Listeners are threatening to switch off, but RTÉ is not for turning on its decision to remove 2fm DJ Will Leahy from his drivetime slot.
“It’s not a demotion,” a spokeswoman for RTÉ said yesterday as the social media campaign to stop Leahy being moved from his weekday show to a weekend spot intensified.
“Lots of the biggest names are on weekends — Marian Finucane and Miriam O’Callaghan here and Terry Wogan in the UK.
“We needed somebody to help our schedules at the weekend and Will is the man to do it.”
Almost 15,000 people have backed a Facebook campaign, Keep Will Leahy on Drivetime, since the surprise announcement was made last week that his final show would be last Friday.
Close to 14,000 have liked Leahy’s own Facebook page and a constant stream of tweets under the hashtag #bringbackwill has been demanding that he be restored to weekdays.
Angry fans have been declaring they’ll switch off and some suggested staging a protest outside the RTÉ studios in Donnybrook on Friday between 4.30pm and 7pm — the time slot Leahy covered.
Mr Leahy said he was working his way through over 12,000 posts, tweets, and emails of support, and 132,000 people have viewed his Facebook comments after he vacated the weekday studio last Friday.
He said in his post: “I am completely overwhelmed by the messages we have received here as well as the private mails and emails. While we are very upset that it is the end, we are very proud of seven great years.”
Mobile 2fm presenter Paddy McKenna has taken over Mr Leahy’s seat on a temporary basis until Colm Hayes comes in as long- term replacement.
Limerick man Mr Leahy, who also works as a barrister, is due to return to 2fm on Saturdays and Sundays in a few weeks.
His move is part of a wider shake-up of personnel at 2fm which has caused upset both within and outside the station. Veteran presenter John Clarke quit his Sunday show at the weekend over the changes.
“During the week, I produce the drivetime show with Will Leahy but we found out via a press release that the show is being taken off the air even though it was the number one music show for 15 to 34s on the station,” he said.
The RTÉ spokeswoman said scheduling changes were a normal part of radio life.
For the love of God #bringbackwill— Lisa Kierans (@Gingerylizzie) February 10, 2014
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