Gay Byrne: he belongs to the nation says TV3's Ben Frow

RTÉ broadcasting legend Gay Byrne has revealed he plans to begin discussions with TV3 next month on a proposal for him to present a new road safety show.

Since retiring from full-time presenting in May 1999, Byrne (75) has been tied to an exclusive RTÉ deal to make a number of television and radio programmes with the station. However, this arrangement is due to come to an end this year.

TV3's director of programming Ben Frow now hopes that, in his other role as chairman of the Road Safety Authority, RTÉ could be persuaded to allow Byrne to appear on another station to promote road safety.

"Gay Byrne is like the taoiseach and the president. He is the single broadcaster in this country. He belongs to the nation, not to any one TV channel. TV3 have a crusading programme we want to do about road safety and we think Gay Byrne should absolutely be doing it. I would be extremely disappointed if he didn't front it.

"It's a subject matter close to his heart and it is right for the country that Gay Byrne should present it," said Ben Frow.

Despite retiring as host of The Late Late Show 10 years ago, Byrne has seldom been off our screens or radios.

His ongoing broadcasting presence is set to continue in the autumn with a Sunday afternoon music show on Lyric FM and the filming of a further six episodes of religious affairs programme The Meaning Of Life.

Speaking this weekend, Gay Byrne confirmed he had spoken to TV3 and said he hoped to discuss their proposal in more depth next month.

"He [Ben Frow of TV3] did call me and I will be talking to him again in September. The delay is only because I'm away most of August and won't be in circulation until September.

"They [TV3] are going to give me a call in September. I don't really know what they have in mind."

Attending the Rose Of Tralee last week, Byrne said he had met with Ryan Tubridy and discussed his first Late Late Show as presenter which goes out this Friday night on RTÉ One.

"Ryan was down in Tralee over the weekend. We had a couple of drinks and talked about the situation.

"I didn't give Ryan any advice. He doesn't need any. He is up and ready for it. It's a whole adventure for him and a new era for the show. I'm sure people will be looking in with delight to see what happens."