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Thursday 23 November 2017

Formidable woman made her mark during testing time

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Claire Duignan is a formidable woman – and she has needed to draw on all that skill and character on being appointed managing director of RTE Radio in December 2008.

When she took over, RTE was relatively prosperous. The swingeing cuts were some way in the future.

RTE radio was top dog in late 2008, with JNLR's top 10 made up entirely of the station's shows.

Then, of course, there was Gerry Ryan: a ratings behemoth whose daily show drew a colossal 317,000 listeners every day.

Ryan has never been replaced since his untimely passing in April 2009. In fairness to Duignan, it may simply be that he couldn't be replaced. But there's also been recent good news, ratings-wise – 'Liveline' is actually up by about 30pc since she took over, while 'Morning Ireland' and 'News at One' also increased marginally.

Statistics only tell part of the story. Radio 1's current affairs bears comparison with the best in the world; while Duignan maintained, if not improved, standards across drama, comedy, sport and science.

On the whole, Claire Duignan did about as well as could humanly be expected in such a thankless job. Don't bet against her meeting the next challenge, whatever that may be.

Irish Independent

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