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'Tighten your belts' RTE's €250k boss tells stars and staff

RTE staff have been warned to tighten their belts even further -- by their €250,000-a-year boss.

Noel Curran, RTE's director general, told staff including ordinary workers and stars such as Ryan Tubridy and Marian Finucane to "adapt to new economic realities".

In the wake of the McCarthy Report, Mr Curran has issued a memo asking staff to help ensure that the station does not "stagnate in difficult times".

Colm McCarthy's assessment has threatened a further cut to the money available for the national broadcaster. Mr McCarthy wants to see more of the money collected through the licence fee to be diverted to commercial station's such as TV3.

"The portion of the licence fee allocated to the Broadcasting Fund, currently just 7pc, should be increased substantially, in order to better equalise conditions of competition between RTE and private broadcasters," the report says.

Mr Curran, who took up his €250,000 post in February, said that "the biggest single issue" now facing RTE is a "financial one".

"Clearly the economic climate is the most difficult in several generations. As you know, the reduction in our public funding and the downturn in commercial revenue have left the organisation facing a substantial deficit this year.

"A lot of work is currently underway across RTE to reduce this deficit," he wrote in the email to almost 2,300 workers.

He claimed a significant amount of progress had been made in the past two years in reducing overall expenditure.

RTE is set to lose around €25m this year alone as it struggles to fight back against a restructuring of the licence fee, poor advertising revenue and the costs associated with digital television.

Bosses say there will be more reductions in operating costs this year and next.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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