After 41 years at Ireland’s national public service broadcaster, Pat Kenny will be leaving behind his mid-morning current affairs slot on RTÉ Radio 1 for the very same format on rival station Newstalk.
Kenny joined RTÉ radio in 1972, eventually moving on to work on various television shows from the broadcaster, including a stint as the host of flagship Friday night chat show, The Late Late Show.
“Pat Kenny’s contract with RTÉ expired earlier this year and we have been aware for some time that he had an offer from commercial radio,” said RTÉ director general Noel Curran. “Through lengthy negotiations every effort was made to retain Pat’s services but unfortunately we could not come to an agreement.”
With best wishes from his former employer, Kenny will now make the move to Newstalk from September, taking over Tom Dunne’s mid-morning slot from 10am to 12.30pm. Dunne will be staying on with the station, albeit with a new show.
“Pat Kenny’s arrival marks a significant milestone for Newstalk and reflects our long-term commitment to the development of independent radio in Ireland,” said Newstalk station editor Garrett Harte. “Pat is one of Ireland’s most respected broadcasters with an outstanding pedigree in quality journalism. His addition to the Newstalk team will greatly add to our on-air offering and is a further demonstration of the ambition of this station.”
Kenny himself released a statement saying, “I am relishing the opportunity and the challenge to work in the independent commercial sector. Over my career, despite its continuity within RTÉ, and particularly my years on mid-morning radio, from time to time I have radically changed direction, moving from children’s TV to music programmes, arts and features to news and current affairs.”
Kenny also hinted at a return to television “in the not too distant future”.
The news quickly spread across Twitter and #todaypk was trending in Ireland today – which often happens during the broadcast of Today with Pat Kenny on RTÉ Radio 1, though today it was joined on the list by ‘Newstalk’. Fellow broadcasters offered comment on the move while other users had some fun at the timeliness of this occuring during the football transfer window.
As with any breaking news on Twitter, the jokes quickly started to trickle in – as did speculation on the man’s replacement.