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Thursday 21 August 2014

Magician Keith Barry slates Irish radio station which cancelled his appearance last-minute

Ralph Riegel

Published 11/04/2014 | 19:42

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Mentalist Keith Barry's show has been a huge hit
Mentalist Keith Barry

MAGICIAN Keith Barry has slated an Irish radio station which cancelled a scheduled appearance in response to him appearing on a rival station minutes earlier.

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The ‘Brain Hacker’ star admitted he was dumbfounded when, after driving to Cork with less than three hours sleep, he was informed at the Redfm studio his appearance was no longer required.

A bitter ratings battle has erupted between Redfm and their larger rivals, the UTV-owned 96fm.

Redfm poached 96fm’s controversial morning show host, Neil Prendeville, and launched a high-profile ‘Love/Hate’ advertising campaign last month to promote their new schedule and boost audience figures.

Mr Prendeville boasted the largest radio audience share outside Dublin with 96fm and he has vowed to make his new Redfm show No 1.

But Mr Barry has said he will now warn his celebrity friends off the new show after the incident.

The Waterford star agreed to undertake a 480km round-trip today to appear on talk shows on both 96fm and Redfm.

“I got home from the Olympia Theatre at 1am and worked up new demonstrations for both stations until 4.30am. I then left me house at 6.15am to be in Cork on time,” he wrote on social media.

“I had an absolute blast on Cork’s 96fm with PJ (Coogan). Then onto Redfm.”

“Neil Prendeville, new to the station, refused to have me on because I had just been on 96fm.”

“I thought it was a wind-up at first as they had asked for no exclusivity and actually asked me two days prior to develop new material to perform on his fellow DJ KC’s (show) which took me hours to do.”

The magician eventually left the studio having failed to appear on air and drove back to Dublin to prepare for his ongoing shows at the Olympia.

“These are hours I could have spent doing other things. The (Redfm) producer this morning seemed quite dumbfounded and Neil was not even courteous enough to face me himself.”

“The reason I write this is not to whine – it is to warn other professionals…as the same could happen to them.”

“I’m now off to quickly text my mates in showbiz and tell them to avoid his show as we don’t have time for this nonsense.”

Mr Prendeville could not be contacted for comment on the row last night.

But a Redfm official said that the issue will be addressed in full on Monday’s show. In the meantime no further comment will be made.

A 96fm official said they were “absolutely delighted” with the reaction to Keith Barry on their morning show.

“Keith is welcome on our station any time and we look forward to having him on the programme again.”

Mr Prendeville was off the air for five months in 2010/2011 after a controversy over a lewd act on an Aer Lingus flight from London to Cork.

The broadcaster later said that his relationship with alcohol had become “reckless” and vowed to learn from his mistakes.

The father of two also said that his move to Redfm had “really helps to set me and my family up and moves me out of precarious financial waters.” 

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