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'Alarmed' RTE radio axes Marty's show

RTE's pop radio station, 2fm, is to undergo a radical overhaul as it fights to win back younger listeners.

Marty Whelan's breakfast show has been axed, while popular weekend DJ Will Leahy is to get a daily drivetime slot as the station tries to lose its "dinosaur" tag.

And the two presenters behind the 'Strawberry Alarm Clock' breakfast show on Dublin's FM104 are moving to 2fm to fill the void left by the demise of 'Marty in the Morning'.

Earlier this week, veteran broadcaster Larry Gogan was moved to a weekend slot as part of the changes.

Among other presenters who got the chop are Orla Rapple and Avril Hoare.

"The changes will bring freshness to an already strong output," head of 2fm John Clarke said in a statement.

"Our new breakfast show will be presented by the two top presenters for this young audience."

The changes in the schedule will come into effect on March 5.

"The last JNLRs [listenership figures] were the final nail in the coffin for the breakfast show," an insider said. "The poor performance was having a knock-on effect on the Gerry Ryan show, so it was decided to bite the bullet."

Mr Clarke has struggled to replace Ryan Tubridy's 'The Full Irish' in the all-important breakfast slot since Tubridy switched to Radio One almost two years ago.

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'The Rick and Ruth Show', presented by Rick O'Shea and Ruth Scott, was axed after six months because of falling listenership, and Mr Whelan (50) was brought in to steady the ship in September 2005.

However, the JNLR figures from late last year showed that his audience had dwindled by 27,000, while Gerry Ryan's had fallen by 28,000.

It is understood that Whelan, who is on holidays and could not be contacted for comment, will be offered a weekend show.

FM104 confirmed yesterday that 'Strawberry Alarm Clock' presenters Colm Hayes and Jim-Jim Nugent were leaving the station. The pair have enjoyed huge success at the annual PPI Radio Awards, where they have won seven awards in the past five years. Their new show on 2fm will start at 6am, which means that 'Orla Rapple's Early Show' from 6am to 7am is also scrapped.

Set to join them in the new 2fm daily schedule is Will Leahy, whose top-rated Saturday show was one of the few bright spots in the last JNLRs for 2fm.

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