TODAY FM has suffered another blow following the departure of Ray D’Arcy – as long-time producers Will Hanafin and wife Ray’s Jenny Kelly follow him to Montrose.
The broadcasting world was left in shock last year after it was announced that D’Arcy was returning to the state broadcaster after a 15 year absence.
Now RTE has unveiled two more high profile recruitments – as Today FM producers Will Hanafin and Ray’s wife Jenny follow him to Dublin 4.
Jenny, who took a step back from the TodayFM show last year to focus on the couple’s young family, made the announcement on Twitter this afternoon.
New year ... New desk! It's going to be a fun 2015
“New year ... New desk! It's going to be a fun 2015”, she tweeted, along with a picture of her new desk.
D’Arcy will take the helm of the 3.00 to 4.30pm slot after Derek Mooney decided to end his popular show to take up a new role as 'wildlife executive' across RTE television and radio.
D'Arcy originally left the state broadcaster to helm his own radio show at Today FM in 2000, having spent 13 years presenting mainly children's TV programmes at RTE.
Long-time co-producer and presenter Mairead Farrell also left The Ray D'Arcy Show in September to take up a role as producer on the earlier Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, which would allow her to spend more time in the afternoons with her son.
The latest JNLR figures, released last month on revealed Ray's listenership on Today FM had dropped 2,000 to 221,000 compared to the previous quarter's figures.
Speaking about the move Today FM chief executive, Peter McPartlin, said last month: “We are disappointed to lose Ray from our great line-up of talent. I understand from Ray that at this time in his career he wishes to work on television again with the State Broadcaster.
I want to thank him for his great contribution and wish him and his family well with his new venture. We move on as a station and begin the process of establishing another great show on Today FM.”
The station's official account tweeted: "Yes, the news is true. Ray's leaving the station. We all him the best & thank for him for the laughter, tears & amazing radio. #raydarcy".
Head of RTÉ Radio 1, Tom McGuire said at the time: “It’s great to welcome Ray D’Arcy back to RTÉ and I look forward to him being at the heart of our afternoon schedule on Radio 1.
"I know that Ray will take the torch from Liveline and it will shine brightly for our audience right through to 4.30. As a broadcaster, his programme has been one of the top performers in the country and I know that listeners to Radio 1 and Ray D’Arcy will really enjoy the latest addition to an exciting RTÉ Radio 1 schedule in 2015.”
Ray D’Arcy said: “I'm really looking forward to joining RTÉ in 2015. I'm excited about the upcoming challenges in both radio and television. To be honest, it feels a little bit like coming home.”
As departures go, Ray D’Arcy’s decision to return “home” to RTE is hardly as earth-shattering as Pat Kenny’s move to Newstalk, but it certainly leaves Today FM with a major headache.
Today FM presenter Ian Dempsey addressed the departure of fellow presenter Ray D'Arcy from the station on his radio show this morning by telling his listeners that "nobody has died".