Brendan O’Connor inherits Marian Finucane slot on RTÉ Radio 1

Journalist and presenter departs deputy editor role at Sunday Independent

Brendan O’Connor pictured in RTÉ Radio 1 studios. Photograph: Kinlan Photography.

Brendan O’Connor pictured in RTÉ Radio 1 studios. Photograph: Kinlan Photography.

 

RTÉ has confirmed that Brendan O’Connor will be the new presenter of the weekend 11am-1pm slot on Radio 1, starting in mid-March.

Mr O’Connor is leaving his roles as deputy editor of the Sunday Independent and editor of its Life magazine, but he will continue as a columnist with the newspaper.

“After 15 years working in the Sunday Independent, I’m delighted to be joining the weekends on RTÉ Radio 1. The weekend is a time to pause, take a breath and review the week, and it’s also a time when people like a different, more reflective kind of radio, maybe even a bit of fun,” he said.

The announcement follows the death of popular presenter Marian Finucane in early January.

Mr O’Connor had been filling the slot since Ms Finucane’s passing and also served as a stand-in presenter when she was on leave last year.

“Marian’s legacy will inspire us to continue to explore, challenge and debate the issues that truly matter to Irish people,” Mr O’Connor said.

“I’m looking forward to developing an informative, sparky, original and unpredictable show. I want this to be robust and enjoyable radio, always questioning and always seeking insight.”

Ms Finucane’s show had 341,000 listeners on a Saturday and 309,000 listeners on a Sunday, according to Joint National Listenership Research figures for 2019, making them the third and ninth biggest programme respectively on Irish radio.

The late presenter was the biggest draw on Radio 1’s weekend schedule, which is unusually popular by radio industry standards.

Time to reflect

“Radio 1 has taken time to reflect on the weekend schedule and I’m really pleased that Brendan O’Connor is joining us,” said the head of the station, Tom McGuire.

“Brendan is a talented broadcaster who will bring his own special skills to the role and I’m sure the large audience will welcome the new programme we will present at this time.”

The programme will be “a mix of feature interviews, reflection and discussion on the issues that are making the news, including politics, travel, entertainment and current affairs”, RTÉ said.

Mr O’Connor will continue to work on television programmes for the broadcaster, with more details expected to be announced in the coming months.

His most recent television work was panel discussion show Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge, while before that he hosted celebrity chat-fest the Saturday Night Show for six years.

Mr O’Connor’s earlier television programmes include Don’t Feed the Gondolas and You’re A Star, both for RTÉ, as well as The Apprentice: You’re Fired for TV3.

Independent News & Media publisher Peter Vandermeersch said on Twitter that he was “delighted that Brendan will continue to write” for the Sunday Independent.