RADIO GAGA AND WHAT TO DO WITH 2FM?

The first thing I thought when I heard of Pat Kenny’s move to Newstalk was that I hope they have somewhere for him to park his motorbike with a roof.  I then hoped that the arrival of such a radio superstar might nudge the station into providing decent coffee. 
It is going to be a huge change for the veteran broadcaster, leaving the leafy campus and free parking in Montrose for the altogether more utilitarian surrounds of the third floor of Marconi House.  
But that aside, Kenny’s departure from RTE is wildly exciting for media nerds (of which I am one) as it opens up a range of possibilities and conundrums for broadcasting generally and for three stations in particular… namely RTE, Newstalk and TV3.  But it seems to me that the biggest challenge may in fact be for RTE 2FM.
Clearly RTE Radio One has the most pressing problem as it now has quite a large hole in its weekday schedule.  ‘Today with PK’ sat squarely and very comfortably in the mid morning slot; a slot in which Gay Byrne and more recently Gerry Ryan worked their radio magic for decades. 
The untimely death of Gerry Ryan proved how unprepared our state broadcaster was for the sudden departure of one of their major stars and revenue earners.  With no obvious successor poor Tubridy was moved from his comfortable slot on Radio One and was shoe horned into 2FM where it was hoped he would hold onto that precious ‘Ryanline’ audience.  It was an impossible task for Tubridy and the station still seems to be in a quandary as what to do in with this previously lucrative morning talk slot.
Many believe that 2FM should revert to being a music station and go back to trying to serve a younger audience.  Personally I think the station has missed that boat.  The teenagers I know wouldn’t listen to 2FM in a fit, stations such as Spin 103 (Dublin) in particular have that market sewn up. 
The problem for 2FM it seems to me is that a lot of their presenters and indeed their audience have stayed with them.  Gerry Ryan would be mid 50s now as is Dave Fanning and Larry Gogan is well beyond that and is (rightly) still broadcasting on the station.
RTE Radio 2 was launched in 1979 which was the year I left school.  I have listened fairly frequently ever since and I was a huge fan of Gerry Ryan, who brilliance at broadcasting and whose people skills were only fully recognised when he was gone. 
Unlike when Gerry died, there is a list of possible and seemingly very capable presenters who could deliver the goods and retain the audience (read advertising revenue) in the wake of Pat’s departure;  namely Miriam O Callaghan, Claire Byrne, Aine Lawlor and Audrey Carville.  And yes… they are all women…. as good ole Bob Dylan predicted all those year ago… “the times they are a changing.”
It is interesting that Newstalk are scheduling Pat Kenny immediately after their Breakfast Show.  RTE have traditionally given listeners a bit of respite after Morning Ireland in a slot that went from Ryan Tubridy to John Murray and is currently being caretaken by the very capable Miriam O Callaghan.
So I wonder would all this upheaval will signal a return to Radio One for Tubridy where he could once again provide the light relief after Morning Ireland before handing over to one of the female current affairs heavy weights I listed above.

So the problem RTE still has really is what to do with 2FM.  Personally I think there is still a space for ‘talk radio light’ in the morning.  It needs the right presenter.  It may well be a woman… (there are no women presenters on 2FM weekday prime time) and like a lot of the pillars of 2FM, she may not be that young!  I’m thinking a Fiona Looney or Jennifer Maguire kind of woman.  Wouldn’t that be something….  
Then Newstalk and the other independent radio stations might realise that women can do radio too… and can do it very well! 

BACK TO THE FUTURE 1963

The 26th of June 1963 was my mothers 28th birthday. On that evening she stood in the front garden of our house on the Swords Road in Santry with her 18 month old daughter in her arms and together they watched as one of the most glamorous and charismatic leaders the world had ever seen, swept past in his motorcade on the way to Aras an Uachtarain.

I don’t know if the fact that I saw President Kennedy from my mother’s arms explains my fascination with his story. I think most people, particularly us Irish, find the story of JFK compelling. It has it all – power, glamour, wealth, success, Hollywood legends, conspiracy and the ultimate tragedy of a life cut short. To this day and no doubt into the future, JFK is the President many leaders, particularly American Presidents aspire to. Clinton and Obama made no secret of their admiration for the 35th President of the United States and the Kennedy family’s endorsement of their campaigns, was a key element in both their elections to office.

