Saturday 29 November 2014

RTE's 2fm has two years to get its act together – Curran

Published 17/02/2014 | 02:30

Noel Curran, Director General of RTE. Picture: Tom Burke
Noel Curran, Director General of RTE. Picture: Tom Burke
Bernard O'Shea and Jennifer Maguire

THE drastic changes implemented at RTE's 2fm will have two years to turn the radio station's fortunes around, the head of the state broadcaster has said.

Earlier this month 2fm announced a personnel shake-up, moving several long-standing broadcasters and bringing in new talent, including Westlife's Nicky Byrne.

The controversial changes are part of a strategy to get 2fm, which has struggled for years, to get to a point where it can survive as an independent entity.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, RTE director-general Noel Curran backed the moves, but warned the station had to show improvement within two years or there would be more change to come.

"When I came into the director-general position in 2011 there had been a lot of change in 2fm and I decided to give that time to bed down and see if it worked.

"The changes stabilised the falls, but it wasn't enough and we need to move to the next level with this. So we're having a lot of change in 2fm and it does need to stand on its own two feet and do whatever is required to achieve that.

"I think (2fm head) Dan Healy and (head of radio) Jim Jennings agree with me on that and so I'm very happy with what they are doing. It's very innovative and a lot of change but, frankly, 2fm needs to turn itself around."

Mr Curran is bullish about its future, but warned there had to be clear signs of improvement in its performance quickly.

2fm has been steadily losing money since 2008. Thanks to competition from the likes of Today FM, the youth-oriented station Spin and the substantial presence of local radio, the station has seen its share of the market decline to 7pc.

Its share had been 17pc as recently as 2008, thanks, in no small part, to the popularity of 'The Gerry Ryan Show'.

Mr Curran said there were no "sacred cows" and that everything was "up for grabs".

Irish Independent

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