Friday 23 March 2018

Radio must think outside box

Newstalk's gutsy take on discourse has easily established it as more than an equal to RTE, says Eilis O'Hanlon

THE headline on Thursday's News-talk was that David Norris was canvassing support for a resumption of his presidential campaign but would only formally announce his candidacy on "a television show tomorrow night".

There was something magisterial about that dismissive epithet "a television show", considering what was being referred to is one of Ireland's most famous and longest running programmes -- albeit one that most viewers seem perfectly able to manage without in its current lacklustre incarnation.

Why should Newstalk give free publicity to its rivals? In a few short years, the Dublin-based station has easily established itself as more than an equal to the establishment forerunner, despite a massive divergence in budgets. It has done it by nurturing unexpected talent. Who'd have thought that George Hook would become the scion of drivetime radio? Yet it's hard to imagine early evenings now without the gruff granddaddy of Irish broadcasting finding something new to grumble about.

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