Aidan Dunne has resigned as Chief Executive at NewsTalk 106FM. This is the second Chief Executive the Dublin talk station have lost in their 17 months on air. 98FM chief Dan Healy will take over the role with almost inmmediate effect. He will be replaced at 98FM by the station’s marketing manager Ciaran Davis.
NewsTalk 106FM have announced that they will raise €2.5m from the station’s shareholders over the next few months. This is expected to fund a new marketing drive as well as ongoing operational costs.
‘Big Ron’ Atkinson has signed up as a football pundit on ‘The Right Hook’ for NewsTalk 106. Atkinson is one of English football’s more colourful characters, but it was an unfortunate incident relating to colour that lost him his similar, mega-bucks job with ITV Sport. Atkinson was overheard referring to a Chelsea player as a ‘f**king lazy, thick ni**er’ when he thought his comments were not being broadcast. Unfortunately for him, the mic was still open and the comments were carried live by several tv stations around the world who were relying on ITV for their pictures. Atkinson has since apologised, but was widely condemned for the remarks, and led to him resigning his post at ITV, as well as a columnist job with The Guardian newspaper.
Atkinson will be employed as a stand-in for Eamon Dunphy when the station’s breakfast presenter is not available.
NewsTalk 106 have been told that their live coverage of Glasgow Celtic’s football matches are in breach of contract rights. The station were broadcasting the Scottish team’s Saturday afternoon matches based on an agreement with the club itself. However, the broadcast rights for individual clubs are held collectively by the game’s governing body, who contacted the Dublin station and advised them to stop. This was based on a complaint from another radio station.
NewsTalk 106 have been brought to task in the past for unofficial coverage of Irish league matches. Their Sunday and Monday night coverage of The Premiership remains unaffected. This agreement allows NewsTalk 106 to relay BBC Radio 5 Live’s match coverage to Dublin FM audiences. Unfortunately for NewsTalk, Five Live’s comprehensive sporting coverage leads to many broken points in the live commentary when the BBC goes elsewhere for updates or live broadcasts of other events.
Claire Byrne is leaving TV Three to join NewsTalk FM, the Dublin news station which is about to go national. NewsTalk have been desperate to sign a big name ever since the high-profile departure of Eamon Dunphy and sources suggest that Claire will join Ger Gilroy on a double-headed breakfast show.
Tests are now starting on the new national frequencies, and the relaunch is set to happen on October 2nd with a release outlining the station’s new schedule due tomorrow.
NewsTalk 106-108 say they are ready to launch on a national basis and will do so this Friday if given a BCI nod of approval. The four year old Dublin station were awarded the national licence earlier this year and had set October 2nd as the date when the rest of the country could tune in to its unique blend of news and talk. They will also introduce music to the schedules for the first time when they go national and there will be a schedule shake-up. NewsTalk is marketing itself as a younger alternative to RTÉ Radio 1 and have employed a number of correspondents from outside Dublin.
NewsTalk 106-108 will launch their national service this Friday following a contract signing today which sees them enter an agreement with the BCI to provide a service for ten years.
Newstalk 106-108 will offer speech-driven content for over-25s, with a primary audience of 25-44 year olds and a secondary audience of 45-55 year old adults. The station will broadcast 24 hours per day with over 120 hours of live programming per week.
Speaking at the contract signing, the BCI Chairman Conor J. Maguire said: “We are delighted to sign today’s contract with Newstalk 106-108. In now broadcasting to a national audience, the service will mark a new era in Irish broadcasting. We are confident that the service will add significantly to news and speech-based radio in Ireland and will provide Irish listeners with a vibrant alternative.”
TV3 have gone to court in order to force newsreader Claire Byrne to honour her contract with the station. Claire was part of former Dublin-only radio station NewsTalk’s national launch team last Friday. She co-hosted the station’s new-look breakfast show with Ger Gilroy and continued her late-night newsreading duties with the television station. TV3 have secured an interim injunction in the High Court which temporarily prevents Byrne from broadcasting on the radio station. TV3 says that Byrne’s contract does not allow her to perform duties with any other broadcast station without their prior consent. The case continues tomorrow.