herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Mooney may fly RTE radio coop

RTE star Derek Mooney is at the centre of speculation that he may be leaving his radio show.

The mild-mannered presenter, who has fronted the Mooney Show every weekday afternoon for the past eight years, is said to be leaving Radio 1 in the New Year.

It's understood that he wants to concentrate on other projects as he spreads his wings.

Reports say that Mooney wants to focus on nature programmes for TV and radio and is thinking about quitting his show in early 2015.

When asked this morning about the speculation, an RTE spokeswoman told the Herald: "We are not making any changes to radio between now and the end of the year. We cannot comment on the next year."

A source said that any planned change was "not happening straight away".

"He's been in the game for a very long time and has a very loyal and dedicated group of listeners on Mooney but his passion is nature and wildlife programmes and he has been feeling for a while that it's time for a change," they said.

CHALLENGES

"It doesn't mean he's cutting ties with RTE. The nature shows he has presented for TV have been huge crowd-pullers but he thinks he wants to hand the Mooney microphone to someone new and focus on new challenges."

His show has maintained a steady listenership over the years and has an average audience figure of around 219,000.

The star has worked with RTE for over 20 years and is considered a "safe pair of hands" given his versatility.

His show encountered a setback last month after the Broadcasting Complaints of Ireland upheld a complaint against the show during a discussion on gay marriage.

A segment broadcast on January 20 was complained about on the basis that it breached impartiality and objectivity.

The complainant, Donal O'Sullivan from the Family & Media Association, said that presenter Mooney had made "several statements implicitly and explicitly supporting same sex marriage" during a discussion of the number of civil partnerships in Ireland.

The complainant also said the show's guests, former RTE news reader Michael Murphy and Tiernan Brady from the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, had also made comments supporting same-sex marriage.

He claimed that there were no voices heard opposing same-sex marriages.

RTE responded that the segment was not supposed to be a debate on this issue but rather a "personal viewpoint by Mr Murphy" on his experience of civil partnership. It said it had not taken in the context of a referendum on same-sex unions as no date for such a referendum has been set yet.

hnews@herald.ie

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