RTÉ programme scoops prize at radio awards
Pat Kenny's former show wins gold at the PPI awards for best news story
Broadcasters Pat Kenny and Sean O’Rourke were both absent from the PPI Awards ceremony in Kilkenny last night. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times
A news story broadcast on the Today with Pat Kenny programme won a radio award last night, though its erstwhile presenter was not there for the announcement.
Reporter Brian O’Connell won a PPI (Phonographic Performance Ireland) award for best news story for his account of two eastern European immigrants who lived in a toilet in Ennis, Co Clare which was broadcast on the Today with Pat Kenny show in April.
Kenny, who surprised the Irish radio world by moving from RTÉ Radio One to Newstalk in September, was not present at last night’s PPI awards in Kilkenny which is the big night for radio in Ireland. He had a family engagement.
Kenny moved to Newstalk in September.
The judges said Newstalk showed an “extensive breath of coverage of news, current affairs and sport”.
Sean O’Rourke's former programme News at One programme lost out in the best news programme category to RTÉ Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra - The Snow.
O’Rourke won silver in the news broadcaster of the year category with Sarah Brett of BBC Radio Foyle winning gold.
BBC Radio Foyle won local station of the year ahead of Ocean FM which was also a big winner. The judges praised BBC Radio Foyle’s “passionate presentation”.
The music station of the year went to 98FM which “knows its audience”, according to the judges.
Ocean FM, which serves Sligo, north Leitrim and south Donegal, won five gold awards prompting presenter Jonathan Healy to say they should take a different route to the stage because they were wearing out the carpets.
Dempsey (52) has been a mainstay of Today FM as the presenter of its morning programme since joining them 15 years ago from 2fm.
He is this year’s only recipient of the award and it was presented to him in front of 700 guests in Kilkenny last night.
Dempsey said he was surprised at how emotional he felt at being given an outstanding service award for radio. “I’ve been at it a bloody long time,” he said.
Before Pat Kenny’s shock move from RTÉ Radio One to Newstalk this summer, Dempsey’s move from 2fm to Today FM was the transfer which still reverberates across the radio market.
Dempsey confessed it was a “culture shock” moving from RTÉ to the independent sector.
“It was a very good decision,” he said, “It was unusual at the time. Pat Kenny’s move was a fairly big scoop. There are certain things that you get used to when you are in RTÉ. If you need something printed, you can get someone to do it. “He was probably used to his team being so immense in RTÉ. It might take him a while to get used to it.”
He paid tribute to his sidekick of many years, Mario Rosenstock, and said their relationship was like a “marriage”.
Among those who paid a recorded tribute was Today FM owner Denis O’Brien.