Wild tour ‘nailed’ RTÉ Radio 1 slot for Ryan Tubridy

Tubridy’s new ‘people’s show’ will involve getting out and about, says Tom McGuire

Ryan Tubridy’s return to the Radio 1 fold had all the hallmarks of a sooner-or-later eventuality, but according to the head of the station, Tom McGuire, it was the presenter’s tour of the Wild Atlantic Way for his 2fm show in June “that nailed it”.

Tubridy’s ease with posing for selfies while engaged in outdoor pursuits is exactly the kind of public-facing endeavour that McGuire hopes he will replicate on Radio 1. “It’s going to be a people’s show, it’s going to be a bit of fun,” he says. And although the production team is yet to be finalised, “getting out and about” is one expected editorial focus.

“We started doing these walks with John [Murray]. I don’t know what we will be doing with Ryan, but we will be out and about around the country,” says McGuire.

The station, which has recently hired a number of younger production staff, hopes to recruit more younger listeners through “points of engagement” such as the forthcoming general election campaign.


“We have put a lot of work into social media,” McGuire adds. “We haven’t quite got it at this stage, but we are getting there.”

Meanwhile, 2fm is also courting younger listeners, and Tubridy's departure from the station is likely to help as he brings some of the 2fm audience with him. "We will continue to lose people over 40," says head of 2fm Dan Healy, who cites recent changes in the audience of BBC Radio 1 as a model for what to expect.

Like BBC Radio 1, RTÉ 2fm is under pressure to satisfy its public service credentials by catering for a younger demographic not targeted by commercial operators.

Since Nick Grimshaw was installed as the breakfast show host, its listenership has duly dropped back to 2003 levels, but its controller Ben Cooper has congratulated the presenter for "scaring off the over-30s" so efficiently.

As for the future of the fast-evolving 2fm, Healy mentions The Voice of Ireland copresenter Eoghan McDermott, who takes over the drivetime slot from September, "as an indication of where we are going – he's a young, dynamic guy".

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics