herald

Monday 22 October 2018

I'll be working more, but I'm delighted with RTE shake-up -- Pat

RTE's Pat Kenny says he's facing a "much greater workload" after RTE announced that it is merging the Frontline and Prime Time brands.

Mr Kenny will now head the new current affairs programme twice a week after a shake up led to the axing of the Frontline programme.

Kenny (64) told the Herald that the decision to end The Frontline was made for "cost-saving measures".

But far from being upset by the development, Pat said he was relieved because he had become "exhausted" by the late finish to the Monday night programme.

"I'm very happy with the changes. They are cost-saving measures I suppose. But they are also done for logistical purposes," he said.

"The Frontline is effectively being rebranded under the banner of Prime Time debate. It will be earlier, 9:30pm, which is great news to be honest.



Workload

"For me, I was arriving home at 1am on a Monday night and then I am in at 8.30am on the Tuesday to prepare for the radio show, which was exhausting." he said.

An upbeat Mr Kenny added that he is "more than happy" to take on the extra workload.

He is now expected to co-present the show twice a week, along with broadcasters Claire Byrne and Miriam O'Callaghan.

Former Fine Gael TD George Lee is being drafted in as a contributor following the shake-up, led by new RTE news and current affairs chief Kevin Bakhurst. Kenny will present the Tuesday show, which starts at 9.30pm.



Money

Mr Bakhurst said bringing the Frontline debate under the banner of Prime Time would also mean the same studio set could be used for both current affairs programmes.

"What we are building right now is one big flexible set for both programmes, which will save money not having to move in and out of the studio a couple of times a week," said Mr Bakhurst, who joined RTE last September.

Kenny told the Herald that his superiors have taken the decision to merge the shows "for good reasons".

"It looks like I will have more work, I won't be presenting the three shows but I will likely be involved in two, but I'm happy about that."

hnews@herald.ie

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