Damien Tiernan (left) and Jon Williams RTÉ’s managing director of news and current affairs
RTÉ’s former south-east correspondent for 23 years Damien Tiernan – who recently stepped down from his €90,000-a-year job at RTÉ, took redundancy and started working at Waterford’s WLR FM radio station – outlined the reasons he left the State broadcaster.
He told journalist Colette Sexton in The Sunday Business Post that he took redundancy mainly “due to frustration at not being able to get stories on air”.
Mr Tiernan added:
“All of the correspondents in RTÉ are constantly trying to get stories on air, but the system does not allow that to happen as [well] as it could. That needs to be improved and the frustration around that is certainly one of the reasons that I left RTÉ. I couldn’t see myself begging to get stories on air for the next 15 years.”
He claimed, in the early 2000s, RTÉ’s studio in Waterford produced an average of 220 TV and radio stories a year, but in the past seven years this had dropped to between 50 and 60 stories a year for RTÉ News.
In a statement to Ms Sexton, RTÉ said it “didn’t recognise” Mr Tiernan’s figures.
Mr Tiernan also said:
“The depth of talent and skill and passion within RTÉ is enormous, and that creativity is stifled at so many levels. For a supposedly creative organisation, it doesn’t know how to develop that creativity to make people confident of the future.
“RTÉ is in a great process of change, like other media organisations. Everybody is grappling with the changes, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You don’t need to get in consultants. You just have to work with the talent you have and make people happy in their jobs.”
Following on from this interview in the Sunday Business Post, the managing director of RTÉ Jon Williams tweeted the article with the message:
Agree RTÉ has brilliant correspondents – which is a why we’ve just appointed new regional correspondents in Dundalk & Belfast. Odd definition of “slashing”. Wish @damienwlrfm every success in new role.
Mr Tiernan responded:
Am disgusted, disappointed but not surprised by RTÉ basically calling me a liar with my figures Jon; RTE does not recognise my figures because RTÉ doesn’t care enough to ask someone to count them. And you were forced re reappoint North East Corresponden by unions after ye tried to downgrade role.
If you want to get into a public spat with me bring it on but I have better things to do (like playing an over 35 soccer match); I love RTÉ more than you will ever know.
And one thing, the regional section on the website and app is a joke.
Mr Tiernan will begin hosting WLR FM’s two-hour live show Déise Today from 10am today.