Thursday, May 30, 2024

Stephen Nolan hits back at Cool FM ‘biggest show’ claim

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He rejected suggestions The Nolan Show had lost the title to Cool FM – insisting he had twice the number of listeners when head to head against the commercial station’s flagship morning show.

Nolan suggested that a large chunk of Cool FM’s big numbers are being racked up “when he’s asleep” – before his show starts at 9am.

Pete Snodden, Rebecca McKinney and Paulo Ross front Cool FM’s breakfast programme from 6am to 10am each morning.

Nolan airs from 9am to 10.30am daily.

Earlier this month, Stuart Robinson, from Cool FM owner Bauer Media NI, said it was now the top choice for morning listeners.

Bauer Media’s Stuart Robinson

He said: “(While) Radio Ulster always dominated the ratings, there has been a change in fortunes in the past 12 months.

“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.”

This, though, has been rejected by Nolan.

He addressed the matter when asked about it by a listener on Tuesday’s show.

He said: “This programme (The Nolan Show), when it starts at 9am in the morning, it has more than double the audience of Cool FM at this time of day.

“So what they’re doing is they are counting the amount of people listening to Cool FM between 6 and 7, 7 and 8 and 8 and 9, when I’m asleep.

“So yes, they have more listeners than me when I’m asleep.

“But from 9 to 10.30am we have more than double Cool FM’s audience.”

Speaking to the Sunday Life earlier this month, Mr Robinson had said: “In the set of data that came out last week, when you look at the breakdown of the shows, not only is Cool FM now the most-listened-to station in Northern Ireland, but Cool FM now has the top three radio shows per listenership.

“Pete’s on from 6am to 10am and Nolan’s on from 9am to 10.30am, but for the first time ever, even in that individual slot – Nolan’s slot – Cool FM is outperforming BBC Radio Ulster for total number of listeners.

“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.

The Cool FM team

“That said, whenever the BBC came up with that slogan years ago, they were miles ahead in the ratings and Cool FM had half the audience it has today, so perhaps there was some complacency within the BBC that no other station would ever catch up.”

“We’re competitors at the end of the day. Cool FM is into its 35th year of broadcasting, and if you work in radio or TV, you always work to be the best and number one.

“For my guys, they actually have achieved something.

“We know the sort of budgets that the BBC has. Radio Ulster had a £20m content budget last year.

“For us to be outperforming that with nowhere near — not a fraction — of what (they) have, then we are punching above our weight.”

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