National Stations

2FM (non) shuffle

2FM’s much-hyped reshuffle starts on Monday and – hey – they’ve got a new logo! That’s about it really.

2FM's much-hyped reshuffle starts on Monday and - hey - they've got a new logo! That's about it really.

The ‘new’ schedule looks like this: 6am Ruth Scott….7am Damien McCaul….9am Gerry Ryan (big change!)…12 Larry Gogan, whose shirts are annoying even on radio! Hasn’t Larry been in this time-slot broadcasting to the dinosaurs? Yep, it’s major reshuffle time at 2FM…2pm new time (sic) for Gareth O’Callaghan…hope he settles in!…5pm Tony Fenton (“On the Radio” it says here – thanks for clearing that up guys)…7pm Dusty Rhodes….9pm Dave Fanning…11pm Uaneen Fitzsimons…2am World Web Radio……it’s going to take us an age to get used to these changes!

2FM site relaunch

2FM’S relaunch was allegedly pre-empted by a hacked attack on their site which has now also been relaunched. A new fresh sound (it says here) but has anybody else noticed the similarity between 2FM’s new jingle package and that of BBC Radio 1’s?

Today at the Flood Tribunal

Oliver Barry, Century Radio co-founder, today said that he could not recollect telling his business partner, James Stafford, that there was a ‘price list’ in operation for the award of radio licences. Stafford told the Tribunal last year that Barry had said that Minister for Communications Ray Burke and government press secretary P.J. Mara were operating on a licences for cash basis and there was a price list in operation referring to everything from national television licences to local radio licences. Stafford had said that he learned this several months before the company applied for a national radio licence.

New appointment at 252

Following the recent poor showing in the RAJAR figures, Meath-based long wave station Atlantic 252 have appointed a new Programme Controller in the shape of 27 year old Sarah Henderson.
Atlantic 252 broadcast across the UK and Ireland on 252kHz. 

Atlantic 252 for sale

Atlantic 252, which is owned by RTL (80%) and RTÉ, is to be put up for sale again, according to a report in today’s Mail On Sunday. The value could be up to £20m.

Report: Mike Terry 

Business as usual at 252

The press speculation at the weekend concerning a sale by RTL of their 80% controlling interest in Atlantic 252 has led to station manager John O’Hara issuing a statement yesterday in which he said that it was business as usual for the staff and himself.
“[We] are committed to restoring Atlantic 252 to its former glory and that process has already begun,” he says. “The resurgence of interest in long wave from the UK, the Dutch and the Scandinavians can only be good for us and we look forward to a long and successful future.”
RTÉ, the state broadcaster which owns a 20% stake, remains committed to the station.

Report: Mike Terry 

2FM changes

2FM have filled the slot left vacant by the tragic death of Uaneen Fitzsimons last year, Mark Johnson reports. Mark McCabe will be on air from 11am until midnight followed by Ruth Scott until 2am.

Newspaper: Dancing days are over for Atlantic 252

Irish Times
Dancing days are over for Atlantic 252

Irish Times – January 10th 2002

Irish Times
Dancing days are over for Atlantic 252
Mr Tom Hand, technical manager with Teamtalk 252 and technical staff at the station in Co Meath.

Photograph : Matt Kavanagh

Dance radio station Atlantic 252, which broadcast from Summerhill, Co Meath for 15 years, is no more, but some are less than happy with the sale of the station to a UK-based sports station.

The station finished broadcasting at the end of 2001 after an 80 per cent stake in its parent company, Radio Tara Ltd, was acquired by sports station TEAMtalk.

The matter has been generating controversy since December when an appeal went out to the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Ms de Valera, to prevent RTÉ selling its share in Radio Tara, the company which owned Atlantic 252.

RTÉ has not in fact sold its shareholding and retains the remaining 20 per cent stake in Radio Tara, director of public affairs Ms Bride Rosney said.

RTL Group, which sold the majority stake to TEAMtalk for €2.54 million (£2 million), offered RTÉ first refusal on its share of the radio channel, but the resources were not there to buy it or to continue running it. The Government was not approached for assistance in acquiring the RTL stake in the radio channel, she said.

Asked whether RTÉ had any opinion on the sale of the longwave station to a UK interest, Ms Rosney said “there would be views”. “But when it’s a partner company that decides to make a sale, that’s the reality.” Atlantic 252 was originally a joint initiative between RTÉ and the then Radio Luxembourg.

Mr Enda O’Kane, a former RTÉ employee, campaigned against the sale, claiming Ireland’s only longwave transmitter was being “misused” by broadcasting wall-to-wall pop music. He proposed that it instead be used for a national emergency channel or for all-Ireland programming, in accordance with the aspirations of the Belfast Agreement.

Former Taoiseach and Meath TD Mr John Bruton also came out in support of the retention of the longwave frequency for public use, claiming the sale was “anti-national” and “a denial of the founding ethos of RTÉ”.

And in a letter to The Irish Times last weekend, broadcaster and academic Dr Colum Kenny also questioned the sale of the station to the UK sports service.

The service had been licensed by successive ministers under legislation governing the establishment of RTÉ, but had been disposed of in a manner that had “allowed foreign, commercial owners to do as they wish with it,” he wrote.

But although there has also reportedly been some bad feeling among the dozen or so local people who lost their jobs at the dance station, its new owner, TEAMtalk Media Group, a multinational firm, says all the staff of Atlantic 252 were well looked after and received redundancy payments “over and above” the norm.

Rebranded TEAMtalk252, the frequency that once broadcast non-stop dance will now broadcast sport 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The station will be aimed mainly at a UK audience of 20 to 30-year-old male sports fans and will give wider coverage to minority sports than is possible on any other channel, TEAMtalk director of communications, Ms Sheona Southern, said.

But the potential of the Irish sports market still remains to be tapped, she said, and TEAMtalk hasn’t ruled out the possibility of eventually reopening the studio at the Trim site. The company may also explore the idea of eventually putting in place an advertising team here in order to tap into potential revenue from Irish firms, according to Ms Southern.

The reality of competition from other dance stations had meant falling revenue and listenership figures for Atlantic 252, she said.

On the job losses, Ms Southern says a number of presenters had already left because the station was up for sale for so long. All of those got new jobs in the music business, she said. But because TEAMtalk was a specialised sports station, it had to employ people with a sports speciality.

All five engineering staff remain on the site in Trim and they are currently testing the transmitter in preparation for the launch of the new sports station.

Manager Mr Tom Hand was instrumental in setting up the transmitter when Atlantic 252 began as a joint venture between RTÉ and the then Radio Luxembourg in 1989.

