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RTÉ outlines plans for widespread cuts as part of major restructure
07 Nov 2019 : Nathan Griffin
Raidió Teilifís Éireann
Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland’s public service broadcaster has issued details of its revised strategy and plans to address key financial issues facing the organization.

In a release that was issued late last night, RTÉ outlined a number of challenges and large-scale changes that will be taken to deal with the issues facing the broadcaster.

The most high profile of these was the announcement that a 15% reduction to its top presenters, which follows an initial pay cut of 30% earlier this year. Additionally, a pay cut of 10% is to be taken by the Executive Board of RTÉ, as well as waiving any fees associated with the Board.

The national broadcaster also revealed plans to cut roughly 200 jobs in 2020. Plans to reduce staff costs including pay freezing, tiered pay reductions, review of benefits and work practice reform. RTÉ estimates that it can reduce projected costs by €60 million over three years (2020-2023).

RTÉ will close the Digital Audio Broadcast network as well as RTÉ’s digital radio stations (RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio & RTÉ Radio 1 Extra). The current RTÉ studio in Limerick will also close in 2020, while Lyric FM will be retained but moved to Dublin and Cork.

Major TV sporting events will be transferred to broadcast on RTÉ One going forward, while a focus to evolve the audience’s user experience of many of its digital services through mandatory sign-in and personalisation has been announced.

The RTÉ Guide has been put up for sale and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will will transfer to the National Concert Hall.

 “The challenges in front of us are real,” said RTÉ Director Dee Forbes. “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.”

In-keeping with previous efforts, Forbes called on Government to revise the TV licence fee to help alleviate the financial issues facing the public broadcaster - “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.

“We remain in discussions with Government. We are doing all we can to return RTÉ to a stable financial position, but we will not be able to reinvent public media for future generations, nor fulfil our remit, without immediate reform of the TV Licence system.”

Speaking separately, chair of the RTÉ Board Moya Doherty called on TV Licence fee reform stating that “in order to support this process of transformation that we are embarking on and to achieve financial stability, the TV Licence must be reformed. This is the responsibility of Government alone. This is one of the most defining moments in the RTÉ’s 93-year history.”

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