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Broadcast analysis: The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk FM 7th Feburary 10am-12:30pm

Pat kenny

The show opens with the 10’ o clock news presented by newsreader Kirah McDonagh announcing the headline news and cuts to sport and weather with Oisin Lankin. His shows main competitor at this time of day in terms of listener ratings would mainly be RTE’s Radio 1 show Today with Sean O Rourke, seeing as it’s on 10 am on an opposing station. However, seeing as Pat Kenny’s show opens with news and then features, Sean O Rourke includes more business. So those who want more current affairs and then a human interest story will tune into this show.

The headline news items of the day are:

  • The Minister of Justice’s reaction to the comments made by Oliver Connolly to a guarda whistle-blower.
  • Public accounts committee say it’s not acceptable for Rehab to only answer questions they deem appropriate in terms of their spending.
  • Communications Minister said the government wants to tackle the worrying rise in Dublin property prices
  • Gardaí investigate the discovery of three viable explosives found in Tallaght last night.
  • Russia’s defence ministry said fighter jets on their Western boarders have been put on combat alert.
  • Four men to appear in Cavan district court in relation to a burglary.

Pat Kenny, the shows presenter, comes in to analyse one of the lead stories of the news, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and their response to rehabs denial to give them requested information. He then adds his own story about the Irish rail ban of alcohol on trains and then continues his series of interviews with what he calls the “Telecom giants” today’s interview being with UPC. He does a profile on who was Rosie Hackett and then tackles the issue of eating disorders, bringing in a young woman recovering from anorexia and getting an expert opinion from a psychologist giving tips on how to deal with an eating disorder in the family. A sit in in a pub in Waterford and why, and making money on apps and its profitable industry.

I will be analysing part 1 of this show, an hour long segment, which ended after the UPC interview.

The running order (RO) makes sense from the news value angle. He opens with one of the big news stories of the day, PAC’s John McGuiness and continues to discuss a second news story with the panellist, the GSOC development. He also includes a clip of Mike Wallace in the Dail, adding a further dimension to the debate. They devoted almost half of the shows airtime to discussing these two topics – roughly 20-25 minutes. Then took a break when John McGuiness left the show after thirty minutes, and when they cut back in Pat Kenny began by reading our people’s reactions to what they just discussed, either texts or tweets.

Then he followed with a story that affects most public transport users on Irish rail with their recent alcohol ban on a couple of their Waterford routes, speaking to an Irish Rail rep on their new legislation. He then continues with a tough interview with the UPC manager. After those three stories, he moves into the more human interest features side of his show, with a profile on who was Rosie Hackett, moving to how an eating disorder will effect families and finishing with a business based topic.

This is a sensible format, with the majority of the show dedicated to the interview with John McGuiness, talking about the PAC’s opinion on the undisclosed salary figures which then goes on to the discuss the Garda whistle-blower scandal.  I thinks the airtime is suitable since it’s almost necessary to hear the back and forth opinions and an in depth analysis on two huge issues currently in the news. People will want to hear what Mr McGuiness has to say, and they really want to see how far Pat Kenny will push him.  But personally I think the telecom interview is slightly unnecessary as there’s nothing in relation to it currently in the news, it seemed to me to be more of a filler than anything else. Also I would have moved the app business based story up a bit further in the RO too, to keep business after news and then to end with its features.

Pat Kenny’s own style as an interviewer is quite good, especially in the way he addresses his audience. Before any official quote comes in he clearly and slowly outlines who they are and what they do, so the listener is never lost.  He knows how to seek a direct answer – in terms of the PAC story he wouldn’t let the topic drop unless he got the answer he needed. But he knew how to work with them to get the answer he wanted, softly suggesting a new area of discussion. His tone is also quite conversational and easy to follow. He keeps a strict balance of topical debates between politics, current affairs and human interest. He has direct panellists relevant to each story and link in audio clips when he needed more balance.

The show is most definitely aimed at the 30+ age group, especially the elderly. It caters to the over 30’s in terms of its update on current affairs and its expert opinion and debate, and its family based segment on anorexia. Especially to the elderly age group, since he does a historical look back at Rosie Hackett born 1892. However I do feel that many twenty something’s will be part of his demographic given that they too will listen to the current affairs issues, and the alcohol ban discussion may have tuned in a lot of young people who like to travel to events and expect to be able to drink while doing so. He engages and includes the audience feedback regularly throughout the show after every add break, he reads out a handful of responses to what was discussed. When I checked there wasn’t too much activity on Twitter, only a handful of people who tweeted their response to the show with #PKNT (Pat Kenny Newstalk). Two being on the issue of Rehab, and the third (humorously) on the waiting time on a UPC helpline.

