This Week In Radio 23/7/2022 (Too much interesting data)

Lots happens in the radio industry each week so here’s a summary of the week we just enjoyed.

Here’s What Happened

Image of two people Irish dancing from the RTE 2021 annual report. They look to be outside near a coastline, with a blue sky in the background

The RTÉ annual report was published this week, and as always it contained all sorts of interesting numbers and facts.

You might have seen some of the headlines about RTÉ making a surplus of €2.4 million, but there’s so much more buried in the report. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting bits.

Financial performance

As mentioned above, RTÉ had a surplus after tax of €2.4 million in 2021. This is down from the €7.9 million in 2020. While it’s good that RTÉ are making money, it’s important to note that they saved money as a result of Covid shutdowns. Some big budget productions such as dancing With The Stars didn’t happen in 2021, so it will be interesting to see if RTÉ can continue it’s money making streak into the future.

So, how is RTÉ making it’s money?

  • Commercial revenue was up €13.8 million as there was a boost in advertising particularly in the second half of the year. Licence fee sales dropped 10,000, leading to RTEs licence fee revenue going down by €500,000
  • Total revenue was €344.4 million, up from €331.1 million in 2020.
  • There was a 14.9% increase in TV ad spot revenue. This is important as it’s the biggest contributor to RTEs commercial income.
  • When you include TV sponsorships and product placement deals, the increase is 15.3%. More programs got made in 2021 so there were more opportunities for sponsorship. Drama’s like Kin and Hidden Assets both had sponsors attached in 2021, and we are told that drama sponsorship brought in considerable revenue for the year.
  • Radio saw a total revenue increase of 5.6%. Spot advertising was up 3.7%, sponsorship by 12% and promotions including competitions and outside broadcasts were up 13%. It’s noted in the report that this is despite the restrictions on events, hinting that outside broadcast revenue might increase further.
  • In a fascinating statistic, government advertising accounted for 18.6 percent of radio revenue in 2021, down from 21% in 2020. Those HSE ads are big business
  • Digital revenue is up 23.2% but I won’t overload you with any more numbers. If you want to see more breakdowns they will be linked below.

There are fascinating financial numbers all over the report but I won’t overload you. I’m conscious that this is Radio Land, and some of you only care about the radio side.

Another area that’s interesting is how much from each licence fee goes to each service. I’m only going to cover the radio side here, but all the links below will help you find further info if you’d like it.

Radio and the licence fee

An Irish tv licence costs €160. The numbers below are calculated by taking the cost of a service, and excluding the revenue it brings in. So let’s say the hypothetical RTÉ radio 3 costs €3 million but brings in €2 million, the licence fee covers the other €1 million

So, how much does each service cost?

  • Radio 1 cost €13.06 from each licence fee in 2021, down from €14.04 in 2020
  • €2.49 went from each licence to 2FM also down from 2020 where the cost per licence was €2.71
  • RnaG cost 1 cent less from each licence, costing €8.13 in 2021 compared to €8.14 in 2020
  • Lyric also took less from each licence costing just €3.36, down from €3,62 in the previous year
  • Overall, radio cost €27.04 from each €160 licence, down from 28,51 in 2020

Some really fascinating numbers to be fair, but that’s only scratching the surface. There really is too much interesting data.

If you want to read more about everything that happened for RTÉ in 2021 feel free to explore the links below. Be sure to let us know on social media what you thought, we’re @radiolandIRL on everything.

All the financial stuff is here

What was done in 2021

What was won in 2021

What was made in 2021

QRadio Belfast gave away £10,000 (€11755) this week on Spin To Win.

The competition, which uses the same business model as the Bauer Cash machine, sees contestant’s send a £2 text message for the chance to spin the wheel.

Prizes on the wheel could be anything from a hotel getaway to £10,000. John won the top prize this week.

It’s interesting to see how stations handle competitions, it seems Wireless group are the only big player now without a big competition on air. they have so far stuck to local contests, and haven’t gone down the road of pay per entry.

It’s going to be interesting to see if stations with less money on the line can compete with the likes of the €10,000 2FM clock blocker, or the Bauer cash machine which regularly gives away thousands.

