Keane: traffic springboard

New multi-city radio station 4FM says it has been swamped by applicants after advertising for a reporter to present traffic news.

Posted last month on the station's website and announced on-air, radio bosses were forced to pull the advert after they received 180 responses.

4FM Chief Executive Martin Block (58) told the Sunday Tribune: "We were absolutely astounded. I thought we might get 20 applications but the figure now stands at 180 and looks like it might reach 200. We've announced a cut-off point but we're still getting CVs which will be kept on file."

Described as a 'shoo-in role' by Block for "somebody to build on", the advertisement had called for "a big personality to put some oomph into the station's daily traffic updates", while stressing the suitable candidate should also "understand the stresses of driving around Ireland's major cities every day".

Among those answering the advert were trained actors, a former continuity announcer from RTÉ and one broadcaster who had worked with both Sky News and the BBC.

"I've been doing these sorts of searches for years and I have never come across this level of talent for what is, relatively speaking, a small role in the company. Being brutally honest, I suppose it's indicative of what is going on in the marketplace at the moment," said Block.

The 25 applicants deemed most suitable for the job were invited into 4FM's studios off Dublin's South Great George's Street to record voice tests. The successful applicant is expected to be announced later this week.

While declining to reveal the salary paid to the latest addition to his radio station, Block said they would be receiving a shift rate for a five-day week. "It's not a big job or on a big scale, but it could be. We're hoping that it could be made into something. What we have said to everybody interested is that if they show ability we would bring them on as a personality." TV personality Lorraine Keane began her career as an AA Roadwatch presenter with RTÉ radio in 1990.

Anyone taking on a similar role with 4FM will be joining a presenting team made up of former RTÉ and Newstalk broadcasters including Derek Davis, Tom McGurk and Jimmy Greeley. Aimed at the over-45s, 4FM broadcasts to counties Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Clare.