One of the hosts who has replaced ousted RTE star Ryan Tubridy has said “there is a sense of wrong” as his former radio show returned to air under new branding.
Tubridy had been off air since June 22 following a scandal regarding the national broadcaster under-declaring his fees.
On Thursday, new RTE director-general Kevin Bakhurst announced there were currently no plans for Tubridy to return to the programme because trust had “broken down” in negotiations.
The announcement followed a dispute which arose in relation to how RTE had revised his published earnings for 2020/21.
Tubridy, who was previously RTE’s highest-paid presenter, said in a statement that the figures published originally, which were lower and did not include fees for a controversial commercial arrangement, were correct.
Mr Bakhurst said negotiations at the time would have seen Tubridy, 50, returning to his radio show and start a new podcast from September.
But the director-general pulled the plug on the talks in response to the contentious statement, saying the presenter was not accepting his portion of blame over the matter.
Oliver Callan, who has been one of the presenters regularly filling in on The Ryan Tubridy Show during the controversy, opened a new programme in the time slot by addressing the dispute.
Speaking on Monday, Callan said of Tubridy: “There is a sense of wrong that he won’t be heard here again.”
The new Nine O’Clock Show now fills the same 9am to 10am slot and the old theme tune has been replaced.
In his opening monologue, Callan paid tribute to Tubridy by referencing his personal interests and memorable moments in his broadcasting career.
But he also highlighted the widening controversy which has engulfed the national broadcaster and exposed issues with financial governance at RTE.
Callan said: “There’s a bit of a lesson, I think, as well, on graciously and humbly accepting second chances when they’re being offered to you.
“And, in the heel of the hunt, he’s not a hated figure. He’s not cancelled, he has opportunities aplenty, and we sincerely wish him well.
“He will be back because there is a home always for Ryan’s experience and his mischief, and that Jiminy Cricket personality hopped up on jelly babies or whether he’s swearing at Fanta bottles, doing dodgy Jimmy Stewart impressions – terrible karaoke at times – and the whole history of Holy Moley mugs, worshipping JFK and Morse and history of course, elbow patches and puns.
“He had a brilliant career here and he was a hugely encouraging figure for those of us who passed through his Late Late Show living room over the years.
“So we’re sorry and sad to see him go, just as we’re sorry and sad to see the harm that’s been done towards RTE by all of the scandals, and there should be a reckoning for all of those behind all of it.
“The payments, the golden handshakes, the musical, the junkets – every last flip-flop.”
Callan described himself as a “caretaker” for the radio slow as the full-time host of the Nine O’Clock Show has yet to be decided.
“We’re off now into the unknown, this sort of period of the in-between begins,” he concluded.
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