Watch the wheel spin here

Finally this week, the BAI have found that coverage of the Covid-19 vaccine on Newstalk and RTÉ was “editorially legitimate”

There were 11 complaints made regarding the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, and one made regarding Today With Claire Byrne on Radio 1.

Most of the complaints claimed the coverage was prejudiced against people who did not avail of the Covid-19 vaccine, but the BAI have rejected this.

People who are not vaccinated do not represent a particular group in society that is given specific protection under either equality legislation or the provisions of our code of programme standards

BAI responding to the complaints

All of these complaints were rejected.

This raised an interesting question. I was talking with someone yesterday who suggested that if someone makes a complaint to the BAI and it fails, they should be charged a fee to cover the time cost.

On one hand this might reduce the number of complaints getting rejected, but on the other is this adding a barrier that shouldn’t exist? I’d never thought about this before, but I’m interested to see what you think. Go vote on our Instagram story now.

Quick Bits

The bAI this week announced they have dismissed a complaint related to O Holy Night being played on RTE Radio 1

An online radio station for blind and visually impaired people in Ireland launched this week (full disclosure, I am involved in assisting the NCBI with this project)

Kathryn Thomas is hoping for her own radio gig soon as she’s been filling in for Ray Darcy for years

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that Dublin media is only interested in Northern Ireland when there’s a crisis

Last week we discussed the closing of the times Ireland Edition, and how it would impact wireless group stations. 11 journalists have now left after they were told of 30% pay cuts

Irish presenter Laura Whitmore has left BBC Radio 5 Live

Ryan Tubridy is taking his holidays, he’s not retiring as some news websites suggested in their headlines

New research has found that reginal accents seem to work better in advertising

Second Captains has secured Audi as sponsor

And that’s the summary for this week. Come back to radio land next week for more radio news📻 and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for extra stories.

This Week In Radio 16/7/2022 (let’s go to the future)

Lots happens in the radio industry each week so here’s a summary of the week we just enjoyed.

Here’s What Happened

Logo of the future of media commission

It took a while, but it’s finally here.

This week the report from the Future of Media Commission was published. The report makes 50 recommendations, on everything from diversity to the funding of RTÉ.

This is no small report. It’s over 200 pages long and this obviously makes it very extensive. I haven’t been able to go through the entire thing myself yet but I can bring some of the key points that I got from what I’ve read so far.

  • Irish media should try negotiate with big tech. If this fails the government should step in using the EU’s copyright directive.
  • The licence fee should be replaced in 2024 with full Exchequer funding, and RTÉ/TG4 should receive strategic investment to help with their digital transformations.
  • RTE should continue its cost cutting measures.
  • The sound and vision fund should be expanded taking in all platforms, and should also include news.
  • The BAI or Media Commission should explore the use of the Irish language by public service broadcasters, with a specific focus on RnaG. They also recomend that RTÉ focus more on the Irish language across their channels and platforms.
  • TG4 should have independent editorial control of its news service.
  • RTE should try exploit its IP more in markets outside ireland
  • Defamation law should be reviewed as called for by press council
  • Ireland should have a counter disinformation strategy

That’s only scratching the surface. Unfortunately it seems that nobody has compiled a handy list of the 50 recommendations yet. The best I’ve seen is from The Irish Times, that’s linked below.

The response

The government have agreed in principle to 49 of the 50 recommendations, but they have not agreed to scrapping the licence fee. They have instead agreed to reform it to try and increase its effectiveness.

A number of media organisations such as RTÉ and the Irish Times welcomed the report, but not all comment was positive. Speaking in the Irish Examiner, Daniel McConnell said the report does nothing for most media, and it leaves many in the media unhappy that RTÉ’s dominance hadn’t been challenged.

It’s going to be an interesting few years in the media industry, and who knows what the future brings. We might have a slightly clearer picture now, but a lot is still unknown. All we can do is try our best to create quality content, and we’ll see where we land after that.

Read the full report here

Irish Times summary of the reports findings

RTE response to the report

The Irish Times response to the report

Daniel McConnell response in the Irish Examiner

Marty Whelan needs a sponsor for his breakfast show on Lyric FM. But the question is, how expensive is a lyric FM sponsorship? Let’s look at the numbers.

Marty is on air each weekday from 7am-10am. The show has 43,000 regular listeners, and the sponsorship includes 7 ten second stings across the day.

You also get a 10 second sting at the start of the show podcast, but it’s unclear if any Marty In the Morning chocolate bars are included.

An image of the RTÉ Marty Bar
From Marty on Twitter

So, how much does it cost?

  • 6 months will set you back €35,000
  • Or, you could go for the full year at a cost of €65,000, still no confirmation on if you get a Marty bar though

As much as we love Marty, his show isn’t the only thing up for sponsorship at the moment. Both traffic and weather are available too.

Traffic and travel updates are available in 3 month, 6 month and 12 month variations, costing €17,500, €30,000 and €50,000 respectively.

It’s the same story with the weather, with 3 months costing €22,000, 6 months available for just €39,000 and 12 months being available for the nice price of €69,000.

It’s interesting to see these costs as they are probably a fair reflection of prices on some of the bigger local stations in Dublin or Cork. But obviously, we can’t compare those costs to local stations as no local station could ever provide something as priceless as a Marty Bar!!!

Traffic and Weather sponsorship

Marty in the Morning sponsorship

Finally this week we’ve got more details on the moves being made by News Ireland, and how it impacts Wireless Group stations. In short, if you work at Wireless Group, get ready to share your office.

Staff at the Times were told this week to re-apply for their jobs, and it’s reported by the Irish Examiner that 15 journalism jobs might be lost. This is as a result of the closing of the daily Times newspaper in Ireland.

The Sunday Times and the Irish Sun will start sharing offices with Wireless group stations, and Harper Collins is moving in too. It’s hard to know what impact this will have, but it is Likely that The Sun will develop closer links to the radio stations for example.

Ultimately though, if the reports are true, 15 people are going to be out of a job. That’s tough to see, but we can only hope that everyone lands on their feet.

It’s a sour note to end on, but unfortunately that’s media. Hopefully we see less of these stories going forward now that we have the future of media report.

Read the story here

Quick Bits

Irish DJ Welshy is joining Spin for what they’re calling a Friday Night Residency

An opinion piece on how GAA on radio is helping the Irish abroad

Graham Norton has lost his top spot as the highest paid Irish presenter on BBC, that title now goes to Stephen Nolan

A new ad campaign for the Pride Vibes radio station has been launched by core

Applications have opened for Today FMs employee of the month

Derek Mooney spoke about his worry for his radio and tv career after Covid impacted his voice

And that’s the summary for this week. Come back to radio land next week for more radio news📻 and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for extra stories.

This Week In Radio 25/6/2022 (the brown sauce is free)

Lots happens in the radio industry each week so here’s a summary of the week we just enjoyed.

Here’s What Happened

Red FM logo but on a brown background

Corks Red FM ended up in the spotlight this week, and it was all over some brown sauce.

Before we begin I just want to clarify that our version of events is based on the story as told by the pub. At time of writing we don’t have other responses, but it’s always good to take these things with a pinch of salt….. i mean….. a squirt of brown sauce.

The story goes that a customer went into Gallaghers Pub in Cork, at which point a new member of staff made an error. They charged the customer €1.50 for some brown sauce, which is actually supposed to be free. ‬⁩The €1.50 is the price for the relishes.

As soon as the pub realised their mistake, they contacted the customer. They apparently offered him a free sandwich on his next visit as an apology. The customer then said that he had a pub himself, he understood that these things happen, and it seems the whole thing was sorted.

But it wasn’t over. The customer sent the receipt to Red FM who posted it on social media, without providing the context above. The pub understandably got ripped to shreds for charging for brown sauce and this resulted in the new member of staff who made the error becoming upset.

Who knew brown sauce could cause so much drama.

So here’s the question, should the radio station contact the pub to ask about the situation before posting, or should the image of a receipt be enough. Red FM got some criticism on social media as a result of this, so I’m interested to see what you think.

On the one hand reaching out is clearly a better option, but on the other it takes a lot of time and resources to check every little post. So, what you think?

Go vote now on our Instagram story.

