Saturday 20 December 2014

RTE orders second radio staff shake-up

Published 01/07/2006 | 00:11

RTE radio staff have been left in turmoil after sweeping changes were announced across a range of flagship shows. Many of the station's key broadcasting and editorial staff were left stunned after new radio chief Anne Leddy abruptly told them they would no longer be working on their shows. Worst hit was The Ryan Tubridy Show, which lost its entire backroom staff. All of his reporters and researchers have been moved to other programmes for the new autumn schedule.

RTE radio staff have been left in turmoil after sweeping changes were announced across a range of flagship shows.

Many of the station's key broadcasting and editorial staff were left stunned after new radio chief Anne Leddy abruptly told them they would no longer be working on their shows.

Worst hit was The Ryan Tubridy Show, which lost its entire backroom staff.

All of his reporters and researchers have been moved to other programmes for the new autumn schedule.

Smaller numbers of staff on other Radio One shows, including the Pat Kenny Show, Marian Finucane Show and Liveline, were also told they will be moving on.

The series of moves is part of a coordinated strategy to revitalise RTE's radio networks in the light of ever-increasing competition for advertising. While RTE Radio One has put in a strong performance in retaining its core market share over the past few years, the station is now facing competition on an unprecedented scale.

Local stations continue to pick up listeners, while the decision by NewsTalk 104 to go national is potentially the biggest threat in the whole arena of talk radio, where Radio One traditionally has enjoyed a near monopoly.

The latest redeployment of personnel is reported to have left some of the broadcasting staff in tears. It is understood up to 20 people have been directly affected across a range of shows.

It comes less than a month Ms Leddy reshaped the Radio One schedule, controversially axing the arts programme Rattlebag and John Kelly's Mystery Train, while relegating John Creedon to a late night slot.

"It was brutal," one staff member said.

"Two members of management walked around and told people that they were out of shows. It was totally out of the blue and it was cold and clinical."

Supporters of Miss Leddy have pointed out she has no option but to move fast and re-energise the stations in the light of a rapidly-changing media environment.

"That's why she was brought in here by the top people in RTE - she's got a job to do and given her reputation for tough decision-making, she is going to do it," a station insider said.

It is understood that Mr Tubridy held a meeting with Ms Leddy yesterday to discuss the situation. He was unavailable for comment last night.

A number of staff have requested meetings with the head of radio early next week.

Ms Leddy joined RTE from BBC Radio Foyle just five months ago, but a perceived lack of consultation of her sweeping changes with both high and low-profile staff has left morale in Montrose at a low ebb.

Her toughness was demonstrated when John Kelly was summoned to her office and was told his popular Mystery Train show was being axed before being offered a job on Lyric FM. He declined the position.

In the latest shake-up, many of those moving will take up positions on the new Derek Mooney and Dave Fanning shows which are part of the new autumn schedule. Among those moving who will be familiar to listeners is Tubridy Show roving reporter Katriona McFadden, who will be moving to the Dave Fanning Show.

RTE last night refused to comment on the changes or the manner they were implemented, beyond saying that they were "just part of the development of RTE".

Ms Leddy refused to comment on the changes last night.

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