Controversial broadcaster Neil Prendeville is leaving 96FM, after a 25-year career with the country’s largest local radio station, to join its main rival, Cork’s RedFM.
The outspoken presenter, who presents the country’s most-listened to local radio show, confirmed last night that he will not be renewing his contract which expires next month.
The show he presented yesterday was his last on 96FM, but he declined to discuss his future plans for contractual reasons.
“It’s a difficult thing — leaving behind a radio station that I have been with since its infancy,” he said.
“But contracts by their very nature are terminal. They have a life.
“There have been occasions over the last 25 years when I had offers to go elsewhere. But because I was in the middle of contract, I couldn’t go.
“This was different. The stars were aligned in the sense that my contract was running out and it suited me to look at other things.”
RedFM’s chief executive officer, Diarmuid O’Leary, confirmed that Mr Prendeville will begin broadcasting a morning talk show on his station from March 31.
He will be paid a six-figure sum but Mr O’Leary declined to discuss the details of the contract.
“They are mutually beneficial terms and both sides are happy,” he said.
Mr Prendeville, 52, said while the money will ease his financial difficulties, it wasn’t the main factor in his decision to leave 96FM.
The father of two from Douglas, has worked for 96FM for 25 years — first as a news reader and then a programme director.
But he made his name presenting its flagship show, The Neil Prendeville Show, broadcast from 9am to 12 noon five days a week.
The most recent JNLR figures show that 116,000 adults tune in every day and it attracts a significant proportion of the station’s advertising revenue.
Mr O’Leary said he hopes his new signing will broadcast a similar show in the same slot for RedFM from Monday, March 31.
“We are thrilled to get possibly the biggest radio star in the country,” he said.
“I think he espouses everything that is good about broadcasting.
“He understands Cork backwards. He’s been doing this on the airwaves for over 25 years.
“The audience he delivers illustrates the strength of his content and the way he delivers it.”
RedFM began broadcasting in January 2002 after being awarded Ireland’s first youth radio licence. Its target market is 15-35 year olds in Cork city and county.
Mr O’Leary said he hopes Mr Prendeville’s new show on RedFM will attract listeners in the highly competitive “25 years and up affluent middle class audience”.
It was not clear last night who will replace Mr Prendeville on 96FM today.
The station’s chief news reporter, PJ Coogan, has just finished a two-week holiday cover stint in the chair.
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