His own background was in RTÉ and he became project supervisor responsible for the design and building of the station.

“It was a challenge,” he admitted. “This particular project was offered to a number of people in RTÉ and I think they were afraid of it! I stayed with it for about two years after it was built and then reverted to my old job in RTÉ.” In 1993, he was approached by Atlantic 252 to leave RTÉ and set up an in-house engineering and maintenance department for the transmitter.

TEAMtalk, which describes itself as “one of the leading providers of original sports content for delivery worldwide via the Internet, TV, radio, mobile, premium fixed line and satellite networks”, intended to invest in the station, Ms Southern said.

But the disappearance of Atlantic 252, staple diet of many a hair salon, has been noticed by a faithful following in Britain and Ireland.

“As you can imagine, we have had a lot of people ringing in and asking ‘what’s happened to our station?'”

© The Irish Times

We couldn’t afford Dunphy say Newstalk

Daire O’Brien, programming manager for NewsTalk 106, has denied rumours that Eamon Dunphy will be joining the station, which is due to launch next month. “We’re a local station with local funding,” Daire told tonight’s Evening Herald. “If Eamon came up with an innovative way of paying his salary and leaving us with a profit, we’d be delighted to talk.”

Ryan for Today?

2FM presenter Gerry Ryan is considering a move to the station’s main rivals Today FM. That’s according to today’s Star newspaper. RTÉ radio boss Helen Shaw has described the likelihood of Ryan leaving as ‘highly improbable’.

Newstalk launched

NewsTalk 106FM launched on 106.0MHz this morning at 7am. The station were plagued by technical problems and presenter mistakes all day, but should prove to be a welcome addition to Dublin’s airwaves.

Newstalk 106 sets record

Newstalk 106, Dublin’s brand new news and Current Affairs station, has set a new record, according to the station’s CEO Paul Kavanagh.
Speaking to Radiowaves News this evening, Paul said: “On the station’s first day we broke a story that a government minister had called a judge on a rape case. The minister, Bobby Malloy, resigned as a result of the story.”
The station claim that this makes NewsTalk the first station to break a major story on their first day of broadcast, anywhere in the world.
Paul says that the station has had rave reviews since coming on air on Tuesday. “NewsTalk have put RTÉ Radio One, who led the market when we launched, under great pressure,” he concluded.

Today’s Newspapers: February 9th 2003

Sunday Independent – Pirate radio stations endangered aircraft

Sunday Independent - Pirate radio stations endangered aircraft

Sunday Independent – Broadcast news

It’s rumoured to be a top-class station but is anyone listening? We’re told NewsTalk 106 is the voice of the new young Ireland, bouncier and fresher than Radio One, with more content than the music stations. But can you find it on the dial and what are its frontmen – David, Daire and Damien – like? Declan McCormack finds out

Sunday Independent - Broadcast news

I suspect the majority of people like radio to be a mass experience. If you want a solitary experience, you can read a book.

Or listen to NewsTalk 106. 106 has a minuscule audience. Something like 2 per cent share of Dublin listeners. Good shows, small audience. But now the staion has launched a campaign to get people to break the habit of a lifetime, to touch that dial and steer it away from RTE through the garrulous nonsense of early morning 2FM, the forced jollity of 98 and 104 FM to talk shows and rolling news on 106FM. But when I perform the delicate operation through a crowded spectrum of foreign, Dublin, Wicklow, Louth, and pirate stations, I find myself listening to new country on Dublin’s Country on 106.8. Oops, too far.

Wednesday, 6.40am. As I dress, I hear promos on Newstalk 106 for the boy wonder. David McWilliams. The young Michael Fox lookalike, the whiz economist who coined the ‘Celtic Tiger’ thingy, McWilliams is featuring on most bus shelters in the capital under the caption, “It’s a wake-up call for Dublin.” As the bus scoots into town, McWilliams is querying a woman from Dublin Bus. His style is teasing, good-humoured. The item follows a very chummy interview with Michael O’Leary about Aer Rianta monopolies. Is 106 into monopoly-bashing?

On Mount Street, I ask a young lady where Warrington House is. Never heard of it. It’s where Newstalk 106 is. Never heard of it, she says. It doesn’t augur well. Warrington House is a fine red-brick building. Pleasant open-plan rooms. Friendly receptionists. Cup of tea instantly offered. Only 10 minutes more of the McWilliams show, so I bring the mug into the control room where I meet the producer, Nina Hepojoki, Joe Walsh, the editor, and Jane, the researcher. In studio, David is ganseyless, tieless and guestless. A few papers, the Financial Times among them, lie scattered on his table. The news is being read. More accidents arising from joyriding. And the impending traffic chaos. Foreign news too.

Daire O’Brien, presenter of The Flip Side, is not to be seen. An unfamiliar face in studio with David discusses the items that will be on The Flip Side. More of the frightfully young and telegenic staff of 60-plus appear, all in good humour. The new marketing campaign may account for it.

David McWilliams enters the busy kitchenette carrying mug and papers. One of the staff teases him about wearing a NewsTalk tieon his Agenda programme on TV3. I’m invited to join the team in the Coffee Club for breakfast. Sounds good. They’ll be planning tomorrow’s programme. He’s also having an Agenda meeting in the Coffee Club and I can sit in on that too. Then I get to interview him before he goes home to crash out for a few hours, spend some time with his children and then write his ‘op-ed’ article for The Sunday Business Post. Tri-media man.

I compliment him on the quality of the guests on the show. “Yes, we get quality contributors.” He rattles off the names of ministers who have been on, and mentions former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak too. He is well connected in Israel, where he worked for a Swiss bank, and found himself defending the bank after revelations about Jewish gold salted away in Swiss banks by the Nazis.

10.10am, The Coffee Club, Haddington Road. Joe Walsh is smoking “He is our living mausoleum,” says David. Nina, the 28-year-old Finnish beauty and producer, seems very well clued-into Irish life. David seems to have his own network of high-powered academic, political and economic acquaintances scattered around the world. He is on the phone to a Norwegian academic for a planned debate on Ireland’s neutrality. But he gets through to the academic’s son, who is walking on a beach in Tel Aviv. Eventually, he traces the academic to Italy. This show gets around for a local station. Small station, big phone bills.

Another possible guest is the Danish academic who has published a book, The Sceptical Environmentalist, which questions many Green orthodoxies. David likes people who challenge orthodoxies. He “hates spoofers”. The programme’s agenda is very cosmopolitan. David is unapologetic. Young Dubliners travel a lot and live in a global age.

