Veteran broadcaster Pat Kenny is to be part of the UTV Ireland schedule. The former RTE presenter who joined Newstalk last summer will present a current affairs show on the new channel which launches in January. Kenny’s hiring is seen as a pragmatic move by the Belfast media group in a bid to appeal to audiences in the Republic. UTV Ireland has up to now been vague in its promise to provide extensive news and current affairs.
Speaking at the media announcement, Kenny said he spent the last year or so bedding in the new Newstalk show. The JNLR reports indicated the show was “on course”, so a move to TV was “perfect” for him. Kenny’s move to UTV Ireland will be seen as a major blow to RTE. A brief run-down on some of the programmes UTV Ireland will show was screened, which group CEO John McCann said was just “a taster” of things to come.
Daragh Byrne, commercial director, UTV Ireland, said agencies can look forward to a new channel with new ideas. It would bring simplicity to the trading process and flexibility and transparency to the Republic’s TV market, with 25 commercial staff based in Macken House. The new station’s offer will go beyond spot advertising, providing agencies with product placement and sponsorship. UTV Ireland joins the new Fusion one-stop sales house, along with the group’s local radio network, Simply Zesty digital and UTV in the North.
Byrne said UTV Ireland will stage a “spectacular” launch in November.