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Friday 9 June 2023 Dublin: 17°C
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# moving the dial
Newstalk, 98FM and Spin's CEOs to go in a major Communicorp reshuffle
Only TodayFM’s CEO has retained his position.

NEWSTALK CHIEF EXECUTIVE Tim Collins will leave his role at the Communicorp radio station just over a year after taking on the position.

The announcement was made to staff at an all-company meeting this morning, when a number of major changes to management at the station were revealed.

Fora understands that Collins is set to depart as Newstalk’s chief, but it is not known if he will take up another role within Communicorp. A spokesman for the station declined to comment when contacted.

Collins’ departure has come as part of a raft of changes at Communicorp’s other radio brands which will see the company move to a more ‘centralised’ management structure.

Fora understands that both 98FM CEO John Burns and Spin CEO Jamie Crawford will leave their current roles.

Staff were told both Burns and Crawford’s positions were being made redundant. Burns has only been in the role since August, while Crawford has been working at Spin since 2005 – and as chief executive since 2008.

TodayFM chief executive Keith McCormack has retained his job in the reshuffle and will now lead all music stations owned by Communicorp.

Collins joined Newstalk last year from Ocean FM after more than 11 years at the Sligo-based regional radio station.

The latest change has come only a few months after Garrett Harte, the long standing editor-in-chief at the station, resigned from his role. Since his departure, Harte’s role has not been filled.

Staff were told this morning: “We hope to have an editor-in-chief as soon as possible.”

Collins succeeded outgoing Newstalk chief executive Gerard Whelan nearly a full year after Whelan resigned from the position.

During his time at Ocean FM, Collins also acted in a consulting role to the Northern Ireland-based local radio group the Northern Media Group and was director of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland.

Collins also played a role in the establishment of River Media newspapers, which publishes regional titles such as the Donegal Post, the Kildare Post and Inish Times.

90423486_90423486 Leah Farrell / Newstalk breakfast line up Leah Farrell / /

New schedule

During his time at the station, Collins oversaw a major reshuffle to the Newstalk schedule.

The station has struggled to make significant inroads against RTÉ’s dominant Radio 1, which had a 23.6% share of the national weekday audience last year – compared to Newstalk’s 5.9%.

Following the departure of Ivan Yates from the Breakfast Show last year, Newstalk hired a number of new presenters to fill out a new weekday line up.

Irish Independent crime correspondent Paul Williams and TV3 news presenter Collette Fitzpatrick joined the station to form a new morning line up with Shane Coleman.

However, less than a year later Fitzpatrick left her new role with Newstalk to take up the role of senior news anchor with TV3.

Since the new schedule was introduced, Newstalk has seen mixed results in the quarterly JNLR ratings.

The latest JNLR figures released in February showed the Breakfast show was up 7,000 listeners to 122,000, while Pat Kenny’s show saw a small increased of 1,000 listeners up to 147,000.

However, Newstalk Drive dropped from 138,000 to 130,000 listeners, while George Hook’s lunchtime show dropped from 98,000 to 95,000. Moncrief also fell slightly by 1,000 listeners to 64,000.

In the red

Meanwhile, the Denis O’Brien-owned Communicorp posted a net loss of €3.46 million in 2015, according to the firm’s latest accounts, down from €4.15 million the previous year.

The continued plunge into the red came despite turnover increasing 28% to more than €85 million for the year.

Newstalk has also been the subject of controversy after an abandoned takeover bid from Independent News and Media (INM), which counts O’Brien as its largest shareholder, led to a boardroom falling-out at the newspaper publisher.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has asked INM to produce records relating to the proposed deal. It has since been revealed that the publisher’s CEO, Robert Pitt, made a protected disclosure under whistleblower rules about the bid.

Written by Killian Woods and posted on

Read: The corporate watchdog wants to know more about INM’s abandoned bid for Newstalk >

Read: Ivan Yates is coming back to Newstalk >

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