But Dublin isn’t being neglected. Dun Laoghaire bin charges is a hot topic on NewsTalk today. Property is another hot issue. Nina suggests something on buying property abroad or else a newsy item on commercial property. It is particularly important to the ABC1 (marketese for middle-class) listeners that NewsTalk are targeting.

David is enthusiastic about the property item. He was brought up in Dalkey, lives in Killiney. Sexy property.

The cafe is buzzing, full of the ABC1s which the station is targeting. I am struck by how young the team is: all bar Joe and David in their twenties. David is 36 “I’m the ancient one.” The target age for the station is 25-44. The target audience for the breakfast show is “professional, aspiring people on the move”. No wonder I haven’t been listening.

10.30am. Daire O’Brien, Flip Side host, breezes into the cafe, Marlboro fag in mouth. Missed his show. “Traffic.” It is ironic that on a day when the station is going big on traffic hell, one of its key presenters is late. American journalist Richard Delevan has stepped into the breach. Daire suggests we amble down to the Waterloo Bar on Baggot Street. Not my usual mid-morning style, but hell, this is the Flip Side man. Or as the ad campaign has it, “A new man in the morning”.

Daire, who once edited a men’s magazine called Himself, is certainly New Mannish in the way children play a large part in his life. As we order coffee, he tells me about his four children. He also speaks fondly about a child of his former partner, with whom he had two other children. He is now married to Cliona, with whom he has two children. Pretty productive for a thirtysomething guy who “boozed and leched” at Trinity. It is a busy private life. No wonder he was late.

His spiel is wide-ranging and witty. He dismisses country bumpkin local radio stations as “cats up trees, news and funeral notices”. This despite the fact that some of the very successful local stations are investors in 106.

He waxes eloquent about the new station and its appeal to freethinking Generation Text who are fed up with stodgy RTE’s “senior citizens’ station” (Radio One, for which he once worked) and who want a radio show that reflects their lifestyle and questioning sensibility “not drunken taxi drivers ringing in at midnight”.

Texting is the new Liveline. “Texting is emblematic of the generation.” The power of the text message was first demonstrated on Dunphy’s Last Word on Today FM. Some claim that 106 is modelled on The Last Word. Hamlet without the lip-puckering Prince. Indeed his producer, Amanda Brown, worked for two years on The Last Word.

12.10pm. We mooch back up Baggot Street. He is knackered; one of the children was sick last night, he hasn’t had a break since the station went on air in April last year.

12.15pm, The Coffee Club. The Agenda meeting still in progress. Eventually David plops down beside me, tells me he’s knackered and orders a taxi. I cut to the chase. How did he get into radio and TV? “I was asked.”

Being one of The Great Unasked I’d like to pursue this, but don’t. He has a wife, a northerner called Sian, who is a lawyer, and two children. He is an economist by training. Daire O’Brien and Damien Kiberd studied economics too. The business of modern Ireland is business. “One-and-a-half million Irish people work in the private sector; business is everything to them.” David played rugby. As did Daire. And presumably Hookey did too. Rugby is very aspirational and now professional. So very 106.

Was he too cosy with Michael O’Leary, and is he ideologically anti-public-service? He bristles. “I’m a pragmatist. Someone said, you fix it and then you can argue about ideologies in the pub.” He is not anti-public-enterprise. France has the best rail transport system in Europe.

The taxi arrives. A final question. Is the station pro-Shannon protests? More barely concealed annoyance. “Anti-Americanism is the new socialism.” He has little time for those who pontificate who haven’t seen the world. Spoofers. “You learn that Ireland is not unique.” He really must go.

1.30pm, NewsTalk offices. Damien Kiberd looks very at home in his studio. Making all the right hand signals to his young producer Anna Murphy. Anna and researcher Patricia Monahan (from Cavan) have loads of text messages lined up. For a station with such a small audience they get a lot of texts. The show moves along pacily. Kiberd has a hoot about an RTE newsroom gaffe over the age of a joyrider. Described in early news bulletins as a 12-year-old who cried for his mammy, he is magically grown to a 27-year-old.

3pm. Kiberd was the founding father of The Sunday Business Post, which he sold last year very lucratively and knows a thing or two about the problems of start-up media companies.

He had no experience at radio presenting, but lots at being a radio guest being a regular on Today FM, where he once had a famous blow-up with Pat Rabbitte. He has proved a very quick learner, according to his producer, and has had Rabbitte on as guest.

He loves radio and isn’t a bit disheartened that his two young children (10 and 13) don’t listen. His wife Teri, a former journalist, does, and is a good sounding-board. He believes in “pacey, spikey and provocative” radio which combines info with entertainment. “I’m a populist. My style is ‘broadloid’ [broadsheet/tabloid]”. He is 47. His own radio heroes are Pat Kenny (“on radio”) and Ciaran Mac Mathuna. “Oh, and Maxi she’s positive and upbeat.” That’s what he wants his show to be, and the station as well. He’s upbeat about its potential. “You get a critical mass and then you turn the corner.” And then you sell out. He laughs. He isn’t a shareholder in 106.

The old adage that broadcasting is a licence to print money needs to be amended to ” . . . provided you can stay the long haul”. Pete Lunn (out of Oxford via the BBC), the 32-year-old station editor, is sure the investors are in for the long haul. He is confident they have created a “quality product” but need to let people know. He says that research shows that the “conversion rate” to 106 is high.

As I leave, I hear for the hundredth time the station’s chief sting-cum-slogan: “You can watch it tonight, you can read it tomorrow, but you can hear it now on NewsTalk 106.”

Postscript. Next morning’s David McWilliams show had a discussion on neutrality featuring Eamon Dunphy, Tom McGurk and Norwegian Professor Galto, who lectured Ireland on selling our soul for a mess of oil. The sexy property item was about buying abroad. Damien Kiberd has recently replaced Vincent Browne on the Midnight Court TV show on RTE1, so he won’t be laughing as much at RTE’s newsroom blunders.

January 20. I meet a tired-looking Aidan Dunne, the station’s second CEO. He reluctantly confesses to being 50, and thus over the target age. “We don’t exclude anyone.” They wouldn’t want to, with an audience share of two per cent. He is confident that by August next year they’ll be up to eight per cent.

I have certainly listened in quite a lot since. It is a good, polished, bouncy station: perky, lively and informative. It sounds as if the presenters believe someone is listening to it.

Best of all, David McWilliams gives Michael O’Leary a good grilling over Ryanair’s retention of passenger service charges for no-show customers. And when the Columbia shuttle tragedy occurred, NewsTalk went into rolling news mode.

