'My feeling is that it’s the end of George Hook's career with Newstalk' - Ivan Yates
Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates say they have no concerns about having to censor their opinions in the wake of the George Hook controversy, as his views are not something they support.
The two broadcasters, whose radio stations are owned by the same company, Communicorp, will join forces this evening to co-anchor Vincent Browne’s replacement programme, The Tonight Show, on TV3.
Yates, who also fronts a show on Newstalk, said he “utterly repudiates” the remarks made about rape victims by Hook – who was suspended last Friday – and reckons it could be the end of the former rugby pundit’s career with the station.
Today FM presenter Cooper said he wasn’t nervous as a broadcaster about the effect of the scandal.
“It’s not making me nervous because I would have never behaved on the radio the way that George Hook regularly behaves on the radio,” he said.
“I think anyone who is familiar with my radio programme would know that’s not the way I do things. If the TV programme had been on air last week, I’m sure we would have covered the issue in considerable depth.
“If we had been on air on TV3 we would have covered it. I don’t think Ivan would say things in the way that George Hook says things, and I certainly wouldn’t.”
Yates said he completely disagreed with Hook’s comments, and said the internal investigation currently under way “may lead to termination”.
“I feel very sorry for him and sad for him but I utterly repudiate not only his remarks but his views, and they were wholly inappropriate,” he said. “But the process is under way and I don’t want to prejudice that.
“The sense I have of it is that it’s the end of his career with Newstalk. I don’t know if it’s the end of his career or not. Professionally, I think it was wrong.”
Yates and Cooper will be co-presenting The Tonight Show on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at 11pm in the wake of Browne retiring.
Cooper said the show will be a joint effort, despite both having strong personalities.
“Ivan may have strong opinions, he may draw a few out of me as we go along the way as well, but I think there will be a very balanced approach taken between the two of us,” he said.
“We are co-presenters. This is a team effort. It’s not one person and a sidekick.”