Sunday 19 January 2020

Newstalk set to look outside for new editor as Harte steps down

Newstalk's editor in chief Garrett Harte
Newstalk's editor in chief Garrett Harte
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Newstalk will cast a wide net in Ireland and among Irish journalists in the UK over the coming months to find a replacement for outgoing editor-in-chief Garrett Harte.

Under Mr Harte's stewardship the station has positioned itself as a national challenger to RTE.

Sources said it will look to make an immediate impact with the appointment of a new editor who has the confidence and ability to set the daily news agenda.

The role is likely to go to an outsider, the sources said, but managers will be open to internal candidates coming forward.

Newstalk chief executive Tim Collins has already begun a process to identify a replacement, with Garrett Harte advising on the recruitment drive.

Yesterday, Newstalk announced that Mr Harte will leave the station in the New Year.

He joined Newstalk at its launch in 2001 and has helped steer its growth into a national station with over 700,000 weekly listeners.

Newstalk's current line up features some of the biggest names in Irish broadcasting, including Pat Kenny, George Hook, Colette Fitzpatrick and the Off the Ball sports team.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Harte said he would remain with the station until the New Year, including to help find his replacement and bed in a new schedule launched in September.

The schedule features a breakfast line-up of Paul Williams, broadcaster Shane Coleman and Munster and Ireland rugby star Alan Quinlan along with TV3's Colette Fitzpatrick, and a new drivetime slot presented by Chris Donohoe and Sarah McInerney.

"It's very important that there is a good transition," Mr Harte said.

He is expected to pursue a number of projects with Newstalk's parent group Communicorp once he formally steps down.

The chairwoman of Communicorp, Lucy Gaffney, said: "I would like to thank Garrett for his immense contribution to the station for the last 15 years.

"He has been a phenomenal editor for our station and was instrumental in building the station from a start-up radio station to the success that it is today," she said.

"On a personal level I would like to thank Garrett and wish him all the best in his future career."

Irish Independent

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