New sponsor destined for Radio 1’s ‘Drivetime’

Independent TD Mattie McGrath criticises broadcaster for current deal with ‘aggressive’ Danske Bank

Mary Wilson, presenter of RTE’s ‘Drivetime’. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Mary Wilson, presenter of RTE’s ‘Drivetime’. Photograph: Aidan Crawley


RTÉ should reject “aggressive” Danske Bank as the sponsors of Radio 1’s Drivetime show, independent TD Mattie McGrath insisted this week, citing the bank’s record of pursuing debtors through the courts.

When the number of cases is measured against the size of the banks’ loan books, Danske is more than seven times as likely as either of AIB and Bank of Ireland, to resort to court action against its customers, a new analysis by this newspaper of court records has shown.

The good news for McGrath is that Danske Bank’s sponsorship of Drivetime expires anyway later this year, with the broadcaster’s media sales arm set to “shortly enter into discussions with a number of interested parties”. After two years, the sponsorship has “come to a natural end”, RTÉ says.

On-air stings

The show is presented by Mary Wilson and goes out in the competitive 4.30-7pm slot, where it has 241,000 listeners at the last count, and the sponsorship package includes six on-air stings for an advertised 12-month fee of €260,000. Its previous sponsors were Continental Tyres and HSBC.

Drivetime is described to potential sponsors as a show that “offers comprehensive coverage from all corners of Ireland, highlighting the issues that matter to people and tracking the fight-back, as communities recover from recession”.

McGrath is a fan of the “otherwise excellent programme”, but says he is infuriated by what he says is a “totally unsuitable” sponsor in light of the bank’s practices in relation to distressed borrowers.