Listen back to the full show here:


Paul Maguire on Investigative Journalism


I have a real hatred for Injustice”

Paul Maguire, although from humble beginnings as his first job in a Superquinn store, now stands as the head of RTE’s Prime Time Investigates (PTI) and today addressed the journalism students of UL on the skills needed for investigative journalism.

As the seasoned journalist put it himself, you have to have a real joy and love for the job because sometimes it won’t always love you back. “If you’re standing behind a bush in the lashing rain for six months for the sake of one shot, which is literally what we did, you will feel like saying oh feck this and going home.” But you must really love it, and one of his own reasons for taking such pride and joy in his line of work is that he loves talking to people and hearing their story, “and I have a real hatred for injustice.”

But don’t fool yourself into the idea of becoming a rebellious vigilante of the public’s interest. Mr Maguire stressed that under no circumstances would PTI willingly hand over all or any of their information to Gardaí on an issue before it went to air. “We are not the second arm of the state.”

The job is becoming increasingly harder. There’s long hours, increasing difficulties with the Freedom of Information act, no paid overtime, and hours of waiting. According to Mr Maguire, a good investigation can take up to 18 months – which is true for the case of their documentary Profiting from Prostitution. The investigative piece on the trafficking and conditions of prostitutes in Ireland took over two years to produce.

But the stressed point of his entire message was that the people who you deal with are everything. You must realise that when a victim of whichever violation you are investigating willingly comes to you with information, you must consider yourself honoured. Mr Maguire revealed the extensive aftercare that his team provides to those directly affected by their work.

For example, take their aforementioned documentary on prostitution. They offered the prostitutes they encountered a range of external help from professional bodies, ensured those volunteers who spoke on camera were completely unnoticeable through the use of wigs and voice changes and even returned to those they were worried about to offer more help.

Mr Maguire stressed the importance of ensuring the people you work with are happy and safe. Even on the very last day of production, the RTE team will be willing to remove any content that their interviewees may be uncomfortable with. “When dealing with sensitivity, you must realise that they’re human beings. Don’t forget that fact in your haste to get a good story and reach a deadline.”

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Tanning – A Fatal Attraction

We always want what we can’t have, fat-free chocolate, a rain-free summer, instantly glossy hair out of the shower and particularly in the case of Irish women, a tan. We are a nation who pine for darker complexions, and the gathering of freckles across our cheeks and shoulders during the two scarce months our watery sun decides to grace us with its presence doesn’t count. Therefore to not look like a support group for the deathly pale when we hit the pub, Irish women resort to fake tan. But just when you think you’ve found the answer at the bottom of a bottle, a whole new world of problems crop up. Keep in mind this is strictly referring to self-tan; we don’t have near enough time to branch into sunbeds, injections, tanning pills and the world of complications they bring. To join the cult of pale, freckly, tan-happy girls is a big commitment, and it doesn’t come cheap or easy. Such tormenting difficulties that come with wearing fake tan are the cost, the frequency, the choking and suffocating biscuit smell, brand judgement and stigma, stained hands, a hoard of orange mitts stacked in the corner of your room and the nightmare of scrubbing it all off – just to name a few.

Cost and frequency go hand in hand; they’re part of the everyday problems that come with wearing tan. The amount of money you spend and sheer quantity you apply typically depends on how vibrant your social life is and how much skin you dare to bare. You could be the type of girl to only need a bottle a month to apply the barest coat each time they get their legs out. Or you could be the other type of girl we all know and love to mock – you know the one, she uses an entire bottle on her face just popping down to the shops so her skin tone matches her maroon pyjamas. As it currently stands, the fake tan business is worth over €100 million and is still growing. You’d think with all that money tucked away nicely in their back pockets, they could finally figure out how to get rid of that annoying biscuit smell. Certain brands of tan should start marketing their products as not only offering flawless coverage, but includes its very own scent of burnt toast free of charge.

The reputation of a fake tan can crop up out of nowhere, both good and bad. They can get shamed for dousing you in that biscuit smell, get praised for their easy application, and others can become stigmatised for the most bizarre reasons. Some of the most reliable fake tans known to our very own Limerick City are Sally Hansen and the budget tan St Moriz. Conveniently enough both are sold in Penny’s, who have made it easier once again to gather all the ingredients for a night out in one stop. But despite being sold in the same place as Sally Hansen and widely sold in all manner of other stores and pharmacies, I don’t know one girl who doesn’t refer to St Moriz as the “Penny’s tan.”

Women and fake tan share a love-hate relationship full of orange mitts and stained clothes. No matter how much fun it is to bond over a glass of wine with fellow females about the stress of finding a good tan, we can’t take it for granted. It’s there for us on hand before