But just before I wrote this I went for a last sweep across the dial and at 106 I heard a lovely tune and I said, wow they play some good music too! It was The Judds’ Love Can Build a Bridge, but actually the station that played it turned out to be 106.8 Dublin’s Country. It is crowded on the dials. You can check that tonight, you can check it again tomorrow, but you read it here first.

Tone quits 2FM

One of the top radio personalities in the country has shocked 2FM by handing in his notice. Tony Fenton, whose Drivetime show is the second highest rated in Ireland, will present his last show on the station on March 6th.
Tony has been with RTÉ’s national pop station for 18 years and is leaving with the blessing of station head John Clarke, with whom he also shares a pirate radio past.
In an interview with the Sunday World, Tony confirms that he’s had a couple of radio offers, one from inside Ireland, the other from outside the country.
“I need a fresh challenge. The two offers have really excited me,” he said. “I feel now is the time to leave 2FM while I’m still on top.”
Another 2FM presenter, Dusty Rhodes , had already announced that he was quitting his ‘Most Wanted’ programme in the summer to concentrate on other business interests.


Sunday World – February 23rd 2003

 One of the top radio personalities in the country has shocked 2FM by handing in his notice. Tony Fenton, whose Drivetime show is the second highest rated in Ireland, will present his last show on the station on March 6th.
Tony has been with RTÉ's national pop station for 18 years and is leaving with the blessing of station head John Clarke, with whom he also shares a pirate radio past.
In an interview with the Sunday World, Tony confirms that he's had a couple of radio offers, one from inside Ireland, the other from outside the country.
"I need a fresh challenge. The two offers have really excited me," he said. "I feel now is the time to leave 2FM while I'm still on top."
Another 2FM presenter, Dusty Rhodes , had already announced that he was quitting his 'Most Wanted' programme in the summer to concentrate on other business interests.

Radio life’s a bitch, and then you get told off!

Red FM have had their knuckles rapped twice: first after their talk-show presenter Vic Barry called the girlfriend of a listener a ‘bitch’ because she didn’t change her underwear. The show was broadcast last July, and led one listener to make a complaint to the BCC, who ruled that the item was ‘in bad taste’ and ‘offensive’. A similar ruling was concluded about another item on the station’s Red Rooster Breakfast Show in which three presenters discussed penis lengths at…err…length.
Another complaint which was upheld concerned a misleading motor insurance ad on RTÉ Radio 1.
A ruling is due to be made next month concerning Spin 1038’s use of the term ‘Stab City’ to describe Limerick in one of its news bulletins. The description of Limerick has been condemned by the city’s mayor who called the item ‘outrageous and totally unacceptable…deeply offensive’.

Tone for Today

Tony Fenton will be back on the national airwaves for a limited period from this weekend. He is scheduled to appear throughout the month of April on independent national station Today FM. Tony will be on air on Saturdays between 11am and 2pm, and on Sundays for the Top 40 Show between 3pm and 7pm. He is filling in on a temporary basis while Tim Kelly takes over the late-night 10pm-midnight slot until Ray Foley makes his debut on April 25th. Tim will return to his usual Saturday and Sunday shows on the first weekend in May.
Fenton made his last appearance on RTÉ 2FM in March last year following a long career with the station. At the time it was suggested that his departure was not amicable.

2FM announce AM closure

Medium wave transmission of RTÉ 2FM is set to close on Monday. This is according to engineering announcements which are interrupting the station’s medium wave service every hour advising of the impending closure. The announcements are being aired on both of the two remaining 2FM medium wave transmitters – 612kHz from the historic Athlone transmitter site, and the low-powered Cork transmitter on 1278kHz. The transmitter serving Dublin on 1278kHz was closed last December.

Report: 021

RTÉ sign football deal

RTÉ have announced details of an agreement with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) which covers television and radio rights for international football on the public service broadcaster up to 2010. Under the terms of the deal, RTÉ has secured the rights to broadcast all of the Republic of Ireland’s competitive home international matches up to the 2010 World Cup on both television and radio. This includes all home qualifiers for the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland, and all home qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The deal also allows for live coverage of all home friendly matches on radio, and on a deferred basis on TV, from 1st August 2006 to 30th June 2010.
Speaking about the deal, RTÉ Radio Sport Editor Paddy Glackin said: “RTÉ Radio is looking forward to continuing and developing our long-standing relationship with the FAI, and to bringing a comprehensive national coverage of international soccer to our listeners.”

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta nominated in Celtic Awards

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta has been nominated for two awards at this year’s Celtic Film and Television Festival which takes place in Cardiff from 6th-9th April. Radio and television programme makers, as well as film makers from Celtic countries, will gather in the Welsh capital for the announcement of this year’s awards.
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta has been nominated in the Documentary Programmes Category for the programme Chun Suain i Ros na gCaorach, which was produced and presented by Mairéad Uí Chuaig. The national Irish language station has also received a nomination in a new category – ‘Radio Station of the Year’. Radio Awards will be presented on Thursday 7th April.
A special edition of the programme ‘Barrscéalta’ will be broadcast live from the festival at 11.02am on both 7th and 8th April.

Today’s Newspapers: February 8th 2007

Irish Independent – Bell tolls for 2FM breakfast show name

RTE has been forced to drop the words ‘Alarm Clock’ from its new 2FM breakfast programme after controversially poaching hit show the ‘Strawberry Alarm Clock’ from FM104. It is understood that FM104 sent legal correspondence to RTE informing the broadcaster that the Strawberry Alarm Clock is trademarked.

FM104 also expressed concern that several elements of the Strawberry Alarm Clock were being used in the new 2FM show and that intellectual property was being copied.

RTE confirmed the new show was no longer being called the ‘2FM Alarm Clock’. It will now be named the Colm and Jim Jim Breakfast Show with 2FM.

FM104 chief executive Tim Fenn said last night: “The Strawberry Alarm Clock continues to broadcast on FM104 and intends to do so in the future. We’ve changed presenters in the past, and it will continue to be exactly the same exciting unpredictable, successful show it has always been.”

Samantha McCaughren

The Sun – Whelan: I was hurt by RTÉ axe

The Irish Times – R na G criticised for ending news show

R na G criticised for ending news show
Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent

Fine Gael and Labour TDs in Galway have expressed concern over Raidió na Gaeltachta’s decision to drop a key current affairs programme from its schedule four months before the general election.

Fine Gael TD for Galway West Pádraic McCormack has questioned whether there was a “political” reason for the decision to drop Cúrsaí an Lae, as he was aware that a complaint about the programme had been sent to the radio station last year by Fianna Fáil MEP Seán Ó Neachtain.

The final programme in the series was broadcast last Friday.

