Ireland’s RTÉ is closing down all of its digital radio stations, marking a major shift in strategy for the national media broadcaster in response to financial strain. The reorganization will see the end of all DAB digital radio stations, including RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio & RTÉ Radio 1 Extra. It said its costs need to be cut by €60 million between 2020 and 2023. RTÉ will also make cuts to fees paid to its on-air presenters and cut more than 200 people from its staff.
According to a report in RadioToday Ireland, radio presenters will be cut 15% of their income, in addition to 30% cuts already agreed to in the past. Further, over 200 people will be laid off in 2020. Other budgetary considerations could include pay freezes, teired reductions, and benefit review, according to the article.
As a counter balance, other changes include new studios, podcast development, and the development of on-demand apps.
“The challenges in front of us are real. But RTÉ does have a plan, which we are confident can address many of the challenges we face and bring Ireland’s national public broadcaster to stability,” said RTÉ Director-General Dee Forbes. “However, Government needs to act to ensure there is a future for public service media in Ireland. I am clear about what role RTÉ should play in Irish life, but I am also clear that we cannot do it unless Government fixes the TV Licence system. We shouldn’t be under any illusions; we are in a fight – a fight to sustain a viable public media in Ireland.”