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Ex-Late Late man tipped to run RTE radio

AN RTE man who has worked with all three 'Late Late Show' presenters is tipped to take over as managing director of RTE Radio after it was announced that Clare Duignan is to leave the post in June.

Jim Jennings, head of RTE Radio 1, will take over an interim role as MD of RTE Radio, but insiders are already tipping him for the job permanently.

"Jim has a huge breadth of experience across radio and TV.

"As a researcher he worked for Gay Byrne on the Late Late Show and then in senior roles, including executive producer, with both Pat Kenny and Ryan Tubridy.


"He would be a very popular choice," one RTE insider told the Herald.

Starting his career as a researcher on The Pat Kenny Show, Jennings was also involved in the 2006 revamp of the TV coverage Rose of Tralee programme.

Although RTE has said it will hold a public competition for the MD post in the coming months, another station source ruled out candidates from abroad for the job, after the appointment of BBC executive Kevin Bakhurst as MD of News and Current Affairs last year.

"This isn't the sort of job you could give to someone coming in from the BBC, because as head of RTE Radio you are asked to make calls all the time, and for that you need an in-depth knowledge of Irish history and politics, as well as Irish culture," said the source.

RTE staff had heard rumours that Ms Duignan was to leave the station before Christmas, but many were shocked to learn she would be gone by June.

"Making the decision to leave RTE is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have a huge commitment to RTE, to its people and what it stands for," Ms Duignan said yesterday.



"But I now want to make the space to pursue the many other opportunities which are available to me and which I have had to let pass up to now."

Noel Curran, RTE Director General, said: "Clare Duignan has been a key figure in RTE. She spearheaded the development of the Independent Production Unit in RTE Television, where her contribution was industry-changing."