STEPHEN Nolan’s claim to having “the biggest show in the country” has been challenged by commercial radio station Cool FM, who say the latest audience figures tell a different story.
Mr Nolan’s hold on the top spot is routinely mentioned at the top of his morning programme on BBC Radio Ulster, including on Monday.
However, Stuart Robinson from Bauer Media NI (owners of Cool FM, Downtown Radio and Downtown Country) said it was no longer true.
“(While) Radio Ulster always dominated the ratings, there has been a change in fortunes in the past 12 months,” he told Sunday Life.
“Radio Ulster was always the biggest radio station in Northern Ireland, and as a consequence of that, Stephen Nolan obviously managed to build a nice strapline out of that for himself.
“However, about a year ago, Cool FM went ahead for the first time, and since then, every consecutive quarter when the new figures are coming out, we’ve continued to stay ahead of BBC Radio Ulster as the overall station for total listenership.”
He said the latest data from Rajar released in recent weeks showed that Cool FM was the most-listened to station in Northern Ireland as well as having the top three radio shows per listenership – Pete Snodden, Rebecca McKinney and Paulo Press.
“Pete’s on from 6am to 10am and Nolan’s on from 9am to 10.30am, but for the first time ever, even in those individual slots, Cool FM is outperforming BBC Radio Ulster for total number of listeners,” Mr Robinson said.
“I heard my old pal Nolan banging on about still being the biggest show in the country.
“Stephen is a friend – we started out together in the 90s – and what he’s achieved has been incredible.
“But kidding aside, I would say it’s unwise in radio to create a slogan that is open to challenge by a rival, particularly if the inference is you are claiming a market position.”
As a result of going to Number 1, ahead of BBC Radio Ulster, Cool FM now leads with more listeners every week than any other radio station in Northern Ireland in all these key daytime timeslots 👇👇