Oliver Callan talks of ‘sense of wrong’ as Tubridy RTÉ show rebranded

Caretaker host says it is ‘firmly’ the end of an era as he fills in for ousted presenter

Kevin Bakhurst and Ryan Tubridy

One of the hosts who has replaced ousted RTÉ star Ryan Tubridy has said “there is a sense of wrong” as his former radio show returned to air under new branding.

Tubridy had been off air since June 22nd following a scandal regarding the national broadcaster under-declaring his fees.

On Thursday, new RTÉ director-general Kevin Bakhurst announced there were currently no plans for Tubridy to return to the programme because trust had “broken down” in negotiations.

The announcement followed a dispute which arose in relation to how RTÉ had revised his published earnings for 2020 and 2021.


Tubridy, who was previously RTÉ’s highest-paid presenter, said in a statement that the figures published originally, which were lower and did not include fees for a controversial commercial arrangement, were correct.

Mr Bakhurst said negotiations at the time would have seen Tubridy (50), returning to his radio show and start a new podcast from September. But the director-general ended the talks in response to the contentious statement, saying the presenter was not accepting his portion of blame over the matter.

Oliver Callan, who has been one of the presenters regularly filling in on the Ryan Tubridy Show during the controversy, opened a new programme in the time slot by addressing the dispute.

The new Nine O’Clock Show now fills the same 9am to 10am slot and the old theme tune has been replaced.

In his opening monologue, Callan said “things sound a little different today. And it’s not because we’re at the start of some brand new era, but rather it is firmly the end of one, which is unfortunate.

“You know, it’s disappointing as well, because Ryan’s voice at this hour of the day was pretty iconic. It was a reassuring sound, but there was always a comfort of hearing them of a Monday.”

He paid tribute to Tubridy by referencing his personal interests and memorable moments in his broadcasting career.

But he also highlighted the widening controversy which has engulfed the national broadcaster and exposed issues with financial governance at RTÉ.

“There is a sense of wrong that he won’t be heard here again. And I know his fans who this morning are downhearted,” he said.

“The controversy is a bit of a lesson, I think, about graciously and humbly accepting second chances when they’re being offered to you. And in the heel of the hunt, he’s not a hate figure. He’s not cancelled. He has opportunities plenty.

“He will be back because there is a home always for Ryan’s experience and his mischief, and that Jiminy Cricket personality hopped up on jelly babies or whether he’s swearing at Fanta bottles, doing dodgy Jimmy Stewart impressions – terrible karaoke at times – and the whole history of Holy Moley mugs, worshipping JFK and Morse and history of course, elbow patches and puns.

“He had a brilliant career here and he was a hugely encouraging figure for those of us who passed through his Late Late Show living room over the years.

“So we’re sorry and sad to see him go, just as we’re sorry and sad to see the harm that’s been done towards RTÉ by all of the scandals, and there should be a reckoning for all of those behind all of it.

“The payments, the golden handshakes, the musical, the junkets – every last flip-flop.”

Callan described himself as a “caretaker” for the radio slow as the full-time host of the Nine O’Clock Show has yet to be decided.

“But the team who are taking your calls and your emails are the same team from before who are constantly toiling and thinking and have done so in ridiculously strenuous conditions since June.

“And they deserve thanks from us and from people like me because they do make presenters sound clever even when we’re not. The real stars are the guests who come into us and give us the privilege of hosting their stories and their chats and so on as they continue to come to us. It does not entirely matter who’s in this chair.” - Additional reporting PA

Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a reporter