Monday 18 November 2019

'There will be lots of emotions' - RTÉ Gold presenter Will Leahy on closure of digital radio network

Presenter Will Leahy Picture: Brian McEvoy
Presenter Will Leahy Picture: Brian McEvoy
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

RTÉ Gold presenter Will Leahy has reacted live on air to the news of the forthcoming closure of the station.

As part of a financial restructuring plan to save €60 million over the next three years, RTÉ has announced 200 job losses and a 15 per cent reduction in fees for its top on-air presenters.

The plan also includes the closing of RTE's digital radio network including radio stations RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.

Leahy has presented his morning show on RTÉ Gold since 2017 and arrived to work this morning to the news that the station will close.

Rick O'Shea Photo: Ronan Lang
Rick O'Shea Photo: Ronan Lang

"We will cease to exist, from when I'm not sure," he told listeners. "Today could be our last day. Genuinely I don't know."

He added, "I read the papers as much as you do and that's all that we know."

Leahy has worked with RTÉ since 1996 and has hosted several shows including The Saturday Show, More Music Drive and Weekend Drive on RTE 2FM where he worked for 16 years.

He also presented documentaries on RTÉ Radio 1.

Leahy told listeners that RTÉ Gold broadcasts from the same building as Lyric FM in the heart of Limerick city.

Lyric FM will no longer broadcast from Limerick but will instead broadcast from studios in Cork and Dublin.

"It's a beautiful building in the heart of the city, just off O'Connell St," he said. "It's on the fifth floor of a multistorey car park building so we overlook lots of old Limerick."

He said that only he and Marty Whelan's producer were in the building early this morning and it was "eerily quiet".

"I'm sure lots of staff will be in over the next hour or so and there will be lots of emotions and things going on," he said.

Will Leahy joined RTÉ Gold at the same time as Rick O'Shea, who also moved from 2FM.

Today is their first anniversary on the station.

O'Shea last week announced he will be hosting The Book Show on RTÉ Radio 1 in the coming weeks. He also runs Ireland's largest book club.

Speaking to his listeners this morning on his show, which follows Leahy's, he said, "We're not being coy, we don't know when [the closure is] going to happen."

He said he "found out with the rest of the country" late last night and asked listeners to "make the most of us while we're here because RTE Gold will be closing in the very, very near term foreseeable future. These things happen."

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