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Dan Healy

'It's an exciting time': 2FM boss insists there is no crisis at station following string of high-profile departures

The trio of departures has sparked much speculation about what might be happening at the station.

2FM BOSS DAN Healy has denied the station is in a crisis following the departure of four hosts from three of its flagship daily shows, claiming that their reasons for leaving were “nuanced”.

The exodus was kicked off earlier this month when Doireann Garrihy announced that she was leaving her breakfast show after five years at the station.

This was followed by the 2 Johnnies announcing this week that they were leaving their popular drive-time show at the end of the month. Jennifer Zamparelli dropped another bombshell when she announced her departure yesterday after more than 10 years at the station.

The trio of departures has sparked much speculation about what might be happening at the station as RTÉ in general has been rocked by high profile departures as well as governance and financial scandals over the past year.

Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne, 2FM chief executive Dan Healy said that the departures could not be attributed to a “single thing”.

“But you’re attributing it to single thing and what I’m saying is, it’s not that it’s nuanced, it is genuinely nuanced,” he said.

All presenters leaving have high profiles and significant media careers outside of 2FM. 

Garrihy has a popular podcast and has also been a television presenter for Dancing with the Stars on RTÉ One. Zamparelli has also hosted the programme as well as others on RTÉ.

The 2 Johnnies have a significant following and perform live shows and are the hosts of a very popular podcast.

Byrne put it to Healy that new rules at RTÉ around the external activities of staff and presenters may have led to the departures. A new “external activities” register has been introduced at RTÉ under new management.

A new form will have to be filled out by RTÉ workers to identify conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest that may or may not be seen to conflict with the national broadcaster’s obligations.

An example of this could include a journalist’s or presenter’s intention to work with another brand, organisation or make a guest appearance as a host at events or a broadcast that are separate to RTÉ.

Under this, presenters will have accepted external activities listed as well as the payment they receive within a certain income “band”. When asked if these rules were an “issue” for 2FM, Healy said:

“I’m looking you in the eye and I’m saying this is an exciting time. Genuinely an exciting time,” he said, denying it was an issue.

When asked if he should kick back against RTÉ and management and politicians in relation to these rules. Healy said:

It’s not about RTÉ and politicians. It’s about the audience. It’s only about the audience.

He was asked why a young, popular digital influencer or content creator would bother joining 2FM after looking at the high profile departures, and said online content creators still needed radio much as radio needed their talent and reach.

“The reality is, is it’s a tough game, in that digital other space, and, you know, I mean, it’s not surprising… We need each other. It’s an ecosystem,” he said.

So for me, like I would look at a young, talented content creator and go, there’s no place better. There is no place better.

Healy insisted the 2FM’s focus remained on building its listenership among the 15-34 age group, and that his station does not “compete with Today FM”, which has a higher share of listeners and which Healy said is aimed at an older audience.

“So you have to programme to the available, okay. So that’s the reality, you can’t programme to what’s not there. But essentially, we’re focused 15 to 34, there’s enough available,” he said.

Healy claimed that all the headlines about the high profile would be “good for the JNLRs”, the research for listeners for radio shows across Ireland, as well as market share.

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