Saturday 20 October 2018

Anchors ahoy

Newstalk presenter moves to afternoon show on RTE

Ken Sweeney

NEWSTALK presenter Claire Byrne is to leave the independent national radio station to present a new afternoon show on RTE television.

The 34-year-old will co-present one of two new programmes, replacing the 'Afternoon Show' on RTE One.

Sources say Ms Byrne informed Newstalk management in recent days of her intention to leave, and will be on RTE television next month.

Although Ms Byrne's co-presenter on the new afternoon programme won't be known until RTE launches its autumn season tomorrow, it is understood he is a male TV presenter already working with the broadcaster.

Ms Byrne's former TV3 colleague Maura Derrane is understood to be the co-presenter of the other afternoon programme, with no confirmation yet who will be filling the last presenter's slot, though Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh, Sheana Keane and Caroline Morahan are all reported to be in the running.

Ms Byrne joined Newstalk in 2006 amid a high-profile legal case with her former employer TV3, which went to court to stop the news anchor broadcasting on the breakfast slot with the radio station.

A native of Mountrath in Co Laois, she began her broadcasting career with Wicklow station East Coast Radio.

She then worked with BBC Radio in Jersey, along with Channel Five and ITV News in the UK before returning to Ireland to join TV3.

Her move to RTE comes amid reports that the Newstalk breakfast show she co-hosted with former Fine Gael minister Ivan Yates is to be extended to 10am.

However, a Newstalk spokesman said last night: "Nothing has been agreed."

The show's listenership fell by 6,000 to 70,000, according to last week's JNLR figures.

Ms Byrne has previously voiced her concerns about the way women in the media are treated.

"The reality of women in broadcasting, particularly television, is that you get tossed aside as you get older," she said. "I am hoping that, as we mature as a society, we will take our lead from the Americans where it is acceptable to be an older woman on television."

In March, meanwhile, she was forced to defend on-air comments she made that 'Britain's Got Talent' finalist Susan Boyle was "a freak" .

Ms Byrne said: "I can't listen to her or watch her. She does my head in. The whole thing is a freak show. She is a freak."

The Newstalk host was rapped on the knuckles by the Broadcasting Authority after a listener complained about her reference to the Scottish singer.

Irish Independent

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