herald

Friday 22 September 2017

Fear stalks RTE over studios' future

RTE regional studios face an uncertain future -- with the State broadcaster not ruling out closures in a bid to save money.

Members of management were quizzed yesterday on the future of the studios at an internal meeting in Montrose.

The questions were directed at the financial problems facing the station.

A senior staff member told the meeting that there were no assurances that any of the bureaus were safe from the axe.

The station's new division representative told those present at the 'partnership meeting' that everything was "on the table".

Regional correspondents are reeling from the news and there was panic within the staff. If the cutbacks are implemented it will affect high-profile correspondents such as Richard Downes, in Washington, Tony Connelly, in Brussels, and Brian O'Connell, in London, who could be asked to file reports from independent facilities.

And it's unclear what would happen to the dozens of staff who work at RTE's 12 regional studios. The official line from RTE is that there have been no decisions made at this juncture.

But the spokesperson didn't rule out future cuts.

"All RTE operations and resources are continuously reviewed for cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness and against future output needs," the representative told the Herald.







Difficult

"These reviews are ongoing as RTE works to reduce its deficit. No decisions have been taken with regard to closing RTE's regional studios in Ireland and abroad, or RTE's foreign bureaus," they added. It's understood that this review has been ongoing at RTE for a number of months.

However, an email has been sent by union representatives to staff members to clarify the situation.

The reports caused concerns among the regional and foreign desks, but unions have assured staff that the comments were made in light of the ongoing review, which everyone was already aware of.

RTE is facing difficult decisions over the next 12 months with falling revenue and rising costs.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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