herald

Saturday 17 November 2018

Off The Ball crew aim for return ... to TV and radio

RTE is considering a TV proposal from former Newstalk sports team Off The Ball.

With rumours that an announcement concerning the future of Eoin McDevitt and four colleagues is imminent, the Herald has learned that a slot on RTE TV and radio could be on the cards for the sports pundits.

"The Off The Ball team have submitted a proposal for a new TV sports show to RTE, and it's being considered at the moment," said a station insider.

The national broadcaster had originally indicated they did not have the finances to hire McDevitt, Ken Early, Ciaran Murphy, Mark Horgan and Simon Hick, who all resigned en masse from Newstalk last March. However, a deal that would see them contributing to RTE TV and radio could be struck.

In recent weeks, three of the Off The Ball team have been spotted in Montrose, holding meetings with executives and even walking through RTE's own sports department.

 

Disagreement

The five are said to be also talking to station 2fm, whose new boss Dan Healy is a former Newstalk CEO.

Accepting his new role, the radio executive vowed to "make 2fm the most-listened-to music and entertainment station in Ireland", and spoke of 2fm's "important role in providing outstanding music, sport, entertainment, news and information to its legion of listeners".

The Off The Ball team left Newstalk last March following a disagreement with management.

They had asked to go on air an hour earlier, moving from 7pm to 6pm, which would have meant taking time off George Hook's The Right Hook programme.

However, when their demands fell on deaf ears, they resigned.

Early, Hick, Murphy and Horgan worked a four-week notice period, while main host McDevitt had a 12-week notice period, which will soon run out.

Their former Off The Ball show had a 4,000 increase in listenership in the latest JNLR figures.

hnews@herald.ie

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