RTÉ pop station 2fm is to dumb down its afternoon schedule by banning any talk from its shows and ordering its DJs to play music only.
The Sunday Tribune has learned that from this week, DJs Nikki Hayes and Rick O'Shea will drop non-music items from their shows. The move will result in just
one researcher working across three separate shows presented by Hayes, O'Shea and Drivetime presenter
"A couple of weeks ago the DJs were brought in by RTÉ management and told there wasn't going to be any more talk in the afternoons on 2fm", an RTÉ source told the Sunday Tribune. "It's going to be all music from now on."
The man overseeing the decision is former 2fm DJ Michael Cahill, who recently took charge of the station's daytime programming, and who is tipped to take
over from John Clarke as head of 2fm.
The news is said to have gone down badly with staff.
"Both Nikki and Rick's shows offered listeners smart intelligent content," according to one source. "Rick in particular had interviews with authors, movie reviews and invited listeners to ring in on certain topics. Nikki and Rick won't be saying anything more now than 'that was a record by such-and-such. Next up is such-and-such,' which is what every other radio station in the country does. It's wrong, especially when you consider RTÉ is supposed to be a public-service broadcaster."
Unconfirmed reports claim that 2fm's sudden focus on music could be related to a new 2fm website being launched this year where listeners will be able to buy music online.
"If you're listening online and 2fm plays, let's say, The Kings of Leon, you'll be
able to click a button which allows you to buy the track through the 2fm website," the source said. "The more music 2fm plays, the more they can sell. In the current climate, everything in RTÉ has to pay its way."
In response to queries, an RTÉ spokeswoman said: "RTÉ 2fm is and has been primarily a music radio
station. This has not changed. Staff levels in 2fm will be as they were in 2008."
She denied that Michael Cahill had been responsible for the decision to opt for the music-only format.
Asked if there were any plans to sell music on the new 2fm website, she said: "The new 2fm website is in development at the moment."
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