Podcast 14: Trust Me, I’m A Journalist – Off Message 61

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Has the media lost our trust? If so, what can it do to regain it? More importantly, should we ever actually fully trust our media?

On the night Ireland played Denmark in a vital Euro 2020 qualifier down the road in the Aviva Stadium, a quartet of the good and the great of Irish media gathered in Whelan’s on Dublin’s Wexford St as part of the Dublin Podcast Festival to discuss and debate with me perhaps the most important issue of a business they would all see as vital to the well-being of society yet one which has long been in a state of turmoil, exploring why trust in the Fourth Estate is currently at an all time low, explaining the very real impacts this lack of trust in our media is having on everything from politics to climate change to vaccinations uptake, suggesting ways in which that trust might be restored, and arguing the toss about whether we should even trust the mainstream media in the first place.

Podcast 13: Baz Ashmawy – Off Message 60

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The thirteenth – lucky for us – Off Message podcast is with Baz Ashmawy, of ’50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy’ fame.

In his central Dublin office he revealed the exact moment he knew a suit-wearing career in recruitment was not for him, the shock of being shut out of RTÉ, how subsequently not getting a radio gig was more than likely a blessing in disguise, knowing when an idea’s time is up, and loads more.

Podcast 12: Lise Hand – Off Message 58

The twelfth media-mad Off Message podcast features political writer, Lise Hand, soon to be ex- of the Times Ireland edition parish.

In Buswells Hotel, across the road from her major work haunt of Leinster House in Dublin, and in many ways over the years her office away from her office, she came clean on the life of the political hack, the impact of social media on the world she covers, the downside of the closure of local newspapers, why the Times Ireland is closing and how she’s dealing with it, and much much more.

Podcast 11: Seamus Dooley – Off Message 57

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For the 11th media-curious Off Message podcast I dropped into the NUJ’s Irish HQ in Dublin to talk all things media with the Irish Secretary of the journalists’ trade union, Seamus Dooley.

We discussed the recent shooting dead of freelancer Lyra McKee in Derry, the lack of genuine media ownership diversity, their ongoing campaigns, fixing trust in journalism, why he thinks all journalists should join the NUJ, and loads more.

Podcast 10: Philip O’Connor – Off Message 56

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On a flying visit to his native Dublin, freelance journalist Philip O’Connor, the man behind his own media blog and podcast, the wonderfully titled Our Man In Stockholm, dropped by for the tenth media-savvy Off Message podcast.

We chewed the fat on his attempt to crowdfund much of his journalism income, how he uses social media to generate work, his often outspoken tone online, his unique and unusual route into journalism, and loads more.

You Couldn’t Make It Up: Its Long and Winding Road – Off Message 55

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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.

Podcast 9: Peter Feeney – Off Message 54

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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 Break? – Off Message 53

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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.

Podcast 8: Ciara Kelly – Off Message 52

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.

Podcast 6: Michael O’Keeffe – Off Message 49

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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.

Podcast 5: Deirdre O’Shaughnessy – Off Message 48

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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.

True Love Ways: The First Dates Effect – Off Message 47

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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.

Podcast 3: Mark Little – Off Message 44

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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.

Podcast 1: Dave Fanning – Off Message 41

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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.

Home Is Where The Work Is – Off Message 38

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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.

Game Without Frontiers – Off Message 34

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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.

Beaten By The Punch – Off Message 31

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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.

Changing Times – Off Message 30

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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.

Get Lucky – Off Message 13

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In media or any other business don’t ever underestimate the importance of luck.

Likewise don’t over-estimate the role of your own talents and hard work.

Choose Me – Off Message 12

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How humiliating are auditions?

I’ve only ever done ten; and I got three of those, a pretty decent batting average.

Unsurprisingly so I’ve never minded them.

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