Saturday 18 November 2017

Michael O'Doherty: Come off it, Colm - shift to weekend wilderness is far from a 'move home'

Colm Hayes
Colm Hayes
Mark Little
Marco Pierre White
Vivienne Connolly. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Those who have always suspected that RTE's recruitment pol- icy involves strolling down to the canteen and seeing who's knocking around will have had their suspicions fortified this week.

What else is one to make of the news about two RTE radio shows which sees John Murray and Colm Hayes being axed, only to be replaced by Brendan O'Connor and Eoghan McDermott respectively?

Likewise, the national broadcaster's obsessive need to provide a consolation prize to the presenters, rather than just releasing them outright, has once again reared its ugly head.

But enough of this negativity, and congratulations to my favourite vertiginously-haired Irish DJ Eoghan McDermott who has landed himself the high-profile job of presenting 2fm's evening show.

I suspect Eoghan will by now be reaching for his keyboard to retaliate against the small-minded sniping that is sure to follow this remark. After all, surely I can't leave such a lauding of Eoghan's talents untempered, given the tousle-haired savant's recent description of me as "a gobshite of the highest order".

But he can save his energy, as there is no sarcasm intended in my felicitations because, after years of skirting around the edges of major shows, Eoghan has now landed his own prime-time gig, and I genuinely wish him the best of luck.

Instead, I will today be directing my sarcasm towards the man he replaces, Colm Hayes.

In 2011, at the height of its obsession with throwing vast sums of money at mediocre presenters, RTE revealed that Hayes earned an eye-watering €214,000 a year. And while the recent pay cuts have no doubt hit his pockets, one can assume that he is still amply remunerated in return for his attempt (and, dare one opine, failure) to be Ireland's answer to Howard Stern or Chris Evans. Two years ago, Hayes' show had 139,000 listeners, but in the latest JNLR figures that was down to 103,000.

In being shunted off to the wilderness that is weekend breakfast radio, Hayes has sadly followed the tedious tradition of someone who's just got a demotion yet insists on putting a positive spin on the news.

"It feels like moving home," he said, "having done Breakfast for nearly 20 years."

Which it is - moving home to your parents' three-bedroomed semi in the suburbs after living in your own five-bedroomed mansion in Ballsbridge for the past eight years.

John Murray, on the other hand, made no such attempt to sugar-coat his obvious demotion, and instead graciously chose to focus on the good times he's had as a broadcaster.

"It has been a pleasure and a privilege to present the show for the last five years," he said.

He couldn't resist, however, stressing that he will be back.

"I am looking forward to returning in the autumn to a new role with the station," he said.

And what's the betting this "new role" will not involve presenting a Monday-Friday show?

Which goes to prove one immutable truth: RTE radio presenters never die, they just get weekend jobs.


Mark Little will be insufferable if he doesn't find something to keep him occupied

Mark Little

Mark Little

There's only one thing as predictable as a demoted employee claiming they're happy with their demotion, and that's someone whose company has been bought out claiming they're staying on to work for their new bosses when we all know they'll be gone within the year. Which is exactly what has happened with former RTE presenter Mark Little and his online business, Storyful.

Back in December, he sold his share in Storyful to media giant News International for €18m, but vowed to stay on. Six months later, inevitably, he has decided not to, and likened his leaving the company to when a parent realises that their "little baby is all grown up and doesn't need me any more".

And sadly, in his departure, Little has shown himself to be as toe-curlingly pompous as ever.

"So why would anyone of right mind step away from this kind of turbo-charged business? It's hard to explain to those who haven't lived the start-up life. There comes a time when your continuing benefit to your company is outweighed by the personal cost of not moving on to the next challenge," he said.

Why doesn't Mark just say that, having pocketed a shedload of cash, his heart isn't in the company any more now that he doesn't own it, and he wants to enjoy life with his new-found wealth?

It would make it more palatable, and easier to relate to, than the incessant, mid-Atlantic corpworate mouthwash he continues to spew out, and the desperate need he feels to tell everyone what a restless entrepreneur he is.

On the other hand, I sincerely hope he finds himself a new project and throws himself headlong into it. After all, bearing in mind how pompous Little was when he was busy and relatively poor, can you imagine how insufferable he's going to be if he's idle and rich?

Smart move for TV3 - and Marco Pierre White

Marco Pierre White

Marco Pierre White

TV3 has again shown how commercially-savvy it is, as the new series of The Restaurant will not only feature renowned chef  Marco Pierre White as a resident critic, it will also be filmed in his Dublin restaurant.

In one fell swoop, TV3 has not only landed a big name, it has also saved itself a fortune by not having to decamp to Wineport Lodge in Athlone to film the show.

There is, inevitably, one tiny problem.

When he appeared as a guest critic on last season's series, Marco came across as bored, charmless and full of himself, and you'd almost suspect he was signed up just so he could promote his restaurant. Surely not?


Vivienne's dicing with dating danger

Vivienne Connolly. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Model Vivienne Connolly has admitted that, finding herself single at the age of 42, she would consider joining an online dating site in her search for love, and has even considered Tinder.

"I might have to join a dating site," she said, "but I feel I'd get stick if I spent the whole time explaining myself."

It seems extraordinary that someone as attractive as Vivienne, left, should have trouble finding a partner, but as she admits, she isn't going to find love sitting at home.

There is a problem, how- ever, because if Vivienne does go through with her threat to join Tinder, notorious for being favoured by Ireland's younger singletons, she might one day come across something worse than an awkward conversation.

She might come across her son.

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