Sunday 19 November 2017

Eilish O'Hanlon: Kenny trumps RTE in battle of bailout exit

Pat Kenny hits 66 today
Pat Kenny hits 66 today
Eilish O'Hanlon

Eilish O'Hanlon

Newstalk turns into a different station after dark. What is Off The Ball anyway? They might as well be talking Double Dutch for all the sense it makes to me. Same each Monday, when my time is spent switching between Morning Ireland and Newstalk Breakfast in order to avoid discussions of whatever game happened to be played across the water the day before. Sometimes it all goes horribly wrong and the Premiership babble is happening simultaneously. Then Lyric rides to the rescue.

It's a reminder, though, how often I "move the dial", to borrow a phrase, and how curious it is that radio listeners are still strangely conservative about straying from familiar turf. It's not hard to switch, most of us have preset radios now, and it's not as if we're reluctant to change TV channels. That tendency to stay put certainly suits RTE because it's surely only habit which keeps four times more current affairs vultures tuning in to Today With Sean O'Rourke, even when he's drier than dust, rather than switching back and forth to The Pat Kenny Show.

Late on Thursday morning, for example, as Newstalk was broadcasting live from the Dail, where Enda Kenny was announcing Ireland's exit from the bailout, O'Rourke was still interviewing the author of a new book about Laurence Olivier. By the time RTE caught up with what was happening, the Taoiseach had finished speaking, meaning O'Rourke had to backtrack on the details before he could even begin any analysis, by which point Pat Kenny was well into a fascinating, if grim, interview with economist David McWilliams.

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