Saturday 18 November 2017

TV3 executive defends RTE's silence on Ryan revelations

Liam Collins

Liam Collins

TV3 boss Ben Frow has defended rival station RTE for closing ranks following the cocaine revelations about tragic broadcaster Gerry Ryan.

"I think it is a shame to concentrate on the negative side of someone who was such a great and brilliant broadcaster. . . I don't know what people want them to do.

"I think they did the right thing, not doing anything about it -- whether that's running away or being sensitive I can't say, but I think it's such a shame that people are concentrating on the negative side of Gerry Ryan."

Mr Frow, TV3's director of programmes, said that the broadcaster "won't be the last" to die in such tragic circumstances and that if he found anyone in his own station using cocaine, he would "have a quiet word" but if they didn't heed that, the station would have to take sterner action. "I live in a drug-free zone" he said. "I just have never come up against it."

Mr Frow was commenting after TV3 revealed viewership figures for its best ever year, with an audience of 930,500 for The X Factor final and an average audience of 547,000 for The Apprentice.

"We just kept moving forward during the year, and I am going as fast as I can with the resources and the people we have," said Mr Frow.

"It is very difficult for us to go up against RTE, it gets the huge bulk of the audience share, but we have very successfully chipped away at it this year."

He said he was also very happy that TV3 was now dominating segments of the schedule in the 15-44 age bracket. "In October we were No 1 in this segment and in November just fractionally behind RTE," he said.

Mr Frow is also happy that 40 per cent of the TV3 schedule is now home-produced programmes like The Truth about Travellers and dating show Take Me Out, which had audiences of 340,000.

"We have a lot more home-produced programmes, either done in the station or working with independent production companies," he said.

He also defended TV3's handling, almost exactly a year ago, of Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's cancer, which it carried as a main news item on St Stephen's Day.

"Of course a lot of people were obviously upset by the broadcast. It was a tough decision to make and in my opinion we made the right call," he added.

Sunday Independent

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