Collins expected to review structure at RTE


MR BOB Collins will be expected to build a team at the top to direct the station over the next five years. It is also evident that members of the RTE Authority want structures within the organisation urgently reviewed.

The three men who reached the final shortlist along with Mr Collins - the director of television programmes, Mr Liam Miller, the director of news, Mr Joe Mulholland, and the head of presentation and television services, Mr Eugene Murray - all suggested that major changes should take place within the organisation.

It was felt that these three, with Mr Collins, should be the basis of a team that would address the issues of finance, quality programmes, competition and the proposed broadcasting legislation, which RTE is unlikely to be happy with.

Although no one would comment directly on what was said at the interviews, it appears that Mr Miller emphasised a business and commercial approach, which included coming to terms with the issue of the statutory responsibility of ensuring that 20 per cent of television programming funding be directed to the independent sector.

It is believed he suggested a new commissioning regime, where independent programme makers and RTE producers would vie for places on the schedule.

Mr Murray, who was closely involved in reforming RTE's industrial relations, is believed to have looked at RTE's management structures as well as the future digital environment and its impact on the station.

Sources inside the organisation say he suggested that if RTE was to make deals with unions in relation to new technology, the organisation stood a better chance of succeeding if it dealt with its huge middle management structures first.

Mr Mulholland suggested ways that news and current affairs could drive RTE. It is believed he also raised the issue of merging both departments. Others also favoured this.

One authority member suggested that Mr Collins was chosen, not necessarily because his views were so radically different, but because it was believed he would be a good motivator.

Problems that were identified by the candidates included the unwieldy management structures, the lack of talented management, the need for high quality programmes that are distinctive, and the lack of strategic planning.