Twitter thread from the pub is here

You can find our Instagram here

Wireless Group have launched a new radio station as a collaboration with a number of LGBTQ+ organisations. The station, known as Pride Vibes, is available on the apps of all the existing Wireless Group broadcasters, and on

The station is sponsored by Voltarol, and has BeLonG To on board as charity partner. The station has live presenters, good quality production elements, and basically everything you’d expect from a good quality internet station.

The stations launch comes just over a week after the falling out between RTÉ and Dublin Pride. It seems that pride organisations are taking much more of an active involvement in their media strategy now, but that’s just speculation really.

For now we have a new high quality internet station on air, what the future holds as far as LGBTQ+ media relations goes is anyones guess though.

Visit the station website here

Read last weeks Radio Land post where we covered the RTÉ Dublin Pride situation here

Finally this week, RTEs head of news and current affairs is stepping down from his role. Jon Williams will leave RTÉ at the end of July, when the current season of the Six One news ends on RTÉ Television.

This will probably result in some changes over the next while as Jon’s replacement makes his or her mark, but it’s really impossible to predict what the future holds for RTÉ News. My only hope is that Jon’s successor continues to produce content with high standards of journalism, and continues to push forward on the digital front.

“In 2017, we faced significant challenges and set out to future-proof RTÉ News & Current Affairs, identifying three editorial priorities: to become a genuinely ‘digital-first’ news organisation; to deliver more regional content; and to work more closely as ‘one News and Current Affairs’ division. Fast forward five years, and last week’s Reuters Digital News Report demonstrated that, today, not only is RTÉ the most trusted news source in Ireland, but RTÉ News is also the clear market leader online, while cementing its place as the number one choice on radio and TV.. We’ve gained new, younger audiences by creating and curating different types of content for social platforms. We’ve strengthened our weekend evening bulletins – frequently the most watched of any RTÉ programmes – with an increased presence outside Dublin. And whether it’s RTÉ Investigates, our recent deployment to Ukraine and the work on climate change, today the newsroom and current affairs are working more closely together than ever. RTÉ News & Current Affairs was Ireland’s lifeline during the pandemic, with our trusted team providing the antidote to the fake news of anti-vaxers. We brought innovation to our coverage of the 2020 General Election. Our reporting of Brexit continues to be indispensable to many, not just in Ireland but across Europe – and in Britain too. We were on the ground as Russian troops crossed into Ukraine, reporting on the humanitarian crisis there, and here. Ní hamháin i mBéarla ach i nGaeilge freisin, rud a léirionn an rói tablachtach a bhíonn ag foireann Baile na hAbhann gach lá, ag bailiú nuachta i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge. RTÉ News is the first Irish news organisation to be independently audited as part of the Journalism Trust Initiative and awarded the European standard for trusted journalism. And we’ve worked with the NUJ, and others to ensure that RTÉ’s journalists are safer as they go about their work – whether the threat is online or outside. We’re in the process of doubling RTÉ’s footprint overseas and we’ve begun to become a more diverse news organisation, on air and off. I’m proud that the Six One News was the first news programme in Ireland to be presented by two women – only broken-hearted that Keelin didn’t get longer to enjoy her success. Nine years after I left London for New York and then Ireland, it’s time to go home. I chose to stay in Dublin during the pandemic, alone and unable to see those I love for long periods of time. I don’t mind admitting that I found that hard – and like so many others, it forced me to reassess my priorities and to prize family. I’m grateful to so many people in the field, in the control room, in Dublin, across Ireland and beyond. The truth matters. Ireland is a better place for RTÉ. We stand on the shoulders of giants and to have had the opportunity to lead RTÉ News and Current Affairs has been the greatest privilege. I’m proud – and grateful beyond measure – for all that we have achieved together. I know RTÉ News and Current Affairs will continue to do great work. And know that I will be cheering you on from afar.”

