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the truth is screaming out ... nerdy tubs just isn't a fit for 2fm teens

4FM presenter Niall Boylan's outburst at Ryan Tubridy last week was predictably over the top.

The the late-night talk show host declared, "I'm better than Tubridy", while also suggesting that "you can't justify massive salaries to people who aren't performing".

Treating the last point first, Niall conveniently ignores the fact that at least half of Turbidy's €495k salary is paid to him for hosting the Late Late Show, which continues to be a remarkable ratings success.

And while Niall's opinion about whether he is a superior broadcaster is probably just mischief-making, he does make one very pertinent point.

MATURE

"I don't think he suits that role or station," he says about Ryan's mid morning 2FM slot. "He suits a more mature audience."

Funnily enough, Ryan himself mused last week on that very same point, pondering out loud as to whether he was suited to an audience who favoured "pop tunes and texting", and feeling that his preference for "discussions about concentration camps" wouldn't find favour with this audience.

The ongoing excuses about Ryan's falling listenership figures are, to be honest, wearing a bit thin.

Once again, the fact that Tubridy's show is two hours long as opposed to the former three hour show that Gerry Ryan had, was wheeled out by 2FM as an excuse for the drop in figures.

But this ignores the inescapable fact that Tubridy's figures, at 144,000, are now less than half of what Gerry Ryan commanded in 2010 - 296,000 listeners.

This catastrophic drop cannot be explained simply by the show having lost an hour of its length.

As regards the overall drop for 2FM, station boss Dan Healy has asked for the station's new format to be given more time.

"We have revamped the station entirely," he explained, but it is this very excuse which makes the perseverance with Tubridy all the more baffling.

2FM is going in a new direction. It is trying to attract the younger, less patient and, dare one say it, less willing to be intellectually-stimulated audience that is being snapped up by stations such as Spin 103.8, FM104 and 98FM.

Yet, at the heart of their schedule, they have a self-confessed, bookish nerd who likes discussions about "concentration camps", and finds the whole culture of texting and social media to be anathema to his interests.

The inescapable truth that Ryan Tubridy is out of place on 2FM, and would fit more comfortably into Radio 1, is screaming out.

Yet RTE bosses seem determined, out of sheer pig-headedness, to make a square peg like Ryan fit into a round hole like 2FM.

Much is made about the late Gerry Ryan and the perceived inability on Tubridy's part to fill his shoes. But four years after his death, the world of radio, just like most other forms of media, has undergone seismic changes.

And it is worthwhile reflecting on whether Gerry Ryan himself would have managed to hold onto anything like the near 300,000 listeners he enjoyed five years ago, and whether Gerry would now fit comfortably into the kind of station that 2FM is trying to re-brand itself as. And the answer is probably no.


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