RTÉ denies overpaying top radio presenters

‘If we were, we would have paid the money to keep Pat Kenny on Radio 1’

On Wednesday, Pat Kenny discusses teenage sex in occasionally alarming detail. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

On Wednesday, Pat Kenny discusses teenage sex in occasionally alarming detail. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

RTÉ’s managing director of radio has said that if they were willing to overpay presenters they would have kept Pat Kenny.

Kenny moved to Newstalk in the summer of 2013 after four decades with RTÉ in a decision which shocked Irish broadcasting.

He said at the time that money was not the “overriding factor” and that RTÉ had made him a “very generous offer to continue but I weighed it up, I discussed it with the family. They kind of detected the enthusiasm I had for fundamental change.”

Jim Jennings told the Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Transport and Sport that it was untrue RTÉ overpaid its top presenters.

“There is a market out there for radio talent. Your point that we are overpaying is not true, I don’t agree with it,” he said in response to Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan.

“If we were, we would have paid the money to keep Pat Kenny on Radio 1, but we didn’t.”

Mr Jennings said that contrary to popular perceptions, six of the top 10 paid radio broadcasters were in the commercial sector rather than RTÉ.

He said RTÉ was still in straitened circumstances despite the recession. “We are in a situation with the finances of RTÉ where every decision we make has an impact.

“I wouldn’t say it is death by a thousand cuts, but we are cutting things around the organisation. No matter what the cuts are, they impact somebody.

“I’d love to be in a position to be the managing director at a time when I had enough money to do the things I want to do. We don’t pretend the cuts that we make, make an impact.”