Balfe unhappy about RTÉ parting


An Irish radio broadcasting legend will hang up his headphones at RTÉ tomorrow, although he’s not particularly happy about it. Brendan Balfe has spent 46 years at the national broadcaster – the majority of it as a freelancer – since joining at the age of 18.

Since then, his extensive and impressive CV has included numerous award-winning documentaries, shows and interviews with huge names in show business and politics.

His was the first voice heard on 2FM upon its launch in 1979, and he has long been a champion of new Irish music, especially since becoming Radio 1’s co-ordinator of music policy in 1999.

He hits retirement age this Sunday, but will leave the station with what he calls a “tiny” pension based only on his contracted work for the past seven years, despite his long career at the Radio Centre.

“For economic reasons, my intention was to continue with RTÉ on a freelance basis, but RTÉ has told me there is no place for me in the schedules, so my retirement is entirely involuntary,” he said. “Yes, I am shocked and upset, but I’m not retiring – I’m simply moving my place of employment. My plan for the future is to continue to work in radio, wherever the station may be.”

The last instalment of his 11-part series The Irish Voicegoes out tomorrow on RTÉ Radio 1 at 1pm.