This won’t happen

Pat Kenny has left RTE, leaving speculation on how the national broadcaster will fill the two-hour gap in its schedule. Most articles fixate on the conservativeness of the station, and how it will seek a safe pair of hands. In this world, adventurous is defined as going for a female anchor.

There’s a bolder option.

RTE radio riffs on a single theme. Sometimes one presenter, sometimes two. Sometimes soft focus, sometimes harder. But from 7AM until 7PM, outside an hour at midday, there’s a pattern. Studio-bound interviews broken by the very occasional off-site interview, usually with a journalist. Commercial stations, when not playing wall-to-wall music, follow the same template.

The truly radical move is to dump the idea of a single “personality” anchoring the mid-morning slot. Go for a true magazine. Irish broadcasters record “actual” all the time, then use it as colour. Think Paddy O’Gorman. In twenty minutes with Pat, the voice you hear most is Paddy, occasionally interrupted by “this next clip”.

Imagine instead audio used the way it should be, to create a sound essay. Imagine a true magazine, full of audio “articles” letting people tell their stories in their own words.

Not one voice, but dozens.

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By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.