Close it down and sell it off, says pop mogul
Published 20/08/2010 | 05:00
POP manager Louis Walsh has launched an astonishing attack on RTE in which he called for the state broadcaster to be sold off and shut down.
Branding the station's top personalities as "the same old faces", he compared management at the national broadcaster to civil servants and said they should all be sacked.
"RTE need new faces and new attitude. They launched their new schedule and it was the same old faces who I'm fed up of looking at. RTE is the civil service. It's a big building with all these people doing nothing. RTE should be sold off and the people running it sacked, " he told the Irish Independent.
A spokeswoman for RTE said: "As always, Louis is entitled to his own self-serving opinion."
Walsh made the comments at the launch of rival station TV3's autumn schedule in which he features as a judge on ITV reality show 'X Factor'.
Walsh (58) contrasted the success of the independent broadcaster, now the second most watched TV station in Ireland ahead of RTE2, and that of the state broadcaster.
"How are TV3 so successful when they have a smaller budget and only one little studio?" he asked.
"While all the time RTE are losing millions and millions.
"They call RTE 'the station of the cross'. God knows it's true. We have all been suffering for years. It has to end soon. Please," he added.
The Westlife manager's comments come after TV3 announced a three-year plan to build the first high definition studio in Ireland to close the gap on RTE1 and raise to 50pc the number of its home-produced programmes.
"This year the big story with TV3 is home production. We're increasing it by 10pc so that in this new season it accounts for 40pc of our output but we're setting a target that, in three years, over half of our output will be home-produced," TV3 chief David McRedmond said.
These include 'Farmers: A Life On The Land' which takes "an unsentimental look at farming in Ireland", 'Behind Bars' which explores the Irish penal system, and 'Teenage Lives' in which teenagers talk frankly about sex, drugs and bullying.
It will also feature a series of new documentaries.
One of these, 'The Truth About . . .' fronted by Newstalk presenter Henry McKean will feature programmes about different groups, including the pro-hunt lobby, dwarves and nudists.
TV3 director of programmes Ben Frow complained that the station's budget to make home-produced programmes is only a fraction of the resources at the disposal of RTE.
But 'Apprentice' star Bill Cullen was happy to give the station a dig out.
With his often repeated adage that workers should be prepared to give that little more to their employers, the Renault man revealed that along with the main 'Apprentice' series, and spin-off 'You're Fired, this season he will also feature in third spin off series, 'The Apprentice At Home'.
And for no extra money.
"Am I getting paid extra for it? No I'm not. I'm working so hard. I'm getting up at 3am instead of 4am but in today's climate, you have to put your back into it," Bill told the Irish Independent.
This was confirmed by Larry Bass, CEO of ScreentimeShinAwil, makers of 'The Apprentice'.
"We are the embodiment of Bill's philosophy. It's more for less. Work hard if you have a job these days," Mr Bass said.
One familiar RTE face who turned up on the TV3 presentation film and was cheered by the media was Bosco.
The glove puppet will feature in new three part series 'The Story Of Children's TV in Ireland' along with 'Wanderly Wagon' and a host of children's favourites.
TV3's new schedule features over 150 hours of home produced TV as well as the 2011 final of the UEFA Europa League from the Aviva stadium.