2FM hope revamp will revive flagging fortunes

2FM has announced one of the biggest ever shake-ups to its schedule in a bid to boost flagging listenership figures with a range of new shows hosted by presenters including Hector Ó hEochagáin, Ryan Tubridy and Colm Hayes.

RTÉ’s pop station revealed details of its new schedule yesterday as it attempts to re-position itself to target the slightly older portion of the 20-44-year-olds market.

Hector, who shot to fame as the presenter on a series of documentaries on TG4 and RTÉ, will take over from Colm Hayes and Jim Jim as presenter of 2FM’s breakfast show which will be broadcast each weekday from Galway starting in October.

RTÉ insiders said Mr Ó hEochagáin had been chosen for the key breakfast slot on the strength of the Saturday show he has been co-presenting with his friend and fellow Navan man, the comedian, Tommy Tiernan, on the station since last January.

“The response and reaction from listeners has been superb,” said one senior RTÉ executive yesterday.

Hector himself promised a continuation of his trademark “slice of madness” with his show which will run each weekday from 7am to 9am.

“It’s a big move for 2FM to commit to a daily show from Galway, but I’m really looking forward to it,” said the flame-haired presenter, who anticipated no difficulty in having to get up early on the basis of having two young children.

Meanwhile, Ryan Tubridy also welcomed his return to 2FM after a gap of five years with a new show from 9am to 11am which will see him take over as the permanent replacement for Gerry Ryan following the sudden death of the station’s flagship presenter last April.

The Late Late Show presenter admitted that the decision to move from Radio 1 “didn’t come easily because of the circumstances in which it happened”.

Mr Tubridy predicted that he would find the first programme which goes out on air next Monday “deeply emotional”.

“I’m going to respect [Gerry’s] memory and legacy, but I’m also going to be doing an entirely different show,” he said, before confessing to relishing the prospect of being a little bit “bold” on air.

As if to prove his claims of greater naughtiness, the 37-year-old presenter offered his opinion that morning radio in Ireland needs “a kick up the arse”.

“I’m willing to give it that,” he added, laughing.

Head of 2FM, John McMahon, acknowledged the station had suffered a huge loss with the death of Gerry Ryan at a time when 2FM has struggled to hold on to listeners in a highly competitive radio market.

“The new schedule makes a statement about how serious we are about making shows that will appeal to audiences,” declared Mr McMahon.

New weekend pairings on the station will see Lucy Kennedy teaming up with Baz Ashmawy for a breakfast show, while Ruth Scott and Paddy McKenna will co-host an afternoon programme.

Two presenters, however, have been axed from 2FM as a result of the new schedule, with DJ Nikki Hayes and Breakfast Show host, Jim Nugent aka Jim Jim, leaving the station.

Nugent’s Breakfast Show co-host, Colm Hayes, will take over a new mid-morning slot which will focus on phone-ins with listeners.

Meanwhile, Ryan Tubridy’s replacement on Radio 1, John Murray, has promised listeners that satire will be an important element of his new weekday show which will focus on taking a wry look at current topics and events.

“Audiences like satire and I think there’s a gap in the market for that kind of material,” said Murray, who will be familiar to Radio 1 listeners from Morning Ireland and The Business.

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