Radio station broadcasts 'state of the nation' editorial

Wed, Dec 9, 2009, 00:00

NEWSTALK HAS taken the unusual step for a radio station of broadcasting an editorial on the state of the nation. The editorial, which was drawn up by the station’s chief executive Frank Cronin and station editor Garrett Harte, calls on the Taoiseach to address the nation and give the country a “credible, detailed vision of recovery”.

Station owner Denis O’Brien was not involved in drawing up the editorial, but approved of the concept, according to his spokesman.

The Newstalk statement, which was read out before five bulletins yesterday and is published on the station’s website, describes Ireland as being at an “unprecedented economic and social crossroad” and that the road ahead “seems unbearably bleak” unless leadership is given.

It recommends that Ireland’s cost base needs “radical adjustment”, everybody needs to reduce their living standards and the country cannot “afford to pay our politicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses and accountants more than our European counterparts”. Mr Harte said it was a first for Newstalk and probably a first for a radio station in Ireland.

He said it was drawn up in response to e-mails and texts of listeners over the last six months.

“We would not see any issues with it. We are not saying anything that is inflammatory. It is a call for community spirit. We would see the statement as a civic duty on the eve of the budget,” he said.

“People are looking for leadership and vision . . . the tone of our text messages have changed in the last six months from passive to a common thread about the lack of leadership.”