Kenny felt disrespected by senior RTÉ management
Presenter unhappy over Late Late Show departure and axing of The Frontline
Broadcaster Pat Kenny speaking during a video interview when it was announced that he is leaving RTE to join Newstalk
Veteran broadcaster Pat Kenny is believed to have felt “disrespected” by senior management at RTÉ for a long time prior to his announcement yesterday that he was moving to Newstalk with immediate effect.
RTÉ director general Noel Curran said “every effort” had been made to retain one of the station’s star assets, but despite “lengthy negotiations” Kenny rejected the offer of a new contract.
According to a senior source at RTÉ, who is also a close friend of Kenny, the move to Newstalk, which is owned by businessman Denis O’Brien, was not motivated by financial gain. Rather, the source said, it was primarily born of a desire to end his professional relationship with the public service broadcaster.
“I think he was basically just unhappy in RTÉ at this stage and felt slightly disrespected there,” the source said last night.
“He felt that the broadcasting environment just didn’t suit him any more and it was basically time to move on.”
The strain in the relationship between Kenny and senior management at the station was not a new development that was thrown up by the urgent need for RTÉ to find savings in a deteriorating economic climate, the source said.
“It goes right back. I don’t think his departure from The Late Late Show was treated in a way that he would consider courteous. It was quite harsh and blunt at the time in the way it was handled.”
It is also understood Kenny was unhappy with the axing of his current affairs programme The Frontline.
In a statement yesterday, Mr Curran said the station had been “aware for some time” of an offer to Kenny from a commercial radio station and that Kenny’s contract had expired earlier this year.
He described Kenny as a broadcaster of “real talent, range and integrity” who was “always meticulously prepared”.
“Pat has made a huge contribution to RTÉ over many years on both television and radio,” he said. “I have worked with him as a producer of both his current affairs and his entertainment series and I know the range of his talent.
“Through lengthy negotiations, every effort was made to retain Pat’s services, but unfortunately we could not come to an agreement.”