RTÉ has unveiled a plan to cut jobs and a series of services to deal with what they call a “financial crisis”.
The measures will see 200 jobs lost in an attempt to cut projected costs by €60 million over the next three years with “top presenters” receiving paycuts of up to 15%.
Digital radio stations have been hit the hardest by the cutbacks with RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra all ceasing operations whilst Lyric FM’s move from Limerick to Dublin will see further jobs lost. “RTÉ of the future is a mix of big broadcasts and on-demand” RTÉ Director-General Dee Forbes has stated.
The decision to cut back on more specialised radio broadcasting in favour of bigger events leaves Irish artists with fewer avenues to share their music and receive airplay. Stations like RTÉ 2XM and RTÉ Pulse have provided many upcoming Irish artists with their first chance at radio play and their closure sees RTÉ taking a very direct step away from the role the national broadcaster has in cultivating and encouraging local talent. RTÉ Pulse has played a very active hand in the growth of the Irish hip-hop scene and whilst RTE 2XM regularly provides a home for leftfield Irish artists who get little support elsewhere.
With the growth and profile building that the Irish music scene has been experiencing in recent times, it feels like a move that goes directly against what Irish music needs right now.