independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

RTE stars paid too much for too long, admits Hayes

RTE 2fm presenter Colm Hayes, centre, with Rosanna Davison, right, and other celebrities and cyclists at RTE studios in Donnybrook, Dublin, for the start of the ‘Cycle against Suicide’ event

BROADCASTER Colm Hayes has agreed that he and his fellow RTE colleagues were "paid far too much for far too long" and is happy to play his part with a pay cut.

The 2fm radio host, who was ranked in the top 10 earners at RTE in 2009 with a salary of €213,954, told the Irish Independent that he believes a drop in salaries was and is the right thing to do for presenters such as himself. Hayes (51) has seen his pay slashed by 21pc to €170,000 last year.

"People saw the cut I took and I dropped out of the top 10. If you're asked to take the cut, you take the cut," he said. "I think it's absolute necessary, I think we were all paid far too much for too long. It hasn't affected my lifestyle. I'm still in a very fortunate position."

Hayes said he's feeling confident about his 11am-1pm slot after the end of his decade-long morning programme two years ago, which he co-anchored with Jim Jim Nugent.

"It was a big change from breakfast radio to talk radio, but it's been great. We like to do a lot of campaigns and focus on what people are thinking or talking about."

The presenter was speaking at the beginning of the cross-country Cycle Against Suicide event in Dublin yesterday.

He said he was overwhelmed by the support for his programme's latest campaign to shed light on mental health and suicide prevention. And the DJ admitted he had been training hard in the build-up to the road challenge.

"I'm doing four legs of it, so I've been doing a lot of training for this. I've been in the gym every morning and cycling four times a week."

He was joined by over 400 enthusiasts to begin the first leg of a cycle challenge for charity.

A total of 3,500 people have registered to take part in the Cycle Against Suicide event, which will cover 1,400km around Ireland over 14 days.

Passing through Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, the cycle will also visit schools and colleges to raise awareness of mental health.

The idea behind the project was developed by businessman Jim Breen, following the screening of the television documentary 'The Secret Millionaire', which showed Mr Breen visiting a suicide awareness group in Dublin.

Rugby pundit Brent Pope, comedian PJ Gallagher, former Miss World Rosanna Davison and model Roz Purcell were among the well-known faces in the crowd as they set off from RTE studios in Donnybrook yesterday.

Meanwhile, the head of 2fm has insisted he's feeling positive about the latest JNLR figures, due to be released on Thursday.

John McMahon told the Irish Independent that in the three months since the last listenership numbers were published, he's confident the station has further boosted its efforts for quality programming.

"The JNLRs are like a Leaving Certificate result for us every quarter – these are important figures and tell us about our progress," he said.

Irish Independent

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