Tuesday 12 December 2017

Changes make sale of Newstalk less likely

Tim Collins
Tim Collins
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Communicorp announced sweeping structural changes to staff yesterday, including merging sales teams and the elimination of CEO posts at radio stations Newstalk, Spin and 98fm, the Irish Independent understands.

The changes will bind Newstalk more closely to the other Communicorp assets and makes a sale of the unit less likely, insiders said.

Newstalk CEO Tim Collins is to stand down and is understood to be leaving the business, a year after taking up the post. The CEO posts at 98fm and Spin will also go in the restructuring.

It is understood the head of Today FM Keith McCormack may move into a new role as head of Communicorp's music-focused stations, including Today FM.

A second new role as chief of content - which it is understood will include overseeing Newstalk's output, is being created. Ultimately, that content business is likely to become a hub that will feed news, sport and digital content to the rest of the group.

Communicorp declined to comment.

The changes are the most wide-ranging since British media executive Adrian Serle took over as Communicorp CEO in November last year, replacing Gervaise Slowey.

Tim Collins joined Newstalk last year from Sligo's Ocean FM. His departure follows that of Newstalk editor-in-chief Garrett Harte, who left last year. It comes a week after the 'Irish Times' replaced editor Kevin O'Sullivan with Paul O'Neill.

In 2016 Newstalk announced a major schedule overhaul, with a new Breakfast team of Shane Coleman, Paul Williams and former Ireland rugby star Alan Quinlan, and initially Colette Fitzpatrick, plus a new drive-time slot presented by Chris Donoghue and Sarah McInerney.

Pat Kenny kept his mid-morning slot, while George Hook moved to a lunchtime show. Ivan Yates returned to Newstalk this month, with a new Sunday show.

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