Radio host Barry to take Kennedy's hot seat
RADIO host Chris Barry is to make a return to the station he once left in a blaze of legal rows.
He is to succeed Adrian Kennedy on the FM104 Phone Show, the Herald can reveal.
Fifteen years after walking out to rival station 98fm in a move that resulted in a bitter court case, the presenter is to replace Kennedy, who in turn replaced him in 1998.
Radio insiders say Barry could be on air as early as Monday week after signing with the station to replace the departing Phone Show hosts who are leaving for a new daytime show on 98fm.
Remembered for his popular late night show in the '90s, Barry, now in his mid-50s, will face a tough job filling the shoes of Kennedy and producer Jeremy Dixon.
One insider said: "Chris Barry will appeal to some of the Phone Show's audience but the name will mean absolutely nothing to a lot of Adrian Kennedy's young listeners.
"It's so far back that in 1998 when Chris left FM104, they didn't do text messaging on the Phone Show because it hadn't been invented."
Barry will also face a stiff challenge from Kennedy's rival Niall Boylan whose late night chat show on 4fm stands to benefit from Kennedy's departure.
Producer Mike Hogan said: "FM104's loss is certainly going to be our gain. We want Adrian Kennedy's audience. We do the most controversial night time show in the country and we want Phone Show listeners to come over and give us a try."
Radio sources say that Boylan had also been approached by FM104 to host the Phone Show but signed a two-year contract with 4fm earlier this year.
An insider said: "FM104 had a tough job on their hands replacing Adrian Kennedy because there are so few broadcasters that can do this sort of late night radio. Chris Barry was an obvious choice."
However, FM104 took Barry to court back in 1998 when he attempted to join rivals 98fm. In the intervening years he has continued to work in radio and as a media consultant.