Lots happens in the radio industry each week so here’s a summary of the week we just enjoyed.
Here’s What Happened
We got an idea of RTE’s future this week. There’s a lot to this, but let’s just go through 5 big points.
- There will be a 20% reduction in staff, resulting in about 400 people leaving. 40 will go soon in a scheme funded by the RTE land sale. This is probably the biggest news in the plan. 400 people losing jobs is sad no matter how you look at it.
- Radio 1 Extra, RTE Pulse, RTE JR Radio, 2XM, as well as RTE’s time shift TV channels will all close. This is a real shame. I do hope RTE continue to invest in things like Kids podcasts as these have resulted in some amazing productions in recent years. I’d imagine the main savings here will come from Saorview transmission costs, but it’s hard to know.
- Some production will move out of Dublin. We should see an increase in cork quite soon. This is something we’ve seen UK broadcasters such as Channel 4 do in recent years, and it’s honestly probably a good thing.
- The independent sector will make more shows for RTE, with plans to increase independent production spend by 50%. I’d love to see shows like Fair City go independent, as we’ve seen this model deliver brilliant storylines in the past for shows like Ros Na Run or Red Rock. As long as RTE retain their IP this has the potential to be a great step in my view.
- There will be investment in new digital products such as upgraded news and audio apps, as well as RTE Player. This is an interesting one to me. I do think the audio app needs an upgrade, but the player and news apps are honestly fine in my opinion. I would focus on upgrading the backend and investing in content, as I honestly don’t see much need to change the user experience of the News app in particular.
Those are the basics. There are some other interesting bits like a salary cap meaning nobody earns more than the DG, and plans to explore a digital youth Irish language radio station.
This was never the ideal situation, but hopefully RTE can rebuild itself as a strong financially stable public service broadcaster.
They are asking for people to share their opinions in an online survey, which is linked below. Public service broadcasting is an important part of this industry so I’d encourage you to have your say.
Ryan Tubridy has got a new gig.
Last week we had a story in Quick Bits regarding a rumour that Tubridy was off to Virgin Radio in London. Well, turns out the rumour was true.
Ryan will host a show on the station from 10am to 1 pm each weekday, and it will be simulcast on Q102 in Dublin for good measure. In addition to this, a dedicated Irish Music show will be made for the wireless group Irish network. That show will air on 96FM, Live95, LMFM, and q102 at the weekend.
This is a big win for basically everyone involved. Ryan gets a fresh start at a new broadcaster, and Wireless get a presenter with appeal in two markets at once. Hard not to see this being a great move financially for all involved.
There will probably be small job cuts in the groups Irish operations as there’s no need for some shows now, but Coimisiún na Meán have accepted that this is how things work in the industry. This isn’t the first time a station has aired shows made internationally as Coimisiún na Meán correctly point out.
Who knows if this will open flood gates. This is a big signal of things to come, and it might mean local radio won’t be so local anymore. On the TV side Virgin Media has had success taking shows from ITV in the UK, so we might see many more UK shows on air if this strategy works.
It’s likely a great business decision, but the impact on Irelands radio Industry is harder to predict.
Best of luck to Tubridy on the new show, and best of luck to any presenters who lose their jobs in the move.
Finally for now, a story that isn’t directly about radio but is super important to the industry. a number of newspaper editors have spoken out about the issue of SLAPP suits by Irish politicians.
A SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) is basically what it says on the tin. It’s a lawsuit designed to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.
In the context of media, this is obviously very serious, and editors of many publications spoke to the Journal this week to share their views on the issue.
We’ve seen broadcasters like RTE get sued many times, with presenters like Claire Byrne forced to face the court room in the past. I’m not going to go into it too deeply as I’d encourage people to read the Journal article, but it’s good to see this important issue get discussed.
It’s expected that reforms to Irelands defamation laws are on the way so hopefully that helps somewhat. It’s an important story to newspapers but certainly impacts the radio world too.
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.