Where did all the good radio shows go?
CORMAC O headhra is an enigma. Fronting RTE Radio One’s political panel show, Late Debate, he’s as ferocious as a terrier that’s sunk its teeth into the legs of a postman, as he nips away at the self-congratulatory waffle of guests. As a stand-in presenter on Today With Sean O’ROurke over the summer, he was much more subdued, restrained.
It could simply be that he’d decided he was just a visitor there, and ought to be on his best behaviour, or even that a different technique is needed during daylight. It was less effective, but still head and shoulders above many bigger names. As such, there should be no hesitation in singling him out as one of the broadcasters of the year.
Considering the most missed broadcasters of the year opens up a wealth of choice, all from Newstalk. There’s George Hook, obviously, who placed his career on ice over a lunchtime High Noon show with one single, shockingly thoughtless remark back in September about the victim of an alleged rape who was in the news at the time. The airwaves are, without question, poorer in his absence. Colleagues across the schedule have had their warning, and are treading much more carefully. Political correctness is now king. It makes for duller radio, but they can hardly be blamed for not throwing caution to the wind. It’s a chilly world out there. The wolves are waiting to pounce on any mistake.
It’s three women whose absence hurts the most, though. Dil Wickremasinghe parted company with Newstalk in the wake of the George Hook controversy. Her crusading Global Village show wasn’t my cup of tea, but it’s always sad to see a good and decent woman depart from the airwaves.
Sarah Mcinerney’s departure was less controversial, but it’s still astonishing that Newstalk couldn’t find a better place for such a capable female broadcaster following the cancellation of her short-lived Drivetime show alongside Chris Donoghue, who’s also since left.
Saddest of all to see go was Sarah Carey, whose Talking Point was genuinely different from other current affairs shows in giving guests the time and space to unpick more subtle and nuanced arguments, rather than strong-arming them into taking up artificially antagonistic positions, then fighting it out to the death.
Ivan Yates battles on manfully for the station’s soul on The Hard Shoulder, but Newstalk just doesn’t feel the same any more Watch after IT so NOW many departures.
Hardy Lyric Bucks FM also is on lost the its RTE identity until this year, handing over evenings to John Kelly on The Mystery Six Nations Train. Rugby Want is on to 3Player hear the until latest U2 or December Bjork albums? 16; You got it. Fancy some psychedelic Simply Nigella jazz-rock? is on BBC No iplayer problem. - currently not
available Classical to music? viewers Don’t in Ireland. be silly. Kelly’s a great broadcaster, with a fantastic voice, and a steadfast devotion to the music that he champions; but this mission creep feels like a slap in the face to loyal listeners for whom Lyric FM was the sole refuge on Irish radio from the relentless march of — at the risk of sounding like a fuddy duddy — popular music. Surely there’s enough of it elsewhere already?
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