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Pat Kenny to join Newstalk after 41 years with RTE.

Pat Kenny-1562342The news today that veteran broadcaster Pat Kenny is to join Newstalk from RTE on the 2nd of September to present a mid morning programme from 10am until 12.30pm has shocked the broadcasting community in Ireland.  A major coup for Newstalk, Kennys contract with RTE expired earlier this year and negotiations have been ongoing since then.  Please see below for statements from Newstalk, RTE and Pat Kenny.  More to follow later…

Newstalk Statement

Newstalk 106-108 fm is delighted to announce the arrival of Pat Kenny to the station, to present a current affairs magazine and news show, every weekday from 10am to 12:30pm, starting on September 2nd 2013.

Welcoming Pat to Newstalk, Station Editor, Garrett Harte said: “Pat Kenny’s arrival marks a significant milestone for Newstalk and reflects our long-term commitment to the development of independent radio, in Ireland. 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. I am delighted to welcome him to Newstalk.”

Pat Kenny commented: “Like many of my colleagues, I have always regarded Newstalk as a valuable source of news and comment. I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the growth of Newstalk and to be part of a new team where, hopefully, my experience will also add value. I am relishing the challenge ahead and looking forward to a new chapter in my career, with the world of independent broadcasting, helping to develop Newstalk into the talk radio of choice for listeners countrywide.”

Pat Kenny joins Newstalk following a 40-year career with RTE Radio and Television. His career has spanned news, current affairs and even music.

He has presented flagship programmes including The Late Late Show, Prime Time and its predecessor Today Tonight, The Frontline and Kenny Live.

He has been a newsreader, fronting countless Election and Referendum Specials and has hosted Today with Pat Kenny for 25 years. One of his earliest programmes was a weekend music show called the Outside Track.

RTE Statement

31 July: RTÉ today confirmed that broadcaster Pat Kenny will not be renewing his contract with RTÉ and will therefore be leaving the organisation with immediate effect.

Confirming the departure of Pat Kenny, RTÉ paid tribute to the contribution Pat Kenny has made to public service broadcasting over many years. In a forty one year career with the station spanning both Entertainment and News and Current Affairs, Pat Kenny proved to be a versatile and popular broadcaster on radio and television.

Pat Kenny joined RTÉ as a part-time radio announcer in 1972. With a natural grasp and passion for news and current affairs he moved quickly into broadcasting and later presented ‘Today Tonight’ winning a Jacob’s award in 1986 for his three radio programmes: ‘Saturday View’, ‘The Kenny Report’ and ‘The Outside Track’. Following the 1988 ‘Eurovision Song Contest’, which he co-hosted with Michelle Rocca, he presented a number of chat shows, including ‘Kenny Live’. He took over as host for ‘The Late Late Show’ from Gay Byrne in 1999 which he continued to present for the following ten years. In 2009 he was announced as the presenter of current affairs debate programme ‘The Frontline’, moving in January 2013 as one of the presenting team of current affairs programme ‘Prime Time’. Pat Kenny has been a presenter on RTÉ Radio 1 on his morning current affairs programme ‘Today with Pat Kenny’ since the 1980s, and has won multiple awards across his career.

Speaking of Pat Kenny’s departure, RTÉ Director General Noel Curran said: ‘Pat has made a huge contribution to RTÉ over many years on both television and radio. Always meticulously prepared, he is a broadcaster of real talent, range and integrity. I have worked with Pat as a Producer of both his Current Affairs and his Entertainment series and I know the range of his talent. 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. Through lengthy negotiations every effort was made to retain Pat’s services but unfortunately we could not come to an agreement. I would like to wish Pat the very best for the future and I would like to thank him, both personally and as Director General for his contribution to broadcasting on RTÉ. We must all now look ahead to refreshing our Radio 1 Schedule, on the back of the very strong JNLR figures last week.’

Pat Kenny – statement  31 July 201

Having been an on air presence on RTÉ radio and television for all of my broadcasting life, I have now decided to take on a new challenge.  I have accepted an offer from Newstalk to host a mid-morning current affairs and features show, with the objective of building a major audience in that time slot.  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.  In 1988, while co-anchor on the flagship current affairs programme Today Tonight I was invited to present the Eurovision Song Contest, which in turn led to an 11 year period presenting a Saturday night entertainment show, Kenny Live.  Then with the retirement of Gay Byrne, came perhaps the most daunting challenge to take on the Late Late Show, which I hosted for ten years. At that point in 2008, I was given the opportunity to develop an original current affairs show The Frontline, which proved to be popular with audiences and was not without its share of memorable moments and controversy.  So, against that background, I am delighted to have been invited to participate in a new on-air adventure.  I want to pay tribute to my wonderful and talented colleagues in RTÉ who contributed so much to our joint successes.  They may no longer be my colleagues, but I hope they will always remain my friends.  At this time, I have no immediate plans for TV but I would hope to return to your screens in some capacity in the not too distant future.  Most of all, I would like to thank all of the listeners and viewers who have tuned in over the years and look forward to continuing that relationship with the audience on Newstalk from September.

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