Tuesday 12 December 2017

Four women who could replace George Hook on his Newstalk slot

The broadcaster has been suspended from his duties

Sarah McInerney at TV3's new season launch at The National Concert Hall. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sarah McInerney at TV3's new season launch at The National Concert Hall. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Newstalk may soon have an opportunity to redress the gender imbalance at the station...

A week after he made controversial comments about rape on his new High Noon radio slot on Newstalk, broadcaster George Hook has been suspended from his duties.

"Newstalk can confirm that George Hook has been suspended from his duties at the station," the station said in a statement this morning, adding "The process re: his comments last week is ongoing."

It is unclear for how long Hook (76) will be suspended but it is possible he will not return.

George Hook suspended by Newstalk over controversial rape case comments 

There has been huge public outcry following the comments about a rape in the UK which were made on his show last Friday and fellow Newstalk presenter Dil Wickremasinghe yesterday stated she would not host her Global Village show this weekend in protest.

Singer Mary Coughlan also walked out of her interview with Ivan Yates on his Newstalk show on Monday in protest and called for George Hook to be fired.

Newstalk has also recently been criticised for a lack of female voices on the air.  Since Sarah McInerney moved from weekdays to the weekend there is no female presenter on air during the week.

Should Hook not return to Newstalk, here are four women who could fill his slot and redress the gender imbalance at the station...

 

Dr Ciara Kelly

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General practitioner Dr Ciara Kelly

The GP, broadcaster and columnist is filling in for Hook today.  She's no stranger to his slot as she has been a regular contributor, previously on The Right Hook in the evenings and, more recently, on High Noon.

The back-and-forth between Kelly and Hook has worked well as she often vehemently opposed his views, providing some much-needed balance to the conversation. 

The mum of four also fronts her own weekend show on Newstalk, Alive and Kicking, which covers health and wellbeing in all their guises.  She's a safe pair of hands, highly unlikely to cause controversy, but not exactly a wallflower either.

 

Sarah McInerney

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Sarah McInerney at TV3's new season launch at The National Concert Hall. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins

Until last month, she had been the solitary female voice on daytime Newstalk when she co-presented Drive with Chris Donoghue on the station from 4-7pm on weekdays.  Now she fronts her own show, Between the Lines, on Saturday mornings from 8am. 

While she's not exactly a grumpy old man, McInerney is no shrinking violet.  The former political correspondent for The Sunday Times is unafraid to state her views or pose the pertinent question, and she has been known to call politicians out whenever she was presented with even a whiff of evasiveness.

In the course of her Drive role she was not confined to politics, however, and proved more than equipped to tackle everything from news to lifestyle to popular culture.

On Thursday night she fronted TV3's documentary Ireland's Housing Crisis and would be perfect for the midday slot on Newstalk, which pitches itself as an alternative to RTE.

 

Colette Fitzpatrick

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Colette Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick left the Newstalk Breakfast team in March to return to TV3 where she was made Senior Anchor so it's unlikely she would return to the radio station. 

However, she would undoubtedly be a welcome addition to the daytime line-up, not only as a female voice, but as a hugely experienced journalist. 

When she left Newstalk she also left her role co-presenting Pat Kenny Tonight on TV3.  Her reasons for doing so are unclear but it is likely she would relish the opportunity to get her teeth into her own show - on her terms.

 

Maia Dunphy

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Maia Dunphy Photo: Robbie Reynolds Photography

She has fronted several documentaries for RTE on topics including the baby boom, anxiety, female sexuality, and food, exploring each with a balance of seriousness and irreverence.

Since none of the other weekday shows on Newstalk have a female slant, Dunphy could own High Noon and provide some much needed balance on the weekday schedule.

Pat Kenny defends 'decent man' George Hook over controversial rape comments 

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