This Week In Radio 18/6/2022 (Dublin Pride and RTÉ)

Lots happens in the radio industry each week so here’s a summary of the week we just enjoyed.

Here’s What happened

Rainbow RTÉ logo symbolising the RTÉ Pride partnership, with the pink of the Trans flag as the background

There really is no other place to start this week.

Before I begin I need to make a few things clear. This story has been absolutely huge, and so many people have commented about the situation over the course of the week. There have been comments from RTÉ and Dublin Pride, but there have also been statements from politicians, Trans rights groups and many more.

As much as I’d love to cover everything, unfortunately that’s not possible. I’m going to cover the most important parts but there will be significant parts of this story that I simply won’t have the time to research and include.

If I don’t get to cover a side of the story that you feel is important please don’t feel ignored. I will link to as much coverage as possible at the end. Thanks for your understanding.

Okay, With that all said, let’s talk about RTÉ and Dublin Pride.

Dublin Pride ends partnership with RTÉ

Over the last while, there have been discussions on Radio 1’s Liveline programme which caused upset for some members of the transgender community, as well as wider members of the LGBTQ+ community.

This led to a statement being issued by Dublin Pride, in which they announced that they were ending there media partnership with RTÉ

Dublin Pride is announcing the termination of our media partnership with RTÉ. Over the past three years, we have worked together with the national broadcaster to increase positive representation of LGBTQ+ people on TV, radio and online, and to see the good work of so many people undone is saddening in the extreme and negates much of the efforts made to date. It breaches trust with our community and causes untold hurt. Dublin Pride is both angered and disappointed by the recent unacceptable, triggering and extremely harmful anti-trans “discussions” that have been given a platform on Joe Duffy’s Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1. As an official media partner of Dublin Pride, but more importantly as Ireland’s national broadcaster, we expect better than for RTÉ to stoke the flames of anti-trans rhetoric. We are proud members of Trans Equality Together, a new coalition led by TENI, LGBT Ireland and BeLonG To, and we are committed to accepting their lead in this issue. At their request we have not made a statement until now, but have remained in close and constant contact with them throughout the last few days to ensure that any actions taken by Dublin Pride respect the voices and feelings ofthe trans people in our community. RTÉ is our national broadcaster. LGBTQ+ people and our allies make up the majority of people in Ireland We are the majority shareholders in RTÉ, and we have a right to hold it accountable for its actions. We expect a response on how they will make amends for this situation and are committed to continuing the fight for equality, fairness and respect for all members of our LGBTQ+ family.

Statement from Dublin Pride

This understandably caused a lot of media coverage and it was clear that a response from RTÉ was on its way. The following morning, it arrived.

How RTÉ responded

RTE posted a statement to the Press on Wednesday morning, the morning after Dublin Pride ended there partnership.

RTÉ is disappointed with the decision to end a partnership we had developed together with a range of bodies over the last three years. Standing with the LGBTQ+ community, during Pride month sends an important signal that RTÉ is here to serve everyone, and over the last three years RTÉ has sought to include these communities and extend understanding through a range of specially produced content, campaigns and partnerships. Public discussion – sometimes uncomfortable, difficult, and contentious – is central to RTÉ’s prescribed purpose. RTÉ is acutely aware that discussions on issues such as gender and identity are deeply personal to many. It is important we listen to them, their families and those close to them, and it is also important that we allow our audiences engage with and understand the issues involved. RTÉ will, consistent with its statutory obligations, respond to any formal complaints concerning the broadcasts. RTÉ will continue to stand with our LGBTQ+ staff and the wider community during Pride month and beyond. In time, we hope that we will once again get the opportunity to continue to develop our partnership with Dublin Pride.

RTE’s statement

From here it was basically up to the public to pick their side. On one hand you have people who feel that the rights of trans People and those in the LGBTQ+ community should be a given thing that isn’t up for discussion in the 21st century, and on the other hand you have those who believe the media should have the right to discuss all points of view, including those which some people may find distasteful.

Where you land on that spectrum is something you need to decide for yourself.

The Big Reactions

The most notable reaction is probably from government. RTE were originally called for a committee appearance to discuss the issue, but the Irish Examiner are now reporting that this won’t happen. Politician’s are reportedly happy for RTÉ and Dublin Pride to discuss the issue themselves, and they feel this is a better outcome compared to a committee appearance.

There have been other reactions too, such as the reported 1000 complaints received by RTÉ, or the numerous comments from individual politicians. We’ll link to as much coverage of all this as possable below.

More to come

I’m sure this story will continue for a while considering the scale, but we’re going to leave things here for now. Feel free to check out the links below and see what you think.

Irish Examiner are reporting that RTÉ will not appear before a government committee

A trans support network is calling for better balance on RTÉ shows

Leo Varadkar has spoken on the issue

Loads of other responses here too

Other Radio News

This week we got the 2022 Reuters digital news report, which was published by the bai.

There are loads of interesting facts, but no major surprises. Well, there was one surprise, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

So what did we learn? The BAI compare us to other countries a lot in the report but I’ll focus just on Ireland here.

  • More people get their first news in the morning from smartphones compared to radio. 35% check the phone, while 31% listen on radio. Interestingly, 15% get their first news on TV in the morning, I didn’t expect such a high number for morning telly honestly considering it’s just the news channels and Ireland AM providing TV news in Ireland.
  • 57% of Irish people said they were either extremely or very interested in news, but this is a big drop of 13% from last year. This might be covid related but we can’t be sure.
  • Most people still trust news, with 52% either agreeing or strongly agreeing that they feel you can trust most of the news most of the time.
  • 83% of people said they check the news on a daily basis
  • RTE is still Irelands most trusted news brand, followed by the Irish Times

There is so much info in this report so you can have great fun flicking through all 78 pages. The main thing that surprised me was older audiences have more of a desire to consume climate change related content, I didn’t expect that at all.

I’m sure the report will raise questions about radio stations competing more on smartphone’s but it’s good to see that things are still doing relatively okay.

The full report can be found here

The BAI’s press release can be found here

Finally this week, the presenter of Country Roads on Midlands 103 has been fined for driving at twice the speed limit. Joseph Cooney contested his fine in court as he says he didn’t see the sign, and that the sign could cause an accident.

Cooney brought significant evidence to court, but the judge felt that she had to apply the law based on the facts. She didn’t increase the fine, and left it at €160

If you want to read the detailed coverage of proceedings, you can do so at the link below.

Mr Cooney is working with a councillor to have signs added to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Read the full story here

Quick Bits

Graham & Nathan are leaving Spin, more on this next week

The Obamas’ new TV drama about a podcasters visit to cork starts filming this week

Ronan Collins has returned to his show on RTÉ Radio 1 after a month long break

IRadio has a new partnership with Mondello24

Community Radio Day took place this week

98FM presenter Suzanne Kane wants to host more Ireland AM on Virgin Media Television

The Quinn Irish Radio show will broadcast to Ohio from Ballina this weekend

RTE Radio 1 Extra aired a 29 and a half hour continuous dramatisation of Ulysses during the week

Bonus Story

And that’s the summary for this week. Come back to radio land next week for more radio news📻 and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for extra stories.

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