Kenny offers to fill Tubridy slot with earlier start
PAT Kenny wants to move into the 9am slot being vacated by Ryan Tubridy on RTE Radio One.
The 'Today' presenter has let management in Montrose know he is willing to start his radio show an hour earlier each morning in a bid to boost his ratings, the Irish Independent has learned.
Such a move would allow Kenny's show to tap into the huge audience of 'Morning Ireland', the most popular radio show in the country.
"Pat is very enthusiastic about starting an hour earlier, and it is something that management is seriously considering," a source said yesterday.
"First of all it would keep him happy, and secondly it would save RTE money as they wouldn't have to pay big money for a replacement for Tubridy. So it's win-win.
"But there is an added reason in that the 'flow' of programming -- from the agenda setting of 'Morning Ireland' and into Kenny's forensic analysis -- would be better."
Ryan Tubridy is due to move to 2fm in August in order to replace the late Gerry Ryan.
A move to 9am would put Kenny in direct competition with the man who replaced him on 'the Late Late Show'. Joe Duffy has also expressed an interest in the slot.
It is thought that an earlier start for Kenny would also mean an earlier finish, with the 11-12 slot being opened up, possibly for documentaries or lighter programming.
Efforts to contact Kenny were unsuccessful yesterday, and RTE has said that it will not be drawn on speculation before the new Radio One schedule is officially announced in August. However, Kenny has previously been on air at 9 each morning until a decision was taken in the late '90s that a "lighter" touch was needed to break up a news-centred schedule, and Marian Finucane was parachuted in.
Tubridy replaced her in 2005, but while his show has done well in the ratings following an inauspicious start, it has been criticised in some quarters for its inconsequential, random nature.
It is understood that RTE management is now keen on the 9am slot having a harder edge.
"Pat is eager to start an hour earlier because it would give more control to the flow and what he can cover," the source said.
"He is also adamant that there must be something 'strong' in the slot as Tubridy, who had a strong listenership, could take some of his fanbase to 2fm with him.
"Kenny isn't actively campaigning but has let it be known that he would be interested."
There is some concern in RTE that if Tubridy's move to 2fm is not a success it could damage both stations, and management is therefore keen on having a 'big' name to secure his former audience on Radio One.
It is thought that management are reluctant to move Duffy from his successful 'Liveline' programme.
Other names linked with replacing Tubridy include Katherine Thomas and Derek Mooney, but an earlier slot for Kenny is almost a guaranteed ratings success.
While all the morning shows on Radio One fell in the latest JNLR audience ratings, 'Morning Ireland' remained the most popular show in the country with 445,000 listeners.
'The Tubridy Show' has 352,000 listeners, while Kenny's show has 330,000.
Kenny continued to be the station's highest-paid presenter in 2008 -- the last year for which figures have been released -- when he took home €950,976.
Gerry Ryan was the second highest- paid presenter in 2008, with a salary of almost €630,000.