Entertainment Radio

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Mairead Ronan says there is 'no bad blood' between her and 'fired' presenter Muireann O'Connell

Incoming Today FM presenter Mairead Ronan said she and ousted Muireann O'Connell "had a good laugh about it" in phone call after the news broke

Mairead Ronan will present her very own prime time radio show from September. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Mairead Ronan will present her very own prime time radio show from September. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Mairead Ronan has been handed the plum lunchtime slot at Today FM
Mairead Ronan is ready to take on her new broadcasting challenge next month. Photo: Marc O’Sullivan
Mairead and Louis
Mairead & Louis Ronan at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh Racecourse, Co. Kildare. Picture: Anthony Woods

Evie Kearney

Mairead Ronan has insisted there is "no bad blood" between her and "fired" radio presenter Muireann O'Connell after it was announced she would be taking over Today FM's lunchtime slot.

"I called her and she picked up straight away and we were on the phone for about twenty minutes and actually had a good laugh about it, we genuinely did," she told VIP magazine.

"It is tough but anyone who has a media career knows that this is what happens; you are always kind of prepared for it."

The Dancing With The Stars winner is set to host a two-hour slot from noon-2pm, replacing Muireann's Lunchtime show that she had secured in January 2018.

Mairead Ronan has been handed the plum lunchtime slot at Today FM
Mairead Ronan has been handed the plum lunchtime slot at Today FM

Following the announcement, Muireann told her Twitter followers she was "embarrassed" to be let go from the station, but later tweeted an image of her on FaceTime with Mairead.

"Hello lovely people! I have been fired from @TodayFM It’s all good. Like, it’s embarrassing and I’m a bit sad but I love almost everyone in that station and wish them all the best in the future. @cocomairead will be great!" she tweeted.

Mum of three Mairead will be familiar to listeners having previously left the station two years ago, saying she "needed to work for other people."

She had worked for the station for 15 years as a producer for Ray D'Arcy and The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show.

"I had worked for the same company my entire adult life," she said.

"It was a really tough decision and it was one I didn't make lightly. Work defined me and I love radio. But I have never regretted it and now look at me, back!"

The RTÉ presenter said she is "over the moon" at finally having her own Today FM show due to hit the airwaves in September .

"It is something I have always dreamed of but something I never thought would happen. It's a huge honour for me to be asked back to Today FM after leaving two years ago. I have grown up in Today FM," she said.

"I have been there since I left college and to be there now, a married mum-of-three with my own show, it feels lovely."

But the 39-year-old also said she doesn't feel any pressure following in Muireann's footsteps, despite the public reaction to the shake up.

Mairead told the Sunday Independent that she doesn't see herself replacing Muireann at the station.

"I don't feel like that no, because I'm not going to be doing the exact same thing. I can't be Muireann, I don't want to be Muireann and I don't really see myself as replacing her," she said.

"There's only a certain amount of these jobs in the country. I'm not the one who makes that call in this case and I won't be the one who makes the call should it not work out for me.

"It's a bit like sports, just because you've been put on a subs bench it doesn't mean it's over, it just means one coach doesn't like you and there will be another opportunity," she added.

Today FM came under criticism when its latest shake-up announced that both Muireann O'Connell and Louise Duffy would be departing the station.

Just days after the announcement, Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) figures revealed that Muireann's Lunchtime show had enjoyed a boost of 3,000 listeners since June 2018.

Mairead Ronan's new lunchtime show is set to begin in September and will air from noon-2pm.

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