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Radio gaga 2FM boss Dan Healy fears Radio One are poaching all his listeners

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Dan Healy

Dan Healy

Dan Healy

  RTÉ 2fm boss Dan Healy says the station's real competition is now Radio One and not other youth music stations. 

According to Thursday's JNLR figures (Joint National Listenership Research), the station’s market share slipped back to 5.8 per cent, down from 6.4 per cent a year ago.

And with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic coinciding with political unrest, some of 2FM’s core audience appears to have migrated to Radio One.

But Dan is adamant that the trend, that has seen almost all of his daily line-up haemorrhage listeners (except for Tracy Clifford’s music show), was expected.

“I think it looks like we have lost our audience to Radio One, so at least it stays in the family. Look we knew we were going to get bounced around with what is going on in the world,” he told the Sunday World.

“Weekends are good and we are happy with that.

“There have been positives.

“But we had a brand-new breakfast show and that hurt us. And we don’t have any heritage there which Ian Dempsey has on Today FM.

“The biggest risk we took since I took over here was putting Jennifer Zamparelli in at 9am and to start talking again for three hours.

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Jennifer Zamparelli

Jennifer Zamparelli

Jennifer Zamparelli

“But she has done really well there, all things considered.”

2FM had enjoyed a glorious few years where they completely bucked the trend, announcing an all-female line-up.

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This bold move was rewarded by a steady increase in JNLR figures, and, up until this year, they had a succcesful station rebrand.

But after 12 months of a pandemic and a general election, Dan fears that his audiences' behavior may have changed for good.

“What worries me about the surge to radio one from a 2FM point of view is that they have adapted,” he said.

“They have changed their lineup and I was listening to Cormac and Sarah and they were reviewing Emily in Paris.

“That's something we would normally do.

“When I heard that I realised that yes, they are going to pick up a huge amount of a new audience of a younger age.

“ And if they have come for the trusted hard news facts, but then they get all this other stuff as well that is really entertaining.

“That becomes a significant threat for us as the world returns.

“My instinct is that we will be fine and the breakfast show will recover.

“It is not a time for panic, I sent a message around on our work WhatsApp group that this is a dip, we dipped significantly and were ready for that.

“The weekends are good and between nine and three we are strong.

“We are in a battle for those 15-34-year old listeners, that’s who we fight for but we may find ourselves in a surprising struggle with Radio One if they are going to star reviewing Emily in Paris.

“What's next, they will be covering the release of Stormzy’s new album?”

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