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Today FM announces Muireann O'Connell as host of new lunchtime programme

Before O’Connell, Today FM had no women hosting a show during its peak hours of 7am – 7pm.

Muireann O'Connell
Muireann O'Connell
Image: Today FM

TODAY FM HAS ANNOUNCED that broadcaster Muireann O’Connell will begin hosting a new lunchtime show later this month – making her the only woman to host a show during the station’s peak listening times of 7am – 7pm.

O’Connell’s new programme, launching on 22 January, will be a two-hour music and listener-driven show, according to Today FM.

With a broadcasting career spanning over 12 years, O’Connell has become a recognised voice on Today FM, as she has filled in slots for Ian Dempsey, Dermot and Dave, and Fergal D’Arcy.

Originally from Limerick, O’Connell started her radio career in Limerick’s Live 95, before moving to Spin South West in 2007.

She then joined Phantom FM four years later. In 2012, O’Connell moved to 98FM where she produced and later presented a late night talk show. In 2014, she moved to a breakfast slot with the station.

O’Connell joined Today FM in 2016, where she has presented Today FM’s Saturday Hits every week.

“I have loved Today FM for as long as I remember and the idea of ever getting to work here was something I never imagined would happen,” O’Connell said.

Speaking of her appointment, Today FM CEO Keith McCormack said: “We are delighted to welcome Muireann to the daytime lineup on Today FM.

“Muireann is an extremely talented broadcaster and presenter and on behalf of the Today FM team, I’d like to extend our best wishes to her as she takes up the midday mantel.”

Gender balance

Throughout 2017, Irish radio stations were heavily criticised for their lack of women on air during peak hours.

In August, DailyEdge.ie looked at how Ireland’s radio stations fare on the gender balance issue during peak listening hours (7am – 7pm, Monday to Friday) and how many women are on air.

It found the following:

  • RTÉ Radio 1: 4 women on air
  • 2FM: 4 women on air
  • Today FM: 0 women on air
  • Newstalk: 0 women on air
  • Spin 103.8FM: 1 woman on air
  • 98FM: 0 women on air
  • FM104: 0 women on air

Muireann O’Connell’s new lunchtime show begins on Today FM on Monday 22 January from 12pm – 2pm. Fergal D’Arcy will extend his afternoon show by half an hour with a new show time of 2pm – 4.30pm.

TheJournal.ie looked at the issue of gender balance on air last year, and this year the National Women’s Council of Ireland told us  it believes the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland should monitor the Irish airwaves for gender balance.

In addition, Communications Minister Denis Naughten told TheJournal.ie that he wouldn’t be opposed to the introduction of gender quotas on Irish radio, admitting that he had changed his mind about quotas in politics.

Read: ‘You won’t hear a woman’s voice, and it’s not acceptable’: What are Irish radio stations doing about gender balance?

More: Irish airwaves ‘should be monitored every year for gender balance’

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