News Irish News

Friday 20 September 2019

'This is unlike anything we've seen before' - RTÉ staff warned on new financial crisis

Money worries: In the picture on the left (from back from left) is Jacqui Hurley, Maura Derrane, Ryan Tubridy, Fiona Coughlan and (from front) Sarah Greene, Killian Scott and Jennifer Zamparelli at the new season launch. Photo: Collins
Money worries: In the picture on the left (from back from left) is Jacqui Hurley, Maura Derrane, Ryan Tubridy, Fiona Coughlan and (from front) Sarah Greene, Killian Scott and Jennifer Zamparelli at the new season launch. Photo: Collins
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

RTÉ staff have been told that the current financial situation at the national broadcaster is "not like anything we have seen before".

In a note sent to staff yesterday, director general Dee Forbes said that the broadcaster is reassessing everything it does.

Ms Forbes said that the Government's decision to tender for licence collection services was welcome, but said the decision to defer the revised media charge system for five years means the funding crisis at RTÉ will continue.

She thanked staff for "all their efforts across the summer", but said the broadcaster's "capacity to deliver against its existing remit is severely compromised".

Ms Forbes wrote: "The return of 'The Late Late Show' each September heralds the start of a new season at RTÉ and as we saw at the new season launch a couple of weeks ago, we have a lot of great programming and content to look forward to across our platforms in the weeks and months ahead."

She continued:; "With commercial revenues and public funding both significantly below what is needed to operate the organisation in its current form, our current financial situation is not like anything we have seen before.

"As a result, it will no longer be possible to continue as we are. In this context, the executive, together with the RTÉ board, has been reassessing everything we currently do and what we can continue to do in the future. This review is almost complete and we will share details with you as soon as we practically can."

It is expected that more details will be made available to staff in October. RTÉ had no further comment to make last night. The most recent highest-earners list for RTÉ was released late last year. The figures are published annually but two years in arrears.

RTÉ's highest paid presenter for the year 2016 was Ryan Tubridy, host of 'The Late Late Show' and weekday Radio 1 programme, who earned €495,000. His earnings did not increase from 2015.

Ray D'Arcy was the second highest paid presenter, and he saw an increase in earnings from €400,000 in 2015 to €450,000 in 2016 as his TV show aired. It was the biggest increase among the top 10 earners at the State broadcaster that year.

Fellow Radio 1 presenter Joe Duffy remained the third highest paid, with earnings of €389,988, no change from 2015; while Sean O'Rourke's earnings increased by more than €18,000 to €308,964, seeing him rise from sixth highest paid in 2015 to fourth in 2016.

Marian Finucane, meanwhile, who hosts two weekend radio programmes, remained fifth highest paid with her earnings increasing by €5,617 to reach €300,617 for 2016. 'Prime Time' and Radio 1 presenter Miriam O'Callaghan was sixth on the list with earnings of €299,000, no increase from 2015.

Claire Byrne, who began hosting 'Claire Byrne Live' in 2015, earned €216,000 in 2016, an increase of €13,500 on the previous year, although there was no change in position from seventh. Bryan Dobson, who moved from the 'Six One News' to 'Morning Ireland' this year but was co-anchor on 'Six One' in 2016, saw his earnings increase marginally from €195,913 to €198,146, moving from ninth to eighth highest paid for 2016.

George Hamilton was a new addition to the list in 2016 with earnings of €186,195, placing him ninth highest paid, and RTÉ Radio 1 'Drivetime' presenter Mary Wilson was 10th highest paid in 2016 with earnings of €185,679.

In 2015 Nicky Byrne, who hosts the 'Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Green' on 2FM, was eighth highest paid, earning €200,583.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News