independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

‘Off The Ball’ presenter Eoin McDevitt can’t join another station for 12 weeks

Eoin McDevitt, one of the 'Off the Ball' team who resigned

OFF THE BALL presenter Eoin McDevitt must adhere to a 12 week notice period before being able to join any rival station.

A station source told the Irish Independent that a contract clause states that employees Ken Early, Simon Hick, Ciaran Murphy and Mark Horgan will work out a four week period at Newstalk Radio.

However, the sports programme’s host McDevitt must adhere to a 12 week notice period before being able to join any rival station, meaning that he will not be able to take on a position elsewhere until at least May.

The source continued:“It’s unfortunate that it all came to this and we are extremely regretful of their decision.

“There have been rumours that pay increases were also demanded, but that was never an issue.”

He said it was a “purely factual decision” over potential JNLR loss as the station was concerned it would lose female listeners if ‘Off the Ball’ occupied the coveted drivetime spot.

 “We’re hopeful we can get some of them back individually, when the dust has settled.”

RTE has not made an offer to the former ‘Off The Ball’ team, despite intensive speculation.

Senior sources at the station have told the Irish Independent the national broadcaster was "highly unlikely to be hiring anybody at the moment", let alone a team of sports presenters.

RTE has been predicted by uninformed speculation as the natural new home for the team who resigned enmasse from Newstalk yesterday.

The decision is being seen as a major miscalculation by media experts.

In a statement issued today, the former “Off The Ball” team, Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, Mark Horgan, Simon Hick and Ciaran Murphy, apologised to listeners for missing the show last night but the vowed to be on air as soon as possible.

“Over the last 18 months we have been in discussions with Newstalk about ways to develop our programme. Unfortunately there are fundamental differences of opinion between management and ourselves about the show’s future potential and its ability to grow an audience at an earlier time.

“We’re gutted to leave behind something we love but after eight years we feel it’s vital that our product continues to evolve and improve.

“We would like to sincerely thank Newstalk for giving us a chance to put the show together.”

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