Moynes gets rattled

Adrian Moynes, the head of RTÉ radio, was nicely filleted recently on Morning Ireland by Cathal MacCiolla. The hapless Moynes revealed by inference that the decision to remove Rattlebag from the Radio One afternoon schedule was taken by someone else – ie Ana Leddy, the head of Radio One. And as her immediate boss he had only a vague idea why she had wanted to do that or why he agreed to it.

He got into a tangle over what Dave Fanning's remit at 7pm was going to be and couldn't explain why, if the Fanning programme was to be an arts programme, Rattlebag should be continued in the insomniacs zone after 11pm.

The furore all this has caused in the letters column of the Irish Times is curious. When Rattlebag comes on the air at 2.45pm there is an immediate precipitous decline in the Radio One listenership. Is RTÉ management expected to pay no attention to what the listeners clearly want and do not want. After all, public service broadcasting has the "public" as a component. Some people in RTÉ seem to think that public service broadcasting is a broadcasting service to no public or that the less public there is the more reassuring it is that this indeed is public service broadcasting.

Gaybo was quoted in the Sunday Independent as saying the Ryan Tubridy Show was awful. He is dead right of course. Ryan or someone on his behalf should get out some of the tapes of the Gay Byrne radio programmes and note how the programmes were full of substance and full of humour. They weren't blather fests as Tubridy's show has become. The show is getting even more awful, now that its duration has been extended by an hour.

Gaybo was right about Ryan. There is more to him than this programme allows. It is the programme that is wrong. They should structure a programme around him that minimises the incidence of blather. Like, write short clever scripts to introduce the programme and whatever guests there are, and then short snappy questions to be put to the guests.

What's going on at Newstalk? Eamon Dunphy has been missing for weeks. Why? Ger Gilroy filled in and did a credible job. Then David Norris. Now someone else with an irritating posh English accent. Listeners don't like such gyrations. They want to get what they expect when they tune into a station at a particular time.

The same is true with the Newstalk lunchtime programme. Damien Kiberd has been gone for months. Brendan O'Brien filled in for a few weeks, now it is John Keogh. Why, why, why?

By the way if Newstalk is looking for new presenters, how about Philip Boucher Hayes who has been overlooked as the presenter of the new Radio One drivetime programme? Philip had a gruesomely posh accent when he first surfaced on radio, and a posh/superior demeanour. Either my ear has got used to this poshness or he has toned it down. But one way or another he has developed into a fine broadcaster and it seems a pity that no slot can be found for him in the schedule. He should emigrate to those fresh new Newstalk pastures. p