Mr Ó Neachtain wrote to Raidió na Gaeltachta’s ceannaire, Edel Ní Chuireáin, on October 31st last on European Parliament notepaper in relation to the programme’s coverage of a controversy over a proposed childcare facility at Coláiste Chonnacht in Spiddal, Co Galway.

Mr Ó Neachtain is a trustee of the campus of Coláiste Chonnacht, which hosts Irish-language summer colleges.

Mr McCormack and fellow Galway West TD Michael D. Higgins (Lab) have criticised Mr Ó Neachtain’s use of headed notepaper for a complaint about a personal matter. Mr Higgins said that Mr Ó Neachtain could have made his complaint through the normal channels via the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

Mr McCormack said it was “very regrettable” that a programme with the second-highest listenership on Raidió na Gaeltachta should be taken off the air in the run-up to the election.

Seán Ó Coistealbha, chairman of Comhairle Pobail an Spidéil (Spiddal Community Council), also criticised the use of official stationery by the MEP.

Mr Ó Neachtain defended the use of European Parliament notepaper. He told The Irish Times that he was referred to as an MEP on the programme in question, and wrote in on this basis to the station.

A spokeswoman for Raidió na Gaeltachta said that there was no connection between the programme change and Mr Ó Neachtain’s complaint. The editorial decision relating to Cúrsaí an Lae and two other Raidió na Gaeltachta programmes dated back to February 2006, following a detailed resource analysis.

A decision on all three programmes was taken in July 2006 and staff had been informed last November. Six new programmes had been announced last month, she said.

The spokeswoman also defended Raidió na Gaeltachta’s decision to inform all staff journalists that they must not contribute to other media and publications before the general election. This was to ensure impartial coverage, she said.

The decision has been criticised by the Irish-language newspaper, Lá, which said it is lodging a complaint with the Competition Authority. The newspaper has questioned why the same directive does not apply to journalists working for RTÉ.

© The Irish Times

Evening Herald – FM104 loses top DJs but wins brand

Wicklow author is 21st Francis MacManus winner

This evening RTÉ Radio 1 announced the winners of the station’s Short Story Competition 2006 in memory of Francis MacManus at an awards ceremony in RTÉ’s Radio Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin.

Hester Casey from Greystones in Wicklow received the first prize of €3,000 and a Waterford Crystal Trophy for her story ‘A Thing of Beauty’. A Thing of Beauty tells the story of Nora who lives out her loveless marriage to Jim against the daily rituals of an Irish farm, her life of quiet desperation punctuated only by bouts of violence.

Presenting Hester with her award, Ana Leddy, Head of RTÉ Radio 1 said: “A Thing of Beauty is a story of great emotional depth that captures the harsh realism of Nora’s existence. Hester’s style is ideal for radio and I’m looking forward to hearing this, and all of the short-listed stories, brought to life on the national airwaves over this summer.”

Geraldine Mills from Rosscahill, Co. Galway received the second prize of €2,000 for her story ‘The Weight of Feathers’. The Weight of Feathers is a charming retelling of the Greek myth of Dedalus and Icarus which illustrates the danger of flying too close to the sun.

Dubliner Gavin Corbett received third prize for his story ‘For Scrap’. For Scrap tells the story of a group of men driving up from the country to Dublin with a van-load of scrap to sell. The author creates a totally believable world of male bonding, friction and ultimately, survival.

The 2006 competition attracted almost 700 entries from all over Ireland and from Irish people living abroad. The panel were impressed by the high standard of the entries and selected 20 entries for the short-list. All of these stories will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 over the summer, starting with the winning entry.

The competition for original short stories for radio commemorates the distinguished broadcaster and novelist Francis Mac Manus (1909 – 1965) who was a major influence in encouraging writers and developing radio as a medium for the expression of ideas and the promotion of new writing. This is the 21st year of the competition.

Eamon and Áine to cover for Marian over Easter

On Easter Sunday, which falls on this coming weekend, Eamon Dunphy will present Marian Finucane’s slot from 11am-1pm on RTÉ Radio 1. Áine Lawlor will fill in for Finucane from 11am on Saturday morning. Áine Lawlor is one of the main presenters of Morning Ireland, RTÉ Radio 1’s weekday current affairs and news programme, while Eamon regularly presents Conversations with Eamon Dunphy at 9am on Saturdays on RTÉ Radio 1 and is a football panellist on RTÉ Television.

The Marian Finucane Show on Saturday with Áine Lawlor will follow the same format as Marian’s regular show with guests in studio and live interviews. On Sunday Eamon will be looking at the headlines and reviewing the week’s papers with a panel of guests in studio.

RTÉ Radio 1 to close its medium wave service

RTÉ have announced that it will close its RTÉ Radio 1 Medium Wave service on March 24th. The company says that the medium wave service offers poor value for money, is environmentally unsound and is out of date. It also cites poor quality reception and audio as reasons for the cessation. The closure will not affect RTÉ Radio 1’s existing FM or Long Wave services.

RTÉ’s MW service was launched in 1926 but listeners gradually migrated to the superior sound quality of FM when it was introduced in the 1970s. Today, more than 90% of RTÉ Radio 1 listening is via its FM service. In addition the growth of new platforms such as podcasting, mobile phones and digital radio, mean that radio audiences have a much wider choice of when and how to listen.

JP Coakley, Head of Operations at RTÉ Radio says: “Our audience research tells us that MW listening is largely based on habit rather than necessity. Our job now is to convince MW listeners that there are other ways to listen that are as good as, if not better, than Medium Wave.”

Once the MW transmission service is switched off in March, listeners who tune into MW specifically for additional RTÉ Radio 1 programming, such as weekday sports broadcasts and religious services, will find those programmes on 252LW and on a range of digital platforms.

RTÉ Radio 1’s LW service was introduced in 2004 and was upgraded in 2007. The signal carries throughout Ireland and into Britain.

RTÉ will launch a public information campaign for MW listeners next Friday. The campaign includes on-air MW announcements, newsletters and press releases for listeners, representative bodies and stakeholder groups; an information number to call for assistance on tuning to FM and a voucher scheme providing half-price FM/LW radios for those most in need

Marian Finucane Gets Pro-Active at the Weekends

RTÉ Radio have announced Flora Pro-active as the new twelve month sponsor of ‘The Marian Finucane Show’. The deal commenced at the weekend.

