independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Kim Bielenberg: A promising start for RTE’s Morning Edition, but why is it not on earlier?

RTÉ's new live morning show went on air this morning with a large chunk devoted to a pre-recorded interview with Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Morning Edition, presented by Keelin Shanley, is a mix of news, sport, business, topical discussion and entertainment.



While the Gates interview was pre-recorded in the middle of last week, most of the programme will go out live on RTE 1 and RTE News Now between 9 am and 11 am.



Keelin Shanley was given an early test of her composure in the first hour when there was technical hitch. A report from Midlands correspondent Ciaran Mullooly suddenly came to a shuddering halt.



The former Prime Time reporter Shanley was cool under pressure, however, and quickly moved on to the next item.



The programme has a more formal tone than other morning-show formats with guests and presenters mostly seated behind desks.



It focuses on hard news more than the breezier Ireland AM on TV3. There was little of the banter-on-the-sofa atmosphere of the TV3 show, but that was never likely to be the case with an opener featuring the dry-as-dust Bill Gates.



The programme will help to give News Now the feel of a live news channel.



The early response on Twitter was positive, with viewers expressing the view that a live morning show on RTE was long overdue. The all-woman panel that reviewed the morning papers was also welcomed.



Inevitably there were gripes, however. Gerard Cunninham, @faduda, said it was “very news lite, like Nationwide with a lick of paint and a hashtag”.



There is also some puzzlement that RTE chose to schedule the show at 9am, rather than in a breakfast-time slot. By going on air in mid-morning, the station is losing a huge potential audience.



Perhaps RTE executives felt that if they went on air earlier they would have to throw the kitchen sink at it to win viewers from TV3 and the news networks.



Overall, apart from the technical hitch, it was a smooth start for Keelin Shanley’s live show, and it should really come into its own when there are big breaking news stories.



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