Jon’s note to staff announcing his departure from RTÉ

Best wishes for the future Jon from us at Radio Land

Read the RTÉ press release here

Quick Bits

Dermot And Dave on Today FM has a new sponsorship deal with Indeed

The death was announced of former RTÉ journalist Liam Cahill, may he rest in peace

GoLoud has launched a new podcast, Around The World in 80 Gays. No that’s not a typo

Suzanne Kelly on Why Public Media Matters

The Law Society of Ireland has spoken about the need for timely, accurate journalism

RTEs Online services including all radio streams went offline for a time this week. Funny to think of poor will Leahy talking to himself on RTE Gold

QRadio Belfast has a new spin to win game

A body was found on the grounds of RTÉ this week

Graham and Nathan

I know we said last week we’d look more at the lad’s leaving Spin this week, but basically there’s nothing to report.

That’s it

And that’s the summary for this week. Come back to radio land next week for more radio news📻 and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for extra stories.

This Week In Radio 4/6/2022

Lots happens in the radio industry each week so here’s a summary of the week we just enjoyed.

Here’s what happened

Radiocentre ireland Logo

Radiocentre Ireland has published a breakdown of advertising revenue in the radio industry for 2021 and Q1 2022. The data has been sourced from all Irelands radio operators, so this is probably as detailed and accurate as it gets.

So what did we learn from this? Well let’s split this into two categories, the main stuff, and the unreported but still interesting stuff.

Main stuff

This stuff has been posted in the main press release, so you may have already seen these numbers on Radio Today or some other publication.

  • Total radio advertising revenue in 2021 was €145.1 million. This is more than previously thought which is a good sign for the industry
  • €117.3 million of that came from regular ad spots. Meanwhile, all the more fancy stuff such as sponsorships and other branded content partnerships brought in €24.2 million which is smaller but still a big chunk of the market.
  • €3.5 million came from digital stuff. Clearly a lot of growth potential here.
  • things grew in q1 2022, so hopefully this years full numbers will also be quite healthy. 21% higher spot revenue, 24% higher branded content stuff, and a great 48% digital boost.

So all in all not bad. That digital number is much lower than I’d like and even though it looks to be the fastest growing segment, it’s clear a lot could be done to grow that. Overall though, they’re not bad numbers.

The unreported but still interesting stuff

This is stuff that didn’t make the cut for the press release, but is still stuff I find interesting.

  • €39,663,782 came as a result of direct relationships with brands, but a massive €105,412,161 came from agencies. This really shows how reliant radio is on its bigger advertisers.
  • While all areas of advertising tend to grow in the run up to Christmas, spot advertising increases more than other categories. Between July and September 2021, agencies spent €20,804,763 on spot ads while direct relationships brought in €7,747,215 in spot revenue. This grew big time from October through to December though. €27,791,817 came from agencies while direct relationships brought in €10,135,306 worth of spot ads in that period. Really big jumps there.
  • January to March was the worst performing period in all categories with just one exception. Agencies spent more on digital ads in this period than they did between April and June. €587,227 in q1 Vs €570,059 in q2. This is the only point at which q1 spend is bigger than q2 spend, and this is only seen with agencies and not with direct relationships.

There’s loads of interesting stuff in the report so feel free to have a look at the link below. It would be great to get more detail such as sponsorships Vs OB’s or podcasts Vs stream pre rolls, but this is certainly a great step forward in transparency for the industry. Great job Radiocentre.

Do you have an interest in the business side of radio or are you only into the on air stuff? Let us know over on our insta story.

Read the report here

Now it’s time for the one off radio land quiz of the week. It’s the quiz of the week that happens for one week only.

I’ll give you the clue and all you have to do is give the answer, it’s simple. You’ll get the idea.

Ready?,,, okay…. This is a large building. There’s one in Mountjoy, there’s one in Castlerea, and there’s one in Clover Hill. What is it?

Think closely. Have you got your answer?

The answer is of course, an Aldi. Or at least that’s the response Galway Bay FM got when they asked that question as part of their breakfast show quiz this week.

That wasn’t the only wrong answer either. from pool tables having six balls to racehorses with stripes in Africa, this poor woman really just wasn’t having a great day.

Unfortunately for her, the moment has now gone viral on Twitter with over 69,000 views at time of writing. Maybe it might be worth another shot in a few months.

Listen to the moment here

Finally this week, RTÉ JR Radio have released a new podcast series called the neighbourhood. The series consists of 9 stories which are narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Ciarán Hinds.

