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Friday 22 August 2014

Why Miriam is primed to do more on radio

Stephen O'Farrell and Laura Noonan

Published 18/08/2009 | 00:00

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Gerry Ryan and Gay Byrne give Miriam O'Callaghan a peck on the cheek yesterday as RTE unveiled its autumn radio schedule. Photo: STEVE HUMPHREYS

SHE is the glamorous face of RTE's flagship current affairs television show but Miriam O'Callaghan has hinted she feels more at home on radio.

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The mother of eight admitted the workload is easier and she doesn't have to worry about her looks on radio.

Speaking at the launch of RTE's autumn radio schedule, the 'Primetime' presenter said she found radio "more intimate" than TV work and would love to try it long-term.

Her programme 'Miriam Meets ... ' arrived on the Radio One airwaves in July as a replacement for Eamon Dunphy's 'Conversations with ... ' and RTE announced yesterday that it was to continue through the winter.

She was speaking as RTE was forced into a reshuffle following a decline in ratings for 2fm, which is now looking to regain its traditional audience. A further 13 new shows will also be part of the radio schedule, with officials revealing that cutbacks had been targeted at staff costs rather than programming.

Miriam said she adored her radio debut and had received an "amazing reaction" from her listeners. "For me, I find it much easier in terms of workload," she told the Irish Independent. "I don't have to worry about how I look, because on television the first 20 minutes is people saying 'Do you like her dress?'

"But radio is genuinely intimate and it's just like sitting down and talking to somebody. They've asked me to do it (this season) and I've said yes and if they want me to do it long-term then yes because I love it."

Her radio show will remain on Radio One, but will switch from Saturday to Sunday morning.

However, a move back to 2fm for Dave Fanning appears to be the final nail in the coffin for the station's failed attempts to target teenagers. They are to return to their 22-45 age group after their share of the airwaves fell to 11.6pc in the latest JNLR figures.

Mr Fanning, who left for Radio One three years ago, revealed yesterday that he was returning on the promise that the station has a long-term plan to regain its traditional audience.

"I never liked the move towards the younger audience," Mr Fanning said.



Revamped

Radio One's revamped schedule includes two new arts programmes, an additional evening sports slot, a week-day music show with John Creedon and a weekend rural affairs programme. And Marty Whelan will take up a weekday music slot on Lyric FM.

The state broadcaster has been implementing sweeping cuts to deal with a revenue shortfall of €68m for the year.

Wage cuts have been ordered across the board for the 2,000-plus staff at Montrose and RTE Radio's new managing director Clare Duignan said they would continue targeting staff costs rather than programming.

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