Thursday 26 April 2018

Future of Ryan Tubridy’s radio show in the balance

ìA major personal ambition was achieved this week when I officially became a Muppet. I was brought up on these guys and to become a member of such an exclusive club is an honour! Let the caption competitions beginÖî Ryan Tubridy . Photo: Anthony Woods.
ìA major personal ambition was achieved this week when I officially became a Muppet. I was brought up on these guys and to become a member of such an exclusive club is an honour! Let the caption competitions beginÖî Ryan Tubridy . Photo: Anthony Woods.

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

RTE star Ryan Tubridy has hinted for the first time that the future of his morning radio show may be in doubt.

The 37-year-old broadcaster has revealed he is currently in negotiations with RTE about a new contract, but yesterday he admitted he has "not been much help" to the national broadcaster as it attempted to fill the gap left by the death of Gerry Ryan.

The most recent listenership figures brought more disappointment, with Mr Tubridy's 2fm show attracting a daily audience of 172,000 listeners.

Mr Ryan's show -- which was an hour longer -- saw 300,000 tune in every day.

In contrast, Mr Tubridy has attracted huge audiences when filling in on various BBC Radio programmes.

Mr Tubridy said yesterday he was "disappointed" by the latest drop in his 2fm listeners and admitted he could leave if the numbers continued to drop.

"I think everything is on the table. I know I am being very political here, but I have to be because a lot of people are working very hard to make this work," he told the Irish Independent.

"I was disappointed by the radio figures. I'd hoped they would get bigger and they didn't. The programme is very good, the material is strong, the callers are connecting -- but as for listenership, well, clearly that is another issue.

"As for the future of the show? I can only show up for my work and do my job, then others have to decide whether I am good enough at it, or whether it (2fm) is an appropriate place to be.

"I can't necessarily say any more than that, because we are now in 'negotiation-ville' and there might be a more definitive answer in due course," he said.

Mr Tubridy was paid €519,667 by RTE in 2009 -- the last year for which figures are available -- and RTE has said it is seeking a 30pc reduction on salary levels when its biggest names renegotiate contracts.

However, he took over as host of the 'Late Late Show' in September 2009 so it is not known what his current salary range is.

Many critics have claimed that his radio persona is more suited to Radio 1, but Mr Tubridy said he had "no regrets" about taking over the 2fm slot.

He also denied he had been doing the station "a favour" by stepping into the shoes of Mr Ryan following his sudden death in 2010.

"Looking at it now, I don't think I have been a great help to them in that respect, to be honest with you, but I have done my best," he said.

"I was looking forward to a change of scene and 2fm was up for that. I was able to be a bit more 'loose'. I have tried and continue to try, but that's life, some thing's work, some things you struggle with."

He added that he was "reflecting on things" but promised he would remain with the station "tomorrow, next week and throughout the summer".

Leave

Mr Tubridy will take a number of weeks unpaid leave from 2fm over the next three months as he provides holiday cover on BBC Radio 2 for breakfast show presenter Chris Evans.

He presented the slot -- which attracts 10 million listeners every week -- across Britain for the first time earlier this month, and will return for more programmes in June, followed by a two-week stint in July, and a week in August.

"I've covered for Ken Bruce and Graham Norton at the weekend, but doing Chris Evans on weekdays is moving up a notch," he said.

"In terms of listenership, it's getting bigger. You're jumping into bigger pools, it's more terrifying but once you get out and look back, you think 'that was OK'.

The father-of-two didn't rule out a permanent move to BBC radio, but described the possibility as "highly unlikely".

"I have done one day on the Chris Evans show, but its highly unlikely because I have enormous commitments in Ireland, and I think it would be a little bit arrogant and hasty to start forecasting a permanent move.

"I am about to sign off on a contract now for the next few years with RTE, for TV and radio, so I can't comment too much about anything."

Mr Tubridy was speaking as he launched the programme for Clifden's Bicentenary celebrations and plans to celebrate his upcoming birthday in the Co Galway town on May 26, which coincides with local celebrations.

Irish Independent

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