It’s far from the first RTE childrens podcast, with podcasts on everything from art to zombies. They attract big names too, Ciarán Hinds starring in The Neighbourhood, and Ryan Tubridy showing up in Cereal.

So, is The Neighbourhood any good?

It’s not as good as Cereal, but that podcast was next level. It’s certainly well written and well edited, I think the sound effects budget could probably have been higher, as a lot sounded like your typical royalty free sounds. That said though, the music choices and general sound design was good.

It’s important to remember though that I’m a man in my 20s listening to kids podcasts with an adults mind, and kids will obviously respond differently to this than I will. I don’t think your 5 year old cares too much about royalty free sounds, and if they do your definitely raising them well in my opinion.

Great job RTÉ on the kids podcasts lately, it’s great to see our public broadcaster embracing new forms of kids entertainment in this way.

Listen to the Neighbourhood here

Listen to Cereal here

Quick Bits

The BAIs new commercial broadcast licensing plan has been published, nothing major to report

2FMs nightly sports show Game on is now available for sponsorship, 6months costs €30,000 while 12 months is €50,000

Iradio are holding their first ILoveIrish gig this weekend

Tommy Marren of Midwest radio has written a new comedy

The BAI will be launching the Reuters digital news report on the 15th of June, this usually has some interesting info in it

Ronan Collins will be back this month after he took some leave

There are Marty Whelan chocolate bars in the wild. They were apparently given to guests at an RTÉ sponsorship breakfast this week

And that’s the summary for this week. Come back to radio land next week for more radio news📻 and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for extra stories.

This Week In Radio 28/5/2022

Lots happens in the radio industry each week so here’s a summary of the week we just enjoyed.

Here’s What Happened

96FM logo

The 96FM Giving For Living Radiothon is back for 2022. The event, which raises money for cork Cancer services, returned on Thursday and will run until this evening.

The 2022 event is raising money for

  • The Mercy Hospital foundation
  • Marymount
  • The CUH
  • Cork Arc Cancer support house
  • Breakthrough cancer research

The event always raises loads of money for some great causes, and also creates some fantastic radio along the way.

Best wishes to everyone involved, hopefully this year will be another massive success.

Click here to learn more or donate

Claire Byrne has stepped down from her TV show in order to focus on her radio gig. Claire has hosted Today with Claire Byrne on Radio 1, replacing Sean o’ Rourke in the slot from 2020.

She’s been hosting Claire Byrne Live on RTÉ One Television since 2015, but now that show is ending to allow Claire to focus on her Radio 1 job. RTE are developing ideas for a new show, so it will be interesting to see what replaces it.

This news didn’t really come as a surprise for those of us who follow the industry. Claire has been very honest in the past, explaining how she felt she wasn’t spending enough time with her family. she spoke about how she knew she was in a very privileged position, but also that she found her two jobs exhausting.

Hopefully Claire is able to manage things a bit better now and hopefully we get a great new show replacing Claire Byrne Live on TV.

Read Claire speaking about work life balance here

Read the RTÉ press release here

Finally this week, I wanted to share an article from the Irish Times. Usually something like this might end up in quick bits, but there’s simply too much information here for that.

We’ve talked many times about the debate surrounding Irish music on Irish radio. But many still comment on the issue. We got an Irish Times article on the subject this week and we learned a lot from it.

  • We got an insight into IMRO royalty payments
  • We heard about the breakdown of airplay for signed artists versus independent artists
  • And we got interesting perspectives from those in both the music and radio industry.

I’d highly recommend having a read of the article linked below. Somehow I think this is a debate that will be continuing for years to come.

Read the article here

Quick Bits

Radio Land transparency update

Pj Coogan from 96FM talks about the culture that made him

The climate change sound and vision round that we reported on recently has now opened

An Irish radio presenter Nuala McGovern has joined the BBC World Service

Irelands Eurovision entry Brooke Scullion has spoken more about how radio needs to support Irelands Eurovision efforts

RTE Lyric FM will have its own stage at this years bloom garden festival

Speaking of Lyric, weather as well as traffic updates are now up for sponsorship

And that’s the summary for this week. Come back to radio land next week for more radio news📻 and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for extra stories.