Monday 27 May 2019

Radio stars face 10pc cut in pay after fall in advertising

Ian Dempsey and Ray D'Arcy, Today FM's top broadcasters, will
have 10pc axed from their wages in a job-saving initiative.
Ian Dempsey and Ray D'Arcy, Today FM's top broadcasters, will have 10pc axed from their wages in a job-saving initiative.

Stephen O'Farrell and Anne-Marie Walsh

TOP paid commercial broadcasters Ian Dempsey and Ray D'Arcy are among 300 radio staff facing a 10pc pay cut.

Staff at Denis O'Brien's Communicorp Group were told yesterday that their wages will be reduced by between five and 10pc following a slump in advertising.

Employees at Dublin's 98, Newstalk, Spin, Spin Southwest and Today FM earning less than €50,000 will take a five per cent cut in pay, with a 10pc drop for anyone over this threshold.

Sources revealed that the pay cuts will be imposed across the board and will affect over 300 staff -- including top broadcasters and DJs -- but it is unclear when they will be implemented.

An insider said the cuts are being imposed to "protect as many jobs as possible" after advertising revenue dropped across the media sector in the last few months.

The source said management hoped the proposals would be accepted on the basis that they are designed specifically to protect jobs".

Seamus Dooley of the National Union of Journalists said he was "very concerned at this attack on pay".

"We have not been advised of the pay cuts but would be concerned at cuts in the commercial independent radio sector which is among the lowest paid and therefore a 10pc cut would be very extreme," he said.

"Coming on the heels of Denis O'Brien's attacks on named journalists in interviews at the weekend, we would be very concerned at this attack on pay.

"It raises fundamental questions about his approach to media investment."

Control

Mr Dooley said he was also concerned at the development after the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland found earlier this week that the businessman does not have control of an undue number of media outlets.

It made the finding following an investigation into his shares in radio, television, newspapers and magazines.

The commission said it was satisfied that Mr O'Brien's interest in Independent News and Media, Newstalk, Today FM, Spin 103.8 and Dublin's 98 did not constitute over-dominance of the market, in terms of his ability to influence opinion- forming power.

A spokesperson for Communicorp declined to comment last night.

The latest pay cuts at the media group comes after similar wage cuts at other media organisations, including RTE and the 'Irish Times'.

RTE staff last month voted to accept pay cuts ranging from 4.5pc to 12.5pc, depending on their pay.

The national broadcaster, which was the first public sector body to vote for a pay cut, said the measure was necessary to avoid job losses in the light of an expected €68m drop in revenue.

Dublin-based Communicorp Group was found in 1989 by Denis O'Brien and employs over 800 employees in seven countries worldwide.

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