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We need more girl power, says RTE

FORGET Grainne and Kathryn, RTE reckons it hasn't enough female talent.

The broadcaster has admitted that its prime time programmes are missing a woman's touch.

While it has a host of established names, Montrose bosses have gone on the record to say they are "really in need of new blood".

It needs to find "new talent that can win the hearts and minds of a mainstream audience".


The announcement was made on its commissioning website because it is looking for new programme ideas from independent production companies, a spokeswoman told the Herald.

"We would like them to look for new talent," she added. "RTE Lifestyle is not undertaking a talent search at the moment as we only produce one in-house Lifestyle series, Off The Rails, and this has Brendan Courtney and Sonya Lennon attached to it," she pointed out. "The reason that we specify females is that we are aware that many of Lifestyle's favourite expert/presenters are men and we would like to redress the balance and so better serve our entire audience."

The station is aiming to produce programmes that are "attractive to a broad audience" and to ensure younger viewers are not neglected, the commissioning brief explains.

It says it would like to look again at "individuals and small groups on big transformational journeys". RTE adds: "We've got some great talent: Francis and John Brennan, Feargal Quinn, Dermot Bannon, Eddie Hobbs, Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney but we're really in need of new blood and are also particularly lacking in strong female talent. We need the next generation of passionate experts to work their magic on real lives and on the TV audience."

The station will have more 30- minute slots in 2013, so it is looking for companies to find more presenters.

The emphasis of the programmes will shift away from the "whole community and back to strong personal stories".

RTE says hit series, such as Operation Transformation, Local Heroes and Dirty Old Towns, made significant changes within communities.

"This does not have to be writ large but can come in the form of meaningful personal transformations.

"As the recession beds in and becomes a new reality, our programmes must offer real help and hope as well as delivering the kind of entertainment values that a good story, well told, will bring," it adds.