Sunday 18 February 2018

Miriam O'Callaghan: 'Primetime team were oblivious to technical glitch'

Faulty equipment to blame to 13-minute long fault

Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan has stated that the production team behind Monday night’s edition of ‘Primetime’ were oblivious to the technical glitch that resulted in the same phrase being repeated incessantly during the course of the show.

During an interview with Russian Ambassador Maxim Peshkov a loop of the phrase; “Irish Ukranians, not Russians” was repeated for over ten minutes.

RTE have since clarified that faulty equipment was behind the glitch. The equipment was installed in December as part of the RTE One HD project.

“Although the phrase was being repeated in many homes around Ireland, the people who were working on the programme weren’t aware the fault was happening because in studio you couldn’t hear it,” O’Callaghan told the Irish Independent.

“Although I love live TV that must be a very, very stressful situation for anyone to be in.”

O’Callaghan said only some TV sets were affected by the glitch and added that she hadn’t seen the episode as she was nursing her sick child.

 “It is a serious technical problem that affected not all homes in the country. I wasn’t watching it - my youngest boy has a chest infection and I took him up to bed so I didn’t see it. I was asleep.

“I woke up quite late to a text message from my child minder but I didn’t know anything,” she explained.

RTE's Managing Director of News and Current Affairs, Kevin Bakhurst, issued an apology to viewers after the broadcast and O’Callaghan says the issue is now being explored at a senior level. During the incident, Mr Bakhurst tweeted the fault was not acceptable and was infuriating.

“I wasn’t there, I am not a technician,” she said. “I am only here talking about it because I’m launching a charity and I always try and answer questions because I ask questions for a living.

“But I don’t know anything. It’s being investigated at a senior level and everyone in RTE is very, very sorry it happened.”

The full interview with Mr Peshkov will be available on the RTE Player later today.

Irish Independent

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