Ivan Yates: 'zombie broadcaster'

Newstalk's newest presenter has denied rumours that he asked station bosses to change the name of their breakfast programme to The Ivan Yates Show.

Speaking after his first week on the programme, which he co-hosts with Claire Byrne, Yates admitted that while the title was still under review, he had never asked for it to be re-branded to include his name.

"There is a flexibility for the management at Newstalk to review the programme's name," said the former agriculture minister. "But I didn't want it to be called The Ivan Yates Show at any stage. All I can say is that we looked at a number of programme titles including Sunrise, Daybreak and Agenda and the jury is still out on that so it might be renamed something other than Breakfast which is what it is called now."

Radio insiders had claimed that it was an impasse over the title of the programme which resulted in Yates only agreeing to an initial three-month summer stint.

However, the Wexford businessman denied this. "I didn't want to have a contract which would go too far and sour relationships. I didn't want to get involved in that sort of a contract and Newstalk didn't want to restrict themselves so we came to an agreement where we would do a contractless deal. I have other irons in the fire. It's somewhat experimental but that doesn't mean I am not committed and not going to give it my best shot but I'm not asserting that it will be a success."

The former politician admitted that the early-morning schedule was already taking its toll and this had prompted him to consider whether the job of an early-morning radio host was something he wanted to do long term.

"I will do it for a period and I will give it my best shot but I do not see myself doing this in five or 10 years' time," he said. "Have you heard of zombie banks? I'm a zombie broadcaster. If I go to bed at 8pm, I can't go to sleep and if I try and sleep in the afternoon, I can't get to sleep."