As the upcoming second series of You Couldn’t Make It Up, our comedy news panel show for Newstalk, fast approaches, it got me thinking about its long and treacherous journey thus far. Back on Newstalk for a second 10-week run from January 19th, it's been around the houses just to get this far. As we often describe it, it's the show that refuses to die, such has been its regular resurgences just when we think its pulse is no more.
As the Press Council of Ireland nears the end of its tenth year in operation, Press Ombudsman, Peter Feeney is my guest on the ninth media-savvy Off Message podcast. Our chat explored the vagaries of dealing with complaints for both online and print publications, his previous lengthy career in RTE making programmes and overseeing their Freedom of Information activity, his love of local newspapers, his predictions for the future of the press and public service broadcasting, and lots more.
My luckiest career break may well have been a literal one. It happened 40 years ago this month. I could be a very happy headmaster somewhere now if it hadn't happened. Though I suspect my break really was for the best.
Just a year into her most high-profile radio job to date, the eighth media-curious Off Message podcast features Newstalk's Lunchtime Live presenter Ciara Kelly. During our 50-odd minute chat we chewed the media fat on debating extremists, social media bullying and detoxing, developing a media career without having to hustle, taking over a big show after an equally big controversy, and loads more.
The sixth media circus that is the Off Message podcast is with Michael O'Keeffe, CEO at the regulator of all Irish broadcasting - though thankfully not podcasts...not yet, anyway - the BAI, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. During our chat Michael revealed the BAI's origins in Ireland's murky pirate radio past and its planned next move into regulating parts of the online media wild west; the type of complaints they regularly get about programmes; where they get their funding and how some would rather not pay up; their wooing of London's international broadcasters pre-Brexit; the growing Irish appetite for podcasts - *applauds*; their take on diversity and plurality in Ireland's broadcast media; and more.
The fifth media-curious Off Message podcast is with Deirdre O'Shaughnessy of Cork's 96fm. Editor of and regular fill-in presenter on their morning chat show, The Opinion Line with PJ Coogan, I was particularly interested to explore their different approach dealing with a local rather than a national audience and what kind of items work best for them. During our yabber Deirdre also revealed why she's in no rush to work in Dublin, how when she arrived the station successfully replaced a big name presenter in the same slot and why a morning talk show works so well in an otherwise all-music radio format.
Now that all the fuss and excitement has died down I figured I should write a few words about the whole First Dates experience. When I agreed to do it little did I know the impact it would have. Of all the one-off television appearances I’ve done over the years, there’s no doubt it was the one that blew up the most. Mostly due to one simple factor.
The third Off Message media-mad podcast features Mark Little, a man who's already been around the media block more than once. As you might imagine we had a lot to talk about, from the nitty gritty of his new business venture, to his reaction when Rupert Murdoch came sniffing round his last one, to the importance of genuine critical feedback, to how his own personal media consumption has changed radically over the years, and loads more.
The debut Off Message podcast, featuring the media-related wit and wisdom of RTÉ 2fm's music-and-movie-mad Dave Fanning. Over the course of our chat Dave reminisces about his almost completely accidental career journey; how his RTÉ career hasn't exactly gone to plan; whether he'd ever ask U2 the hard questions; his unconventional advice for succeeding in the media world, and at a typical Fanning rate of knots, of course much, much more.
Violence and the news go hand in hand. But given their special relationship, are those arguing violence should be reported less simply wasting their time? Probably, for a handful of rarely acknowledged reasons.
The other day I had the most unexpected – and more than a little frightening – thought: I wondered if coming home was a mistake. I spent 11 years in London, returning to Dublin in 2009 when RTÉ commissioned a TV idea I'd had. It got me thinking about the pros and cons of my return.
I spent most of November in Maximum Media helping them produce a series of short videos. I’ve read a lot about ‘new media’ changes and their impact on their ‘old media’ cousins over the past decade but seeing one of these ‘new media’ models up close and personal over the past while was an invaluable personal first.
I got a nice black eye Saturday night. Despite taking selfies cataloguing the ever-darkening wound I resisted the temptation to publicly post them. Til now. It got me thinking about how our mainstream media's concentration on violent crime helps propagate an atmosphere of fear.
As I left RTÉ last week at the end of another long run there I was very aware that I hadn’t a gig lined up to go to anywhere else anytime soon. Oddly I wasn't too worried, which as a freelancer is a very weird feeling.
Every half-assed chancer in Ireland and their dog has a Father Ted story. And I’m no different. Many years ago yours truly was actually in Ted…well, almost.
When Radio Eireann had a monopoly on Irish airwaves pirate radio was the only realistic outlet for the majority of folk with any broadcasting ambitions. Including yours truly.
Having to look after all your own tax affairs is just one of the things you have to consider when thinking of becoming a freelancer. Here are the main pros and cons, as far as I can tell.