What was it that made John Fitzgerald Kennedy so special? Watch old film of this attractive man, who was 43 when elected, and his charisma is still evident today. Charisma, no matter what your role in life is, is a very useful commodity. JFK had it in buckets. He was by all accounts very charming and had the ability to make people like him. His self deprecating sense of humour also won people over. He was a leader whose two most powerful tools were charm and charisma. Coupled, no doubt, with a sharp intellect and innate understanding that politics is all about people, combined to make him a very effective statesman.

He understood that to connect with people, be they your countrymen or not, was essential. He arrived in Dublin on that June evening in 1963, straight from Berlin where he had made his famous ‘Ich bein ein Berliner’speech. JFK knew how to connect with people alright.

But connecting alone is not enough. Kennedy also knew how to communicate very effectively his vision of the world. He used big broad brush strokes when painting that vision. Many years later, African American poet Maya Angelou said “… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And when he came to visit us in Ireland, Kennedy made us feel good, good about ourselves and good about this country we live in. What a precious gift.

When he addressed the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas on the 28th of June, he delivered one of his trademark, powerful orations. It was full of references to Ireland’s proud literary tradition, stressing our relatively new independence, and the role he saw for Ireland in working towards World Peace. Probably the best known passage from the speech that day was when he quoted George Bernard Shaw’s approach to life :”other peoples see things and say ‘Why?…. but I dream things that never were – and I say: Why not?”

Kennedy went on to say
“It is that quality of the Irish, the remarkable combination of hope, confidence and imagination that is needed more than ever today. The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were and ask, why not?”

These words, delivered directly here to us in Ireland, inspired our country almost 50 years ago. We listened and we believed. Why? Because they were delivered by a charismatic leader, who had a vision to communicate to us and who ultimately made us feel good about ourselves. To me, this is the very essence of leadership.

We should be grateful to Ryan Tubridy for putting the spotlight back on those momentous days of 1963. Because buried among the newsreel footage, the anecdotes and the sheer excitement, is Kennedy’s speech to the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas. It is a speech that is as relevant today as it was on the day it was delivered. Almost half a century later, his words are still a wonderful gift to us. As we flounder from one financial crisis to the next, in a vacuum devoid of leadership and of vision, let us remember that the 35th President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy told us we possessed a remarkable combination of hope, confidence and imagination. And let us hope that he was right!

A PLUS AND MINUS RANT

The other day someone tweeted that the leading actresses in Working Girl were 2 sizes larger than they would be in a movie today!

Today Ryan Tubridy had an item on his radio programme about what he kept referring to as ‘Supersize’ models. He did finally get it right and used the ‘correct’ term Plus Size models.

But here’s the crunch – Plus Size Models are generally anything over a size 10. Yep – that’s right OVER A SIZE 10. Plus Size models are usually sizes 12, 14 or 16. So, girls – anyone over a size 10 is a Plus Size – in the modelling world. Now I will admit that I couldn’t listen to the full item on the programme.. but I am appalled. What kind of bullshit is this? What message does this send to our daughters?

So I am stating right here – loud and clear.

SIZES 12 – 16 ARE NORMAL, REAL, WOMEN WITH BOOBS AND BUMS.
THEY ARE THE WAY THAT WOMEN ARE MEANT TO LOOK.
PLUS SIZE SURELY COULD PERHAPS BE SOMEONE LIKE DAWN FRENCH (bless her!).

So I want to start a campaign to state that models and actresses of tiny sizes – 4 to 10 presumably ARE NOT NORMAL. They should henceforth be called MINUS SIZE MODELS unless they are children, who are meant to be that size.

I am reminded of the infamous quote given by Kate Moss who said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. Well Kate, you must never have experienced what it feels like to be voluptuous and abundant! It looks and I am sure feels far sexier than looking like an undernourished boy!
And another note to the two Scarey Mary’s pictured above – Kate and Victoria – when you are that skinny you look like you have the wrong head on!

OK – rant over! Feel better now. Normal Blogging service will be resumed over the weekend!