Thursday 27 October 2016

Taxpayers on different financial wavelength as RTE delivers the same old tunes

Rick O'Shea
Rick O'Shea

Come with me, if you will, for another of our regular jaunts to the parallel universe that is the RTE finance department.

Because after a few years of austerity while trying to get its house in order, RTE is back to its old profligate ways.

Hot on the heels of last week's revelation that staff are going to be put back to their pre-2009 salaries, comes the news that one of the national broadcaster's favourite ways of wasting taxpayer money - taxi fares - is on the increase again.

Figures for 2014 show that RTE spent an scarcely-credible €388,000 on taxis in the greater Dublin area alone. That equates to €1,100 on taxis every day of the year, yet they insist that the station is "efficiently run".

Just as perplexing is their treatment of highly-paid staff whose best days they feel are behind them. In most companies, when someone's career is on the wane, they are politely thanked for their years of service and handed a parting gift.

But last week, in yet another instance of RTE's practice of broadcasting euthanasia, one more DJ is quietly moved from a prime-time, weekday slot to the relative obscurity of weekend radio, while still being kept on the payroll.

This week, it's the turn of venerable choon-churner Rick O'Shea, who has inevitably attempted to put a brave face on his demotion to the retirement home that is weekend radio, declaring that "I'm thrilled to be a big part of this new and exciting schedule." And as he joins Larry Gogan, Dave Fanning and Colm Hayes on this "exciting schedule", all of whom have recently been considered not to fit into 2FM's plans, one question begs itself.

If RTE management think that these ageing, and well-paid, jocks' shows aren't working on Monday to Friday, what makes them think they will work on Saturdays and Sundays?

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