D'Arcy drops hint that he may quit Today FM for RTE

Cormac Murphy

RAY D'Arcy has dropped the biggest hint yet that he may be about to quit Today FM for RTE.

The radio presenter said today "things have changed" since he revealed last week that he did not feel right about leaving Today FM.

He had said in an interview he would only leave the station in "exceptional circumstances".

But speaking to the Herald today, Ray suggested he may be open to considering other offers. He said "it would have to be exceptional circumstances (for him to leave) and then you're into semantics".

He added: "You don't know what's around the corner. Things have even changed since I spoke to Louise [Finn in The Dubliner last week]."

Asked whether he meant the impending departure of Today FM chief executive Willie O'Reilly to RTE, Ray said "and other things".

The other big news to come out of Today FM was the axing of journalist Sam Smyth from his weekend radio slot.

"Things have changed here. They are constantly changing," Ray said.

But he added: "I'm very happy where I am.

"Willie O'Reilly was here since we were here. He has been a huge part of the organisation. That's important. Your relationship with your boss is very important. I'm not going to go any further than that," Ray said. He was speaking in the wake of the latest JNLR figures showing that his listenership has grown in the last three months by 16,000, reaching an audience of 228,000.

It means he is far outstripping Ryan Tubridy who is on air at the same time on 2fm.

Ray attributed the success of his show to "hard work", "giving people what they want" and "hanging around long enough".

"We're on the air 11 years now in September. You develop a relationship with your audience. You can't expect to do that overnight. We're delighted with the figures, over the moon."

Ray said in the interview that RTE approached him last year and a number of times over the years.

The JNLR figures show that most of RTE's high-profile weekend broadcasters experienced falls, with Marian Finucane, Miriam O'Callaghan and George Lee recording sharp declines.

Ms Finucane saw the number of listeners tuning in to her Saturday morning programme fall from 403,000 last year to 335,000. Her Sunday show stayed at same figure, however.

Ms O'Callaghan's Miriam Meets programme, which is broadcast on Sunday mornings, fell from 279,000 12 months ago to 255,000 this month.

George Lee's The Business saw a 34,000 year-on-year decline in listeners, down from 347,000 in October 2010 to 313,000 over the 12 months.

RTE said Radio 1 continued "to reign as the nation's favourite radio station".