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Loss-making RTE sends two presenters and teams to broadcast shows from US

CASH-STRAPPED RTE will broadcast two separate radio shows from the US over the next few days.

The State broadcaster is sending presenters George Lee and John Murray and producers across the Atlantic ahead of St Patrick's Day festivities.

Former Fine Gael TD George Lee's The Business is travelling to sunny California to track down firms in Silicon Valley.

The radio broadcast will coincide with the filming of a television show with the ex-political representative.

RTE confirmed that the John Murray Show from New York City was supported independently by Tourism Ireland and Fitzpatrick Hotels.

"As a consequence of these agreements travel costs have been addressed," an RTE spokesman said.

John Murray, who took over the slot vacated by Ryan Tubridy in his move to 2FM, will interview Irish construction workers at Ground Zero, Richard Dormer, New York Police Commissioner as well as an Irish dancing teacher in the Bronx and Irish people based in the Big Apple.

Novelist Colum McCann is expected to feature in one of the shows along with a number of musicians and artists.

"Emigration has returned as a challenge to a whole new generation of Irish people," the spokesman said.

"RTE radio is mindful of the thousands of people who listen to RTE radio from other countries, the US included, and indeed that a connection to listeners abroad is vital not only for those listeners but for the families who remain at home in Ireland," he added.

RTE said the transmission of The Business is not related to St Patrick's Day.

"The TV version of The Business is being shot in Silicon Valley and will concentrate on the lessons to be learned on how we as a country can crack the US market with indigenous Irish products," the spokesman said.

"It will specifically follow the efforts of both Irish whiskey sales reps and Enterprise Ireland's hot house of Irish start-ups."

clairemurphy@herald.ie