Biggest challenge yet to come - Pat
HE'S been steadily climbing in the ratings, but Pat Kenny has insisted his biggest challenge on Newstalk Radio has yet to come.
Now officially 12 months on air with the popular station, the 66-year-old told the Herald his focus now is on holding on to the listeners he has gained over the past year.
According to the latest JNLR figures released last month, an additional 20,000 people are tuning in to the weekday mid-morning slot compared with the previous quarter - bringing his audience up to 134,000.
While he's happy that so many listeners have "moved the dial", Dalkey-based Pat said he will not be resting on his laurels.
"The pressure is on to keep up the level of activity because we're settled in now and we have to innovate a bit more and change things," he said.
"That's not because we need to, but because we want to.
"I'd like to get out a bit more and introduce new strands, but it will be evolutionary from here.
"The numbers are growing and people do seem to like the show - in fact, I'm ahead of my expectations in the ratings.
"I would like to find out now at what stage we're going to plateau.
"My plateau in RTE was around the 300,000 mark and I'm climbing on Newstalk, so the target is to go as high as we can, obviously. But it would be unrealistic to set a definitive number."
It was a leap of faith in the beginning, but Pat said it has been an unforgettable journey since his defection from RTE after more than 30 years.
"It was with trepidation this time last year that I ventured into new territory, and although I was happy once I'd made the decision, that didn't mean the implementation would go as smoothly as planned or hoped," he said.
"I hadn't been in to meet the team until I signed my contract, so it was a leap in the dark, but I was given assurances about them and they were all as I'd imagined.
"I'm delighted with the decision I made and it surprises me how much there is a sense of belonging.
"It's something I thought I'd feel outside of for a while - but I feel so at home."
The former Late Late Show host joined his team to mark the first birthday of The Pat Kenny Show with cake and candles yesterday.
With the "groundwork done" in Newstalk, Pat will soon look at developing his one-hour weekly programme on new channel UTV Ireland, which will start early next year.
"Now that it's matured at Newstalk, I can look to TV and have another string to my bow," he said.
It is believed Pat signed a high six-figure deal.