Eamon Dunphy: writing memoirs

EAMON Dunphy has dismissed speculation that he has quit Newstalk after being conspicuously absent from his Sunday morning slot.

Speaking to the Sunday Tribune yesterday, Dunphy said he had just arrived back from France where he was working on a book but that his "loose arrangement" with the station meant he would not be on the airwaves every week.

"I am doing the show next Sunday [7 November] and I haven't quit, no," he said.

"I was in France until last night but I am still working with Newstalk. It's a loose arrangement."

Rumours began to circulate that Dunphy may have packed it in after being absent for the last three weeks.

However, the popular sporting and current affairs pundit said that the show was likely to feature other guest hosts from time to time.

Dunphy has already taken two months off this year – during the summer, after only seven weeks at the helm of The Dunphy Show, during which time Irish Daily Star editor Ger Colleran filled in as presenter.

More recently historian Diarmaid Ferriter has acted as stand-in on the show. Dunphy was staying in France to work on his memoirs.

Of all 24 shows aired so far, Dunphy has only presented 12, and despite the regular change of hosts, it has continued to register a rising audience.

JNLR figures released last Friday show that the programme drew 10,000 more listeners than last June, with an average of 50,000 tuning in every Sunday morning.

Despite this, the programme has not managed to snatch any of its rivals' listeners, as figures show RTé presenter Marian Finucane has seen a rise of 32,000 listeners to 365,000.

Newstalk also has reason to celebrate after a 7% increase in listenership for George Hook, while an extra
8,000 are now tuning into Seán Moncrieff.

On 6 November, Hook will begin presenting a new Saturday-morning show from 10 to 12am focusing on news from the week and advice on money issues.

It is understood the show will also feature an agony aunt section entitled "Dear George" where listeners will be invited to send their personal dilemmas to the presenter.

Meanwhile, JNLR figures show that listeners are deserting the majority of the big-name broadcasters.

RTé suffered losses on its Drivetime (229,000) and Morning Ireland (426,000) programmes, while the Pat Kenny (320,000) and Joe Duffy (396,000) shows also suffered losses.