Following more than 23 years broadcasting on RTÉ Radio 1, Marian Finucane has now positioned both her Saturday and Sunday shows as essential weekend listening. Recent JNLR figures show Marian’s Saturday show as the third most listened to radio programme in Ireland with 347,000 listeners and her Sunday show is the eighth most listened to, delivering 281,000 listeners every week. Recent guests have included: Nuala O’Faoláin, Brian O’Driscoll, Louis Walsh, Daniel Day Lewis, President Mary McAleese, Ronnie Drew, Kim Cattrell, Chef Dylan McGrath, Minister Mary Harney, Tommy Tiernan, American Ambassador Thomas C Foley, Sean Fitzpatrick and Professor Brendan Drumm.

RTÉ Radio Sponsorship Manager, Tara Farrell said: “In what has been a very strong year for RTÉ Radio Sales, Flora pro-active is without doubt the perfect sponsorship fit for Ireland’s number one weekend radio show and an excellent start to 2009.”

The 12 month sponsorship package includes four sponsor credited stings per show on both Saturday & Sunday plus pre-promotional spots in Joe Duffy’s ‘Liveline’, ‘Conversations with Eamon Dunphy’ and ‘The Business’.

Other recent deals for RTÉ Radio include Ladbroke’s sponsorship of the Weekend Sport on RTÉ Radio 1; Centra’s sponsorship of RTÉ 2FM’s timechecks; Benecol have signed up to a second year of ‘The Tubridy Show’ and AIB have also renewed their sponsorship of ‘Drivetime Sport with Des Cahill’ for a second year.

Marian Finucane was honoured earlier this year with PPI Lifetime Achievement Award.

Old Fogey Warns Young Fogey to Earn His Spurs

Ryan Tubridy has been warned by broadcasting rival Pat Kenny to slow down and earn his spurs. That’s according to today’s Sunday Tribune. Kenny’s tirade comes after Tubridy voiced his opinion that his morning show on RTÉ Radio 1 should be extended. This, of course, would eat into Pat Kenny’s own programme on the station. In addition, Tubridy said he’d like to see his Saturday night TV show moved to Friday nights, the night when Kenny presents ‘The Late Late Show’.

“There’s a new boss (Clare Duignan) in radio and she could put Ryan Tubridy on 2FM for all I know,” says Pat. “I have no interest in what might be good for Ryan to be honest…he’s doing all sorts of things. He’s only 35, he’s a young man in a terrible hurry to do everything that everyone before him has done.”

Kenny revealed that he has just signed a contract to do a two hour primetime show on radio every day.

First ever female presenter for Sunday Sport

From Sunday one of RTÉ Sport’s newer faces and voices, Jacqui Hurley, will co-host Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 along with one of the show’s former anchors, Con Murphy. This is the first time in the show’s almost 40 year history that it will be co-hosted and the first time ever that it will have a female host.

Jacqui says: “I’m looking forward to this new challenge. Con and I are planning a fast-paced show with plenty of listener interaction and opinion, some laughs and of course, some serious sports news, commentaries and updates!”

The revamped show will be a fast-moving live sports programme, with commentators and reporters at all the main sports events of the day, including Gaelic Football and Hurling Championship and League games, Rugby internationals and provincial matches, football from home and abroad, and interviews with all the top sportsmen and women in the news.

Jacqui joined RTÉ Sport in 2006. She now appears as a weekly sports contributor on Seoige and is the voice of sport on RTÉ 2FM’s Breakfast Show with Colm & Jim-Jim on weekday mornings.

Originally from Ballinahassig in Cork, Jacqui started her media career as an intern with CBS television station in Mississippi in the United States where she learned all the nuts and bolts of television reporting and more specifically sports reporting. After college she went on to work for local Limerick radio station Live 95FM and was given her first big sporting opportunity working at Munster’s 2006 Heineken Cup success.

Con Murphy’s career in broadcasting began in the late 1980s with Century Radio, where he worked as a sports producer and presenter. Following the closure of Century, Con became sports editor at Dublin station FM104, before joining RTÉ Radio’s Sports team in 1992. He has hosted RTÉ Radio’s coverage of the 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games coverage. He has reported from the World Cup finals in Japan and Korea in 2002, and counts RTÉ Radio’s coverage of the 2006 Ryder Cup from the K Club as one of his favourite commentating experiences.

Con has presented all of RTÉ Radio’s main sports programmes at various times through the years and has also shown his versatility by standing in for Ryan Tubridy, Marian Finucane, and Rachel English on RTÉ on different occasions. Con has presented a wide range of sports programmes on RTÉ Television including Monday Night Soccer, Against the Head, Premiership and World Cup soccer and The Irish Open Golf and many more sports. He also co-presents the monthly programme, Crimecall on RTÉ Television along with Anne Cassin.

Sunday Sport has been on air since 1971 and was first presented by Paddy O’Brien. Other presenters throughout the past four decades have included Liam Nolan, Bill O’Herlihy, Eamonn Ó’Muirí, Jimmy Magee, Des Cahill and Adrian Eames.

Newspaper: Communicorp sale depresses Today FM profits

Irish Times
Communicorp sale depresses Today FM profits

Irish Times – February 3rd 2009

CIARÁN HANCOCK, Business Affairs Correspondent

Costs associated with its sale to Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp Group in January 2008 depressed profits last year at national radio station Today FM in spite of a 17 per cent rise in like-for-like sales.

Accounts obtained by The Irish Times for the 18-month period to the end of September 2008 show that Today FM recorded an after-tax profit of €3.9 million. This compared with a bottom-line surplus of €6.4 million in the year to the end of March 2007, when the station was owned by UK media group Emap.

Radio Ireland Ltd, which trades as Today FM, had retained profits of €17.9 million at the end of last September. The accounts covered 18 months to help bring the station in line with Communicorp’s financial reporting period.

Revenues totalled €34.2 million last year compared with €19.4 million in the previous financial period. The accounts state that Today FM recorded like-for-like sales growth of 17 per cent between the two periods, indicating annualised turnover of about €23 million.

Today FM’s administration expenses rose sixfold to €12 million between the two periods. It is understood that this was largely due to costs associated with the €200 million acquisition by Communicorp of Today FM and its then sister stations Dublin-based FM104 and Highland Radio in Donegal, and the subsequent sale by Mr O’Brien of the two local radio stations for €63 million.

The remuneration paid to directors rose to €2.36 million last year from €574,733 in the previous financial period.

This is believed to include bonus payments of just over €1 million by Emap to three of the station’s executives – Willie O’Reilly, Paul Lynch and Eamon Fitzpatrick – relating to the sale of its Irish stations to Mr O’Brien.

Mr O’Reilly, who is Today FM’s chief executive, declined to comment on the payments to directors or the costs associated with the sale of the stations by Emap.

He said trading was “positive” during the 18-month period but that the “past five months have seen a more difficult trading environment” due to a 10 per cent drop in advertising sales.

“A good performance in 2009 would be flat revenues,” Mr O’Reilly added.

In spite of the downturn in advertising revenues, Mr O’Reilly said none of Today FM’s star presenters – who include Ian Dempsey and Ray D’Arcy – would be asked to take a pay cut.

RTÉ stars, including Pat Kenny and Gerry Ryan, have been criticised recently for refusing to take a pay cut.

“We had a good year so we’re not asking our stars to take a [pay] cut,” he said. “In relation to RTÉ, it’s about taxpayers’ money paid through the licence fee but it’s up to them to take a position on that.”

Today FM’s 83 staff earned €6 million in wages and salaries last year. Mr O’Reilly said a pay-freeze is in place and the station is “examining every cost in the business”.

© 2009 The Irish Times

Newspaper: Today FM profits down after takeover

Irish Independent
Today FM profits down after takeover

Irish Independent – February 3rd 2009

Today FM profits down after takeover

By Laura Noonan

Annual profits at Today FM more than halved last year despite a 17pc rise in like-for-like revenues, new accounts show.

The filings chart the radio station’s performance in the 18 months to September 2008, including the January 2008 acquisition of Today FM by Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp.

The costs surrounding that change of ownership are understood to have largely contributed to the plunge in profitability, which saw Today FM return pretax earnings of €4.7m for the 18-month period against a €7.4m figure for the 12 months ending March 2007.

Those change of ownership costs are included in the 18-month period’s overall operating expenses bill, which came in at €30.3m, well above the €12.7m in operating costs for the year end March 2007.

The major operating costs rise was in administration, which jumped from €2m to €13m, while programming costs were also significantly higher.

Payments

Below the pretax line, directors’ remuneration rose from €575,000 to €2.3m — the higher payments are understood to include bonuses of about €1m shared by Today FM’s three executive directors on completion of the Communicorp sale.

On the revenue side, income for the 18-month period came in at €34m, up from €19.4m for the year ended in March 2007, including a 17pc rise in “like-for-like revenue”.

Chief executive Willie O’Reilly said a “flat” performance on revenue would be a “good result” for 2009 as the radio industry contemplates a 5pc to 10pc fall in income.

“The trading environment is currently tough, and there has been a deterioration in the last five months,” Mr O’Reilly added.

“Radio doesn’t do as well in an upturn but doesn’t suffer as much as other media in a downturn.” The radio station’s next accounts will cover the 15 months to December 2009, bringing the company’s financial year in line with Communicorp’s. The next accounts are expected to include substantially lower costs, as the change of ownership costs aren’t repeated and the station continues to “scrutinise its cost base to better prepare us for any further turbulence in the market”.

The latest accounts also show an investment of more than €3.3m in Today FM’s new Digges Lane, Dublin 2, home.

This included a one-off six-figure payment to release the station from its Abbey Street, Dublin 1, lease.

Breaches of contract by Comminicorp stations

Today FM and Newstalk, both owned by Communicorp, have both been notified of serious breaches of contract after they introduced programming changes without prior approval by the BCI. That’s according to a report in today’s Irish Times.

Newstalk recently dropped three programmes from their schedule: Late Night Live with Declan Carty, Splanc and Culture Shock. The removal of Late Night Live has been approved by the BCI; however Newstalk have been ordered to reinstate the latter two by the end of the month on the basis of reduced diversity of programming.

In addition both stations decided to “pool” the services of reporters in their two newsrooms and to share off-peak news bulletins.

Although permission for the changes were sought by both stations, the changes had already been made at this point. This led the BCI to admonish both stations for serious breaches of contract.

Newstalk are still in discussion with the BCI about the dropped programming. They are claiming that the changes are necessary to secure the station’s future.

The BCI have accepted the reasoning behind the shared newsroom resources but will not allow the sharing of political reports.

Although the sharing of off-peak bulletins and the dropping of Late Night Live have been accepted by the BCI they will be subject to review in 12 months time.

Airticity to bring sparks to Ryan Tubridy’s show

RTÉ Radio 1 have announced Airtricity as the new sponsor of ‘The Tubridy Show’. The 12 month sponsorship commenced this week.

With 352,000 listeners, RTÉ Radio 1’s The Tubridy Show is the fifth most-listened-to radio programme nationally. Airtricity supplies home electricity to customers in Ireland.

On his daily Tubridy Show, Ryan brings his unique style to the airwaves every weekday morning, with personal feature interviews and a range of regular features from the monthly Book Club to regular regional outside broadcasts.

Broadcasting in the weekday slot of 9-10am, this sponsorship package will include three Airtricity credited stings per day or 15 per week, as well as five sponsor credited promos per week in ‘Morning Ireland’, ‘Today with Pat Kenny’, ‘Liveline’, ‘Drivetime with Mary Wilson’ and ‘News at One’.

RTÉ Radio’s Sponsorship Manager Tara Farrell said: “This sponsorship increases yet again the number of sponsored programmes on RTÉ Radio. From Tubridy on RTE Radio 1 to Rick O’Shea on 2FM, this latest announcement gets 2010 off to a cracking start. Last year saw radio sponsorship out-perform 2008 figures. Throughout the depth of recession, sponsorship remained one of the few growth areas and it looks like it will stay that way in 2010. RTÉ Radio offers businesses and brands unparalleled access to consumers and the proof is in the listening with more programme sponsorships coming to air than ever before.”

Eleven RTÉ broadcasts nominated for Celtic awards

Eleven RTÉ Television and Radio broadcasts have been shortlisted for the 2011 Celtic Media Awards across 10 different categories. There are seven RTÉ Television programmes, three RTÉ Radio programmes and one RTÉ Radio personality nominated. RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta has been shortlisted for ‘Station of the Year’. The station previously won the award in 2009 and was shortlisted in 2010.

Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí, presenter of Rónán Beo @3 on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, is nominated for Radio Personality of the Year

Three RTÉ Radio documentaries are nominated in the Radio Documentary category. “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Mad About Ned”, both broadcast in the RTÉ Radio 1 Documentary on One slot, are nominated. I Could Have Danced All Night traces the path of well-known Ennis character, Michael Tierney, who before his time, wore make-up and had a large collection of wigs, some blonde with pigtails and others jet-black like Elvis, and Mad about Ned tells the story of 80 year old Traveller man Ned McDonagh, whose passion for singing lifts spirits wherever he goes.

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta documentary, “Athrú Saoil – An tSiúr Mairéad Mic Dhonnchadha”, tells the story of Sister Máiréad Nic Dhonnchadha from Spiddal who made the decision to become a nun at 50 years of age, having spent most of her life until then working in the Central Bank.

The Celtic Media Festival’s aim is to promote the languages and cultures of the Celtic countries on screen and in broadcasting. The 2011 Celitc Media Festival takes place from 13th to 15th April in the Western Isles, Scotland

Spirit Radio’s full line-up revealed

Spirit Radio, the new quasi-national religious station who will launch on Thursday, have announced their full schedule today.

Spirit Radio, the new quasi-national religious station who will launch on Thursday, have announced their full schedule today.

Former 2FM presenter Dave Redmond, along with Bernie Jameson (formerly Today FM & 4FM) and David Baker (best known for being part of some revolutionary '80s community stations), make up the heart of the weekday line-up.

Starting each weekday at 7am, former RTÉ presenter RoJo hosts the station's breakfast show. Bernie Jameson follows at 11am and she, in turn, will be followed by Dave Redmond from 3pm. David Baker hosts the evening 7pm slot.

Spirit Radio will initially be available on FM in selected areas only but will cover most of the country via medium wave from mid-2012.

The full line-up is as follows:-
Weekdays:
7am RoJo in the Mornings
11am Middays with Bernie Jameson
3pm Afternoons with Dave Redmond
7pm Evenings with David Baker
10pm (to midnight) Nights with Wendy Grace
10pm-Midnight (Fridays) Nights with Olga Kaye

Saturday:-
7am Family Breakfast with Dave Hynes
9am Magazine Plus with Noel Shannon
12pm Afternoons with Jacki Ascough
4pm Evenings with Ollie Clarke
8pm Sound Of Praise with Niall Redmond and guests
10pm (to midnight) Nights with Olga Kaye

Sunday
7am Dóchas an Domhnach le Séamus Ó Feithcheallaigh.
9am Focus On The Family (Family show with advice on marriage, parenting and other topics)
10am On Our Way with Brendan Flanagan
1pm Afternoons with Ollie Clarke
5pm The Top 40 Countdown (The top 40 positive hits of the week)
8pm Acoustic Sunday with RoJo
10pm (to midnight) Nights with Chris Youn

Former 2FM presenter Dave Redmond, along with Bernie Jameson (formerly Today FM & 4FM) and David Baker (best known for being part of some revolutionary ’80s community stations), make up the heart of the weekday line-up.

Starting each weekday at 7am, former RTÉ presenter RoJo hosts the station’s breakfast show. Bernie Jameson follows at 11am and she, in turn, will be followed by Dave Redmond from 3pm. David Baker hosts the evening 7pm slot.

Spirit Radio will initially be available on FM in selected areas only but will cover most of the country via medium wave from mid-2012.

The full line-up is as follows:-
Weekdays:
7am RoJo in the Mornings
11am Middays with Bernie Jameson
3pm Afternoons with Dave Redmond
7pm Evenings with David Baker
10pm (to midnight) Nights with Wendy Grace
10pm-Midnight (Fridays) Nights with Olga Kaye

Saturday:-
7am Family Breakfast with Dave Hynes
9am Magazine Plus with Noel Shannon
12pm Afternoons with Jacki Ascough
4pm Evenings with Ollie Clarke
8pm Sound Of Praise with Niall Redmond and guests
10pm (to midnight) Nights with Olga Kaye

Sunday
7am Dóchas an Domhnach le Séamus Ó Feithcheallaigh.
9am Focus On The Family (Family show with advice on marriage, parenting and other topics)
10am On Our Way with Brendan Flanagan
1pm Afternoons with Ollie Clarke
5pm The Top 40 Countdown (The top 40 positive hits of the week)
8pm Acoustic Sunday with RoJo
10pm (to midnight) Nights with Chris Youn

.

Claire Byrne to present Radio 1’s Late Debate

Claire Byrne will return to radio with RTÉ Radio 1’s late-night political and current affairs programme, ‘Late Debate’, for the duration of Election 2011 from this Monday, January 31st at 10pm.

Claire Byrne will return to radio with RTÉ Radio 1’s late-night political and current affairs programme, 'Late Debate', for the duration of Election 2011 from this Monday, January 31st at 10pm.

“I’m looking forward to being right at the heart of all the political action with RTÉ Radio 1’s election team. It’ll be nice to be back on the airwaves again after a five month break from radio”, says Claire.

Claire currently presents television programme, The Daily Show, on RTÉ One and has a wealth of broadcasting experience spanning 13 years in the business. She began her career in radio and worked for the BBC in the Channel Islands as a broadcast journalist before becoming News Editor with Channel 103FM.

Claire has worked as a News Anchor with Channel 5 and the ITN News Channel in England, as news anchor for TV3’s Ireland AM and TV3’s main evening news. Claire was co-presenter of Newstalk’s breakfast programme for four years and in that time covered the 2007 General Election. Claire Byrne is also a regular host and MC at awards events and ceremonies throughout the year.

RTÉ Radio 1 Late Debate provides discussion and analysis of politics and current affairs with politicians, commentators and the country’s key political and parliamentary correspondents. The night-time series focuses on events in Dáil Éireann, Seanad Éireann and the committees of the Oireachtas and how these events shape our political landscape.

RTÉ Radio 1’s Late Debate with Claire Byrne will air Monday to Thursday from 10pm to 11pm for Election 2011.

Green Tea for Saturday Mornings On RTÉ Radio 1

From tomorrow morning RTÉ Radio 1 will broadcast a dedicated political satire show in a popular Saturday morning slot for the fist time in ten years. ‘Green Tea’, a new series from the makers of ‘Nob Nation’, will air at 10.30am for the duration of Election 2011.

Mimic and satirist Oliver Callan (pictured), one of the show’s scriptwriters, says: “We are delighted that RTÉ Radio 1 will broadcast Green Tea in the old ‘Scrap Saturday’ slot because there’s no doubt that satirical commentary on the changing face of Irish society is needed at the moment. We’re going to take a look at politics, the banking sector, the judiciary, the GAA, the media, the arty set and the various characters that make Ireland so interesting.”

Green Tea will follow various political heavyweights, including Eamon Gilbore, Moan Burton, the Baron of Northstead (aka Gerry Adams) and new characters such as Richard-Boyd-Gladstone-Tudor-Barrett. Micky Martin from Fianna Fáil will be joined on the election campaign trail by veteran politicians such as Mammy O’Rourke.

The show will also feature well-known Irish broadcasters and media personalities including Marian Finucane, Séan O’Rourke, Vincent Browne, footballer Paul Galvin and showbiz impresario Louis Walsh, who will be joined by his show band side-kick Albert Reynolds.

Green Tea debuted with two episodes on RTÉ Radio 1 in December 2010.