independent

Friday 18 April 2014

RTE tried to poach TV3's Alan Hughes from 'Ireland AM' to host new show 'today'

The 'Ireland AM' anchor said he was asked if he would he be interested in joining the national broadcaster's upcoming weekday show which will start in November.

TV3 presenter Alan Hughes has revealed he was "informally approached" by RTE to front their new afternoon programme 'Today'.

The 'Ireland AM' anchor said he was asked if he would he be interested in joining the national broadcaster's upcoming weekday show which will start in November.

But he wasn't interested in swapping Ballymount for Montrose.

Hughes' co-host Mark Cagney, a former RTE DJ, criticised the huge salaries of Montrose's stars.

"It puts a huge gap between you and the audience," he said. "If you're supposed to be representing the audience, how can you feel their pain? How do you know what it's like to struggle on €500,000 a year?"

The pair were speaking at a behind-the-scenes tour of the 'Ireland AM' studio in TV3 yesterday.

Hughes revealed: "There were all sorts of things being asked when it started. I was being asked would I consider going to Cork and would I do it. I just said 'No, I'm happy here, this is where I am and this is where I want to stay'.

"They were 'informal approaches', that's what I would call it, about what would my interest be in going to Cork," he added.

When contacted by the Irish Independent, an RTE spokesperson said: "We would not comment on the selection process on presenters."

'Ireland AM', which has been on air for 13 years, reaches 225,000 viewers each day. Hughes said he welcomed the idea of competition but insisted that RTE would fail to secure a majority of the viewership. Loyalty to 'Ireland AM' from established viewers would keep it on top, if RTE introduced a morning show.

Cagney agreed: "I will be surprised if RTE don't do something in the next year or two. I'm kind of shocked they haven't done it already.

"And if they do, bring it on, because competition draws the market. So it will actually be better for us, we could grow the market.

" There would be more revenue and more people watching -- and people will up their game. Familiarity would be our edge, it breeds contentment. They know us, what they see is what they get."

Irish Independent

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