Friday 15 November 2019

It would be nice to hear a woman in mid-morning slot


Today FM's Louise Duffy is one of only two women on air daily during the week
Today FM's Louise Duffy is one of only two women on air daily during the week
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

So Anton Savage is to be the new Ray D'Arcy - albeit Ray hasn't really gone away. He just went "home".

There's nothing majorly surprising in Today FM's decision, though it's not a bad one, per se.

Savage is a good broadcaster. But it would have been nice to see the independent station take a risk, to show courage and imagination.

I don't want to come down too hard on Savage: this is a commercial operation without the financial comfort blanket of a licence fee.

It probably can't afford to take too great a chance, especially considering its prime earner is the slot that is being filled.

Still, station bosses might have gone left-field. Someone new, fresh, different - not coming from in-house and from a some-way similar talk background.

Gerry Ryan, for instance, leaped from music radio to talk show host - and that worked out pretty well.

If nothing else, bringing in a "different" sort of presenter would have made this new show stand out from the competition.

As it is, we're now looking at four shows, in mid-morning, presented by four men, two in early middle-age, two in late.

There's a definite risk of sameness across the bandwidth, a risk of boredom for listeners - and a risk that Savage will struggle to stand out surrounded by similar beasts.

It would have been particularly nice to have seen Today FM promote a woman.

While not quite as bad as some commercial stations, which seem to have an almost pathological aversion to female presenters, Today FM is still woefully imbalanced.

Only two women are on the air daily during the week - Teresanne O'Reilly on 'Early Breakfast' and Louise Duffy, who co-hosts the 'Tony Fenton Show' in the afternoon. None is in a prime time slot. There are, by contrast, almost 20 men. Anyway, none of that is Savage's fault or responsibility. And he's a good broadcaster: articulate, smart and, most importantly, likeable.

But I'm not quite sure he's suited to this time slot - 'Savage Sunday' seems like a better fit.

Weekends allow a show and presenter more space to breathe; there isn't the same pressure, as in that ratings-chasing mid-morning shark tank.

In all likelihood, the 'Anton Savage Show' will be perfectly fine; but it's hard to see how it will be built into a successful "brand" to match the height of the D'Arcy era.

Irish Independent

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