This Week In Radio 15/7/2023 (we are now FOUR WEEKS IN!!!)

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

Here’s what happened

The RTÉ logo is back once again.

It’s time for our weekly look at the story that just keeps going. Let’s look at 10 things that happened around RTÉ this week.

1. Bye bye board

Kevin Bakhurst started work on Monday and immediately got rid of the RTÉ executive board. It’s been replaced by a new interim leadership team, consisting of some members from the old board, but also some new blood.

The new team is…

  • Kevin Bakhurst, Director-General
  • Eimear Cusack, Director of Human Resources
  • Vivienne Flood, Head of Public Affairs*
  • Mike Fives, Group Financial Controller, RTÉ*
  • Adrian Lynch, Director Audiences, Channels, Marketing, and continuing as Acting Deputy DG
  • Paula Mullooly, Director of Legal
  • Deirdre McCarthy, Director of News & Current Affairs
  • Niamh O’Connor, Deputy Director of Content*
  • Conor Mullen, Head of Strategy & Commercial Compliance,RTÉ Media Sales*
  • Richard Waghorn, Director of Operations and Technology

A permanent team will be appointed down the road.

2. Bakhurst is willing to go radical.

There’s been talk of a 2FM sale, a big move away from the current RTÉ site, and the closure of RTE’s digital stations. The new boss isn’t ruling anything out, and has spoken about RTÉ possibly being much smaller in the future.

Losing the digital stations would be a big shame as even though they don’t have massive audiences they still provide great public service. Digital stations like RTÉ Gold could certainly provide some revenue for the broadcaster though, having them just costing money makes no real sense.

3. 7 material untruths

Tubridy faced committees on Tuesday, and in his opening statement at his first appearance he set out what he believed to be 7 untruths.

  • Ryan claims he did take a pay cut from RTÉ in his 2020 contract. He claims that this cut was 20%
  • The decision to step down from the late Late had nothing to do with the payments controversy according to Ryan. He says he made the decision over a year ago.
  • Ryan claims he was not secretly overpaid by RTÉ. He was paid an agreed amount from his contract as negotiated by noel Kelly.
  • He says he wasn’t aware RTÉ were trying to hide payments.
  • Ryan says there was no secret agreement with Renault, and that the events were well promoted on social media.
  • Ryan also claims the underwriting of the Renault deal was known by those who needed to know.
  • Finally Ryan says he did ask RTÉ about how they were accounting for his earnings.

You can see Ryan’s opening statement here.

4. Wednesday was all about GAA Go

GAA Go was in the spotlight as well this week as committees examined the future of sports broadcasting.

A lot was discussed about how match’s were selected for the service. It’s understood that the venture will make €4 million this year, with RTÉ committing to spend their cut on free to air sports broadcasts while the GAA pledge to support local sports.

5. Staff held more protests

Staff this week protested calling for decisions to be made on the future of public service broadcasting.

Kevin Bakhurst actually attended and spoke to staff at the protest which at least shows he’s somewhat open to staffs concerns.

6. RTÉ were back in the firebug line Thursday

Thursday was a bit messy. We had arguments over text messages, RTÉ disputing the 7 untruths, it was all very heated.

One thing that did come out of it is the confirmation that there would be a review of the voluntary exit schemes and how they were handled.

7. Presenters on digital stations aren’t paid well by looks of things

A presenter on one of RTEs digital stations has claimed that RTÉ only pay €20 per show hour on digital stations.

It looks like this relates to the smaller stations like 2XM and Pulse, but former RTÉ Gold presenter Karl Tsigdinos claims they were previously expected to work for free.

It’s an interesting insight to see pay at small stations like this.

8. The toy show musical is officially no more

It was confirmed by Kevin bakhurst this week that the toy show musical is no more, and that RTÉ will attempt to sell the set.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the music should really be released on streaming services rather than just wasteing great IP, but slim chance of that now by looks of it.

9. Bakhurst is going to talk to Tubridy, but not Kelly

In an interview published this morning Kevin Bakhurst said he would contact Tubridy to discuss his future with RTÉ. He says however he won’t be talking to Noel Kelly.

Hopefully we’ll know soon where things stand with this.

10. It’s a new era

RTÉ and TG4 have been brought under the remit of NewERA. This oversight body provides advice to state companies on their commercial activities. The move was planned for a while after being suggested in the future of media commissions report, but recent events made this urgent and its now official.

What this means is hard to say but it’s an interesting change we’ll need to get familiar with in time.

That’s not all

It won’t stop. We are now four weeks into this.

It’s coming to a point now where it’s time to look at how to cover this story. The story is hugely important for broadcasting, but it’s certainly not fun.

How would you like Radio Land to cover this story going forward? Would you like us to maintain the heavy coverage or should we tone it down a bit? Vote over on our Instagram story now.

Other News In Brief

Dave Fanning standing in front of an orange background

Dave Fanning has been in the firing line a lot recently. He compared the current RTÉ committee hearings to a Nuremberg trial, leading to an apology and an article in the Jewish Chronicle.

The fallout from his Christy Dignem comments also heated up again this week after it emerged that WLR decided not to air a pre recorded interview from an hour before the controversial Live Claire Byrne appearance. Damian Tiernan has said he won’t be inviting Dave on again.

Dave has been on the spicy side recently and it’s weird to see.

Read the story here

Paddy Cole

Finally this week, Paddy Cole is making his return to radio after a health battle. He’ll be back on Sunshine soon with a one hour show instead of the normal two, but he’s hoping to work his way back up towards two hours as his health gets better.

It’s such a small thing, but it’s lovely to see a radio station accommodating someone like this. Best of luck Paddy. I’m sure listeners will be delighted to hear your back.

Read the story here

Quick bits

A uk presenter explored his Irish heritage on Who Do You Think You Are for the BBC

Female intercounty players are protesting for equality by not taking part in media engagements organised by the LGFA, local media arrangements aren’t impacted

Claire Byrne is heading off for summer with Philip Boucher-Hayes filling in

Steve Conway is marking his 500th episode of An A-Z of Great Tracks this week on 8Radio

Midlands 103 are giving away 200 flip flops, but unlike RTÉ they got them from pennies

And that’s the summary for this week. Come back to radio land next week for more radio news📻 and be sure to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for more fun from the world of radio.