labelled in Rajar as U105 Greater Belfast) actually fell by 34,000 listeners.

In the report, it was stated that Downtown Radio was 'the biggest loser' in the local commercial market. According to Rajar figures, U105 Greater Belfast lost the most actual listeners (34,000) in its original transmission area, compared to the same quarter last year.

Furthermore, the report said that Q Radio had slipped back by 24,000 listeners. The true figure showed that Q Radio had actually lost 29,000 listeners.

It is important that these points have been addressed, as the audience figures quoted did not accurately portray the overall market performance.

Individual station performances also needed corrected and contextualised, with correct labelling applied to avoid any confusion that was unfortunately created in the local media market place.

:: Mark Mahaffy, managing director Cool FM and Downtown Radio