The future of RTÉ
Sir, – With the talk of cuts in RTÉ on all its services, please think about the 156,800 pensioners who live alone in Ireland, where radio or television is their daily connection with the outside world. And which more importantly keeps them company during the day and night. If the Government had to pay for one hour of home help for each pensioner, it would cost €2.5 million a day, yet RTÉ provides a 24-hour service to keep these pensioners company, but we will not secure the financial future of our national broadcaster.
As a nation we should recognise the true value of the service RTÉ provides to this age group. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Moya Doherty quotes Douglas Ruskoff in relation to the relentless change of the media industry as “constant acceleration of the acceleration” (“Government indecision is crippling RTÉ”, Opinion & Analysis, November 8th). This might explain the amount of repeat programmes RTÉ television has inflicted on its viewers. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The quality of programming RTÉ provides stands head and shoulders above public service broadcasting in similar countries, such as here in New Zealand. Most of us emigrants do not contribute in any way to the finances of the organisation, but we still might listen in at times to an argument on Liveline, or an election debate. We appreciate the access we do have, of course, but perhaps a way could be developed for us to pay a fair price for full access to RTÉ’s body of work. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The RTÉ restructuring plans include the closure of its Limerick studio and the transfer of its activities partly to Dublin. This is to be expected from a Dublin-based headquarters. I suggest that the restructuring should be used as an opportunity to decentralise from Dublin to Limerick (and Cork). There are some activities carried out at Montrose that could be done just as well down the country. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – As an alternative to the proposed cutbacks, why doesn’t RTÉ shut down for a month or so, preferably in the run-up to the general election. Such a measure might have the additional benefit of persuading the Government to legislate for a new funding model. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The seemingly perpetual problem of the enormous salaries paid to programme presenters can be easily solved.
Fine the presenters €50 for each “eh”, “um”, “em”, “ah”, etc. It would make some significant savings. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – May I make a couple of suggestions to help solve the financial difficulties that RTÉ is experiencing?
Collect the TV licence as part of the property tax (as implemented in France) or as part of the electricity bill (as implemented in Portugal). Cancel that expensive advertising campaign and get rid of the TV licence inspectors. Have one news bulletin at 8pm. Currently there are two evening broadcasts at 6pm and 9pm with identical content but presented by two completely different teams of presenters. With many two-parent working families, few are home in time to see the 6pm version. This would deliver a large prime-time audience and result in considerable cost saving. Allow streaming of programme content while abroad to those willing to pay a supplement. We could then enjoy our favourite programmes while on holiday. – Yours, etc,
Foxrock, Dublin 18.
Sir, – Public service broadcasting is not hours and hours of bloated chit-chat shows, interviews with colleagues and ex-colleagues, asking guests about how “great Ireland is” or endless phone-ins. Public service broadcasting educates and informs, and maybe RTÉ Radio 1 might take a leaf out of the BBC Radio 4 schedule to save them reinventing the wheel.
As for RTÉ television, perhaps a bit of imagination is required by ceasing to run a schedule that had its heyday decades ago by giving a decent burial to dated chat shows and repackaged content and franchise formats.
And, as for selling off assets, it’s a mark of desperation which does not inspire confidence that there is much imagination or innovation at play. – Yours, etc,