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Sunday 22 October 2017

'We're well-used to budget cuts at RTE', says Liveline presenter Joe

Joe Duffy
Joe Duffy

Joe Duffy has admitted he doesn't know whether budget cuts in RTE will stop but said that every modern news organisation is "under pressure".

The Ballyfermot man (61), who earns €416k-a-year, is one of Montrose's most beloved broadcasters and has seen budgets tighten at the station over the last number of years.

"They've been going on for 10 years now so we are well-used to them. It's a very lean organisation and a very hard-working organisation. I don't know [if they'll stop].

"We have to keep making programmes every day and just keep it going. Every news organisation is under pressure in this ever-changing world," he said.

Mr Duffy thinks his stringent work ethic has made him one of RTE's highest-paid stars.

"I keep on top of things. You have to make sure you know what's going on. You read a story and think, how can I add to that?

"Look out for calls and judge what ones will be good. That's the wonderful thing about being a journalist, every person you meet and place you go can come in handy at some stage. It's all about learning and curiosity," he told the Herald.

Mr Duffy's Liveline Callback returns tonight and will run for eight episodes.

The broadcaster will be following up on some of the most memorable stories from Liveline.

Stories that will be revisited in tonight's episode include Surjit Nandha who travelled to Dublin from Bedford, England in search of her sister who she had not met in 40 years.

She tried registry offices but had no luck. On her way back to the airport the taxi driver suggested that she phone Mr Duffy to see if he could help. She spoke on air for 15 minutes and gave as much information about her sister as she could.

Listening that day was a woman on a bus in Co Westmeath who identified the missing sister as her friend Vicky Jackson now living in Castlepollard.

Community

Mr Duffy believes Liveline's popularity stems from the show's ability to spark a national conversation.

"Ireland is still a community, thankfully. We have 400,000 listeners or thereabouts. You can still have a national conversation about Liveline," he said.

"A lot of the calls we get never go air because we ring a bank or a kitchen supplier or a service provider and say, 'Listen, we have a caller coming on who says you owe them €2,500' or whatever.

"By the time the programme is on an hour later, the company have paid up the money they didn't pay for months. We're glad to do that. We're glad to be of service."

Liveline Callback starts at 8.30pm on RTE One, tonight

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