The defection of Pat Kenny to Newstalk was a broadside, to say the least. The full impact of the move will only be felt perhaps in six months when the JNLR begins to pick up the possible defectors.

I will leave the would-be programme directors to speculate as to who will fill the void in the morning and how the new format will look. But, let’s ponder the numerics of the move on a few different levels.  

Firstly the current state of play shows that Pat outstrips its rivals in the morning slot. I’ve added the times of each show so that you can see that they are not all equal in either start time or duration. As they have different durations, their reach may be distorted so to that end the average audience is shown each case.  It’s the programmes average listeners per quarter hour in each programme – it levels the pitch a bit. 

Station Slot Reach '000
RTE 10.00-12.00 328
Today 09.00-12.00 235
2FM 09.00-11.00 159
Newstalk  10.00-12.00 55
Lyric 10.00-14.00 38

If RTE1 are currently on 24% reach and Pat’s 328,000 listeners contribute to that, his absence is bound to drag down that overall reach. Could that fall to 22% or 21%? Conversely Newstalk have to move to 10% or 11% one would think.

Station 13_1 13_1
Any Radio 84% 3023
Any Region/Local/M-City 58% 2092
Any National 45% 1631
Home Local Station 44% 1564
Any RTE Radio 34% 1221
Any RTE1/2FM/Lyric 34% 1204
RTE Radio 1 24% 863
Today FM 13% 468
RTE 2FM 11% 379
Newstalk 8% 287
Other Regional/Local Station 7% 266
RTE Lyric FM 3% 116

But that depends on the defectors and their listening behaviour. If some of the current cohort switch at 10:00 am to Newstalk then there will also be a knock-on for subsequent programmes on RTE1. Collins may not get the same slingshot he gets currently receives and, one could argue, neither would News at one.

On a purely hypothetically and slightly frivolous note let’s fill in some numbers for the post Pat apocalypse. The rules are: there is a 40% defection from Pats current listeners. This in turn manifests itself in a 20% reduction in Ronan Collins and a 10% fall in News at One. Joe still drags in his current listeners. The numbers are not beyond the realms of possibility if Newstalk and Pat market the show well and the shows following Pat are tarted up too.

Plan B4 1

It’s an interesting scenario to be played out over the next few months