Thursday 27 October 2016

The early bird of radio Chris Donoghue comes home to roost

Eamon Dillon

Published 11/09/2016 | 02:30

Changing of the guard: Chris Donoghue (pictured) takes George Hook's evening slot
Changing of the guard: Chris Donoghue (pictured) takes George Hook's evening slot

Hard-working broadcaster Chris Donoghue, who once juggled breakfast radio with evening television- anchor jobs, is now feeling human again as he moves to the evening airwaves.

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Taking over George Hook's slot on Newstalk with co-presenter Sarah McInerney for the station's current affairs show, Donoghue will at least have time for a leisurely breakfast.

George Hook Photo: Tony Gavin
George Hook Photo: Tony Gavin

His old sparring buddy Ivan Yates announced earlier this year he was planning to leave the station to go travelling with his wife after four years behind the microphone.

"We had an odd-couple thing going on that people latched on to, although it was initially an accident," said Chris, adding that he hopes listeners will enjoy the new partnership.

He's been off the "red-eye" shift since July 1 and admits that he finally "feels human" again.

No longer Ireland's "best-known carer" as Ivan called him, Chris is looking forward to using his new-found freedom to do more documentary style items.

But he has already lost out to his co-presenter Sarah, who bagged a top secret interview with a star from Game Of Thrones, due to air on tomorrow's first show.

The new evening programme will be the station's flagship show, going up against RTE's Drive Time in the ratings war.

"Mary Wilson is very good at what she does and is well established. Matt Cooper is also very good at what he does and is established. We are aware what we have to do," said Chris.

There'll also be some crossover with the Off The Ball sports team, with members of the panel joining Donoghue and McInerney on a regular basis from 6.30pm before beginning their own 7pm slot as normal.

Tom Dunne, who was moved to the night-time schedule after Kenny's arrival at the commercial station from RTE in 2013, will contribute to Newstalk Drive as well.

The station's much-loved roving reporter Henry McKean will also be making appearances in the programme. Newstalk Drive starts tomorrow from 4pm until 7pm and will feature politics, current affairs and the news of the day.

Meanwhile, George Hook's plans to retire were shelved and instead he will present High Noon from midday until 2pm.

Chris and Ivan's old slot will be taken over by a team of four broadcasters, including Shane Coleman, crime journalist Paul Williams, TV3 news anchor Collette Fitzpatrick and former Irish rugby star Alan Quinlan.

In the new schedule, Pat Kenny also gets an extra hour in the programme shake-up and will present his mid-morning show between 9am and midday.

Sunday Independent

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