Ivan Yates returns to Newstalk to take on Marian Finucane

Broadcaster will present two-hour Sunday show on Communicorp radio station

Ivan Yates left Newstalk last summer after seven years. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ivan Yates left Newstalk last summer after seven years. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Ivan Yates is returning to Newstalk in a new two-hour show on Sunday from April. His slot from 11am to 1pm will be in direct competition with the second of Marian Finucane’s weekend shows on RTÉ Radio 1.

Newstalk, which is part of Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp radio group, said Mr Yates would “bring his unique style” to the programme, which will feature a mix of politics, business, current affairs and sport.

The new programme will begin from Sunday, April 2nd.

Mr Yates left Newstalk last summer after seven years. He first presented Newstalk Breakfast in 2009, but took a 16-month sabbatical in 2012-2013 when he moved to Wales to avail of the UK bankruptcy process.

There are currently no plans for Mr Yates to present any weekday shows at the station.

In a statement issued by Newstalk, he said he had always envisaged the possibility of returning to the radio station.

Trump and Brexit

“With all that’s been happening in politics across the world lately, between Trump and Brexit, I can’t wait to get back on air to share my views,” he said.

Newstalk chief executive Tim Collins said the station was delighted to be welcoming the broadcaster back to its schedule.

“Ivan is a much-loved member of the Newstalk family so a return was always on the cards,” Mr Collins said, adding that the station had been in discussion with Mr Yates for some time to find the most suitable slot and programme format.

It is understood The Sunday Show, presented by Jonathan Healy from 10am to noon, will make way for the new programme, while Off the Ball’s Sunday programme will have a shorter duration. It is not clear what Newstalk will put on air between 10am and 11am.

Station bosses believe Mr Yates can lure listeners away from Radio 1. Ms Finucane’s Sunday show has an audience of 308,000, according to the latest figures.

Newstalk has yet to appoint a new editor-in-chief, following the decision of Garrett Harte to leave the station, after an initial trawl for candidates did not yield a replacement.

Mr Collins introduced a new weekday schedule at Newstalk in September, which saw Mr Yates’s former co-presenter at breakfast, Chris Donoghue, move to a drivetime slot, while Colette Fitzpatrick, Shane Coleman and Paul Williams were installed as a rotating team of breakfast hosts.

Colette Fitzpatrick

However, Ms Fitzpatrick informed the station on Tuesday of her decision to return full-time to TV3, where she will be senior anchor across its revamped news coverage.

She will not be immediately replaced on the Newstalk Breakfast team, which also includes sports presenter Alan Quinlan and business presenter Vincent Wall.

The latest Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) figures show that Newstalk has 370,000 daily listeners, up 3,000 since the last survey, but down 26,000 over the past year. This compares to 880,000 daily listeners for RTÉ Radio 1.