Ivan Yates: dream job

Newstalk bosses have given Ivan Yates a few extra hours in bed, leaving co-presenter Claire Byrne to front the first half of the station's breakfast show alone. The show is now being extended by an hour to 10am to accommodate Yates, a move which has caused controversy amongst Newstalk staff.

"A lot of the Newstalk team can't believe he has been given the new contract," a station source told the Sunday Tribune.

"If any of the rest of us said we wanted to get up a little later in the morning, it just would not happen. It is unbelievable and there is a lot of talk about it."

According to the source, other presenters on the station have expressed annoyance that they are not being consulted about decisions.

"We are all hearing about these decisions from the newspapers and we might have something to say about it. Now that they are pushing the show up to 10am, it could spell potential disaster for the station, because all of our competition has switched over from breakfast shows by 9am."

Byrne declined to comment on the fact she is now faced with presenting most of the show alone. Yates is currently filling in for George Hook while he is on holiday.

Figures released last week show that there has been a rise in listenership figures for two of Newstalk's main presenters, Seán Moncrieff and George Hook, but a decline in ratings for the breakfast show. The Right Hook now has 117,000 listeners, up 7,000, while the Moncrieff show rose 9,000 to 79,000.

By contrast, almost all of RTE's main programmes lost listeners. Joe Duffy's Liveline suffered a loss of 8,000, Morning Ireland saw a decrease of 14,000 while the Colm and Lucy show dropped 10,000 listeners.

However, one well-known media buyer believes the figures may be even worse than that.

"The JNLR calculates the figures as an average over a length of time of a few months, so given that Colm and Lucy were only there for a matter of weeks, the figure for their losses could well be a lot higher, and Ryan Tubridy has a big job coming in now to fill that slot left by Gerry Ryan."

Tubridy will take over Ryan's 2FM 9am-12 noon slot at the end of the month, and faces strong competition from Ray D'Arcy on Today FM, who has seen a substantial boost of 4,000 listeners.