HE’S A FAMILIAR face to any RTÉ Six One News watcher – but newsreader Bryan Dobson has no intention of stepping out from behind the newsdesk.
When the TheJournal.ie gets a chance to speak to the veteran reporter at the launch of RTÉ’s new schedule, we ask if ever has any intention of doing his own flagship show.
The answer? A firm but jovial: “No. Not at all.”
“I like being surrounded by news and material I like to work with. It would terrify me to do a chat show or anything like that,” he explains.
The Late Late? Absolutely not – that’s well spoken for. I’m a news man I suppose. And that’s where I’m going to stay as long as they leave me there.
Dobson is preparing for the autumn and winter seasons, which will see some particularly interesting things happening in the Irish political scene. Dobson – who self-deprecatingly refers to himself as “a politics bore” – is particularly looking forward to 2016.
“I suppose the excitement is going to come from the election,” he says. “In news that’s what a lot of focus is on. And maybe if there’s a period of instability afterwards, that could be quite interesting as well. Then there’s all the 1916 commemorations so that will be very busy.”
One thing he’s not quite looking forward to? RTÉ going high definition. “Heaven forbid,” he says in mock horror. “I have very mixed feelings about it. Because it shows up every little bump, wrinkle and crack and crevice. It’s very ruthless.”
HD looks to be the only major change to RTÉ News on One, as they’ve already redecorated the set in 2014. “There’s ongoing tweaking,” says Dobson. “The broad format of the programme is the same.”
A national figure
Having spent so long at the helm of the show, does Dobson – or Dobbo to his fans – see himself as a bit of a national figure? “No,” he says. But as for whether he reflects on the fact that people watch him on TV every night, he says:
I don’t think about it but I do to the extent that if people say hello to me on the street – which they do from to time – I find that very reassuring. People ask me: ‘Do you mind that?’ And no, I’m very happy with that because it means people are watching. If I walked down the street and no one knew who I was, we’d have a problem, wouldn’t we?
He adds that he finds that “very comforting”.
“I think Irish people, they feel particularly towards RTÉ – quite rightly – a proprietorial interest. This is their TV station, they pay for it, they are entitled to expect a body of service and that it’s accountable.”
He also values having a connection to viewers, saying it’s important to anyone involved in broadcasting or journalism.
What about social media? He compares it to chatting on the couch to your family or friends about what you’re watching on TV. “I think it’s the same phenomeon but it’s just amplified in terms of the audience,” he says. “That doesn’t bother me.”
He’s on Twitter, but says he’s “very lazy about it”. Dobson is, though “fascinated by the link between new media and what we do”.
Looking ahead to 2016, who would he most like to interview on RTÉ News? “I’d like to get Enda Kenny in to the studio more often. He’s hard to get an interview with. Maybe with the election coming up, we might be able to do that.”