Controversial Cork radio presenter leaves 96FM for rival

Red FM says Neil Prendeville wanted a new challenge after over 20 years with station

Radio presenter Neil Prendeville pictured, with flowers from supporters, leaving the studios of 96FM following his return on the airwaves after an incident in 2010. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Radio presenter Neil Prendeville pictured, with flowers from supporters, leaving the studios of 96FM following his return on the airwaves after an incident in 2010. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 09:39

Controversial Cork radio presenter Neil Prendeville has quit Cork’s main commercial radio station the UTV-owned 96FM to join its main rival, Red FM after contract discussions with 96FM reportedly broke down.

Mr Prendeville, whose popular morning show on 96FM had over 100,000 listeners, made headlines in October 2010 following an incident on Aer Lingus flight from Cork to London and, after a period off-air, he resumed his broadcasting career and increased his listenership.

Staff at 96FM were informed by email yesterday evening that Mr Prendeville was leaving the station and he is due to be replaced for the immediate future by chief news reporter PJ Coogan, who deputised for him during his absence following the incident in 2010.

Always outspoken and with a loyal listenership, Mr Prendeville (52) later spoke about how difficult that entire episode had been not just for him but also for his wife and two children when he became the focus of media attention.

Red FM, which is part owned Landmark Media Investments which also owns the Irish Examiner, announced that Mr Prendeville is to host the station’s 9am-12pm talk show – the same slot he occupied at 96FM when he will now be going head-to-head with his replacement.

According to a Red FM statement, Mr Prendeville “took the decision to leave 96FM as he wanted a new challenge and is delighted to take his place in the ‘hot seat’ which will see him behind the microphone every morning from 9am to 12pm tackling the topics that matter to Cork.”

Diarmuid O’Leary chief executive of Cork’s RedFM said: “This is a very exciting time for Cork’s RedFM, we have recognised the serious talent that Neil Prendeville is, with over 25 years of experience, and we believe he will make a massive difference to the radio station.

“Neil has a natural understanding of the issues that matter to Cork – he is always topical and evokes a strong response from listeners when he tackles issues head on,” said Mr O’Leary, adding that the Neil Prendeville Show will begin broadcasting on Red FM on March 31st.

“Neil is a phenomenal broadcaster and we are delighted to be able to offer him a fresh challenge in his radio career and we’re thrilled he’ll be joining an already established talented team here at RedFM – it’s a great match for Cork.”