herald

Thursday 17 April 2014

Viewers wrongly feel we're on huge RTE pay, say rival Midday team

The presenters of TV3's Midday show have received furious texts, emails and calls from viewers urging them to take a pay cut.

Regular viewers of the show want Colette Fitzpatrick, Alan Cantwell and Martin King to accept a salary chop like their RTE counterparts.

However, the broadcasters have hit back at the angry demands saying their salaries are meagre in comparison to those in Montrose.

A statement from the foursome who appear on the Midday show reads: "Some viewers have expressed a frustration that we, as television presenters, have it easy and that we have no sense of the real hardship people are facing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"For starters, we don't earn the huge salaries that others in broadcasting do. Everyone at TV3 including presenters has taken a pay freeze in recent months and we have watched some of our closest colleagues and friends lose their jobs here," they added.

Whinging

The negative feedback from viewers came in response to controversial views aired by outspoken journalist Alan Cantwell during a discussion about the countries economic crisis last week.

The presenter incensed workers in the public sector when he claimed that they should stop complaining about the pension levies set to be implemented later this year.

"When are we as a nation going to stop whinging about it and recognise that this is the mess that we are in?" Alan asked.

"What is wrong with a pay cut in the current economic climate? What is wrong with the fact that they have security of employment and someone like me or whoever is in the private sector could be booted out tomorrow?

"To come out of this we have to pull together, we have to take that medicine," he added.

His comments proved to enrage those watching at home who demanded the TV3 star and his colleagues should take their own hit before preaching to the public.

The Midday hosts have refused to back down, however, and have instead vowed to keep discussing the credit crunch for as long as it remains a prevalent issue in our society.

They told the Herald: "Clearly, the issue of joblessness and the recession is gripping audiences to our Midday show, so much so, that we will focus on this issue for the foreseeable future.

"We must all play our part in protecting jobs and helping to get the economy back on its feet, for all our sakes," they added.

Alan, Colette and Martin denied that the response from viewers was "hate mail". "It was healthy feedback."

lnolan@herald.ie