Newstalk starts legal proceedings over claim Kenny show to be axed
Published 23/12/2015 | 02:30
Newstalk has rubbished suggestions it is preparing to cut Pat Kenny's show next year, describing the report as a "work of fiction".
The radio station has started legal proceedings against a newspaper that alleged it was planning to axe Mr Kenny's programme as part of a revamp.
Newstalk said it was preparing for a busy 2016 and expected Mr Kenny to be an important part of the station.
The station's editor in chief Garrett Harte said there was no truth in rumours that the show would be cut.
He added that the station was preparing to make a series of special programmes in the new year focused on the General Election in spring and Ireland's European Championship campaign in France next June.
"Pat has boosted audience figures for his programme by over 150pc since starting two years ago," said Mr Harte.
"This false, misleading and damaging article is the antithesis of what we do in Newstalk," he added.
A story in the 'Irish Sun' yesterday claimed that the station was concerned at Mr Kenny's listener figures.
Recent JNLR figures revealed that the Pat Kenny Show has 134,000 listeners, down 8,000 compared to the previous quarter.
Sean O'Rourke's rival show on RTE gained an extra 14,000 listeners with an audience share of 327,000.
Newstalk said that it had instructed its firm of solicitors to commence legal action against the newspaper.
It has also demanded that the newspaper issue an apology for running the piece.
"It is an article that was published based on misguided and ill-informed speculation and conjecture," said Mr Harte.
"This article is a complete work of fiction and contains absolutely no truth whatsoever," he added.
Mr Kenny (67) left RTE in 2013 to work at Newstalk in a big money move worth up to €2m.
His departure came as a shock after more than 40 years working at the state broadcaster.
Despite lagging behind Sean O'Rourke's mid-morning RTE Radio One show, Newstalk said it remains happy to retain the former 'Late Late Show' presenter.
"We are very happy with Pat's performance and we are actively planning a number of large campaigns for next year including the General Election and Ireland's appearance at the European Championships," said Mr Harte.
"We have instructed our solicitors to commence action against the newspaper and we will ensure that the 'Irish Sun' apologises for this attempt to damage both Pat Kenny and Newstalk," he added.