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Pat Kenny on revealing his salary: ‘I don’t have to, I’m not going to, that’s the new world!’

The broadcaster said he did not contact Denis O’Brien prior to his appointment, stating “You don’t go into someone and say ‘I’m great, why don’t you hire me’.”

Image: TV3 screengrab via Website

Updated 23.35

PAT KENNY SAYS his move from RTÉ to Newstalk was not “about the money” and that while he was affected by the financial crisis, he is not “sinking”.

Speaking to TV3 News about his decision to leave Montrose, the broadcaster said the deal will not impact his finances in a “particularly different” way to how RTÉ would have sorted him financially.

The 65-year-old refused to reveal details of his new salary after presenter Brian O’Donovan asked if he would give an indication of his remuneration.

“I certainly will not,” he responded. “I don’t have to, I’m not going to, that’s the new world!”

He added that he was “always amused” at the idea he worked in the semi-State sector.

“People like me who are freelance broadcasters and have been for well over 30 years…no pension, if you’re sick you don’t get paid, if you’re a woman and you’re pregnant, you have your baby on your own time.

“We are freelance broadcasters and clearly we have to look after our own pensions and our own futures, so you make investments. They look good at the time. They didn’t turn out so well. And I’m not unique in that respect. So yes, I was hit hard but not ‘holed below the water line’. I’m not sinking.”

Return to TV?

Kenny did not dismiss a return to the small screen or rule out future collaborations with RTÉ.

“I’ve deliberately said I want to get the Newstalk project up and running and successful – that’s my first priority. Whether I do other things, whether I do any broadcasting in Britain, whether I do any broadcasting for TV3 or RTÉ, whether I write columns for newspapers – all of that is on the back burner. This is my project for the moment and this is the one that has really got to work,” he explained.

The presenter also insisted that he left RTÉ on good terms with director general Noel Curran.

“I certainly won’t be working for the foreseeable future on RTÉ radio, but there’s every possibility that I’ll do some work on RTÉ television, so it’s not that,” he continued.

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Working with Newstalk?

Kenny told TV3 that he received a welcome phone call from Communicorp chairman Denis O’Brien but insisted he had not contacted him during the recruitment process.

“Everything was done through intermediaries – you don’t go into someone and say ‘I’m great, why don’t you hire me’,” he said, before refusing to talk about the initial contact.

“No, I’m not going to talk about any of the contractual arrangements, with either RTE or Newstalk. That’s nobody’s business – that’s private stuff.”

Kenny hopes to boost the listenership of the station during his 10am to 12.30pm slot but realises the challenge that poses.

“I mean people have the habits of a lifetime. The radio that is up on a shelf somewhere, tuned to one station and switched on at the mains, possibly even out of reach somewhere, and the job is to persuade people that it’s worth trying something new and listening in, although we shouldn’t forget that George Hook and Sean Moncrieff and the breakfast show and the lunchtime show, have significant listeners and I would hope that instead of people maybe switching from some of those shows to other stations, that they’ll stay with Newstalk and stay with me.”

Watch the full interview here.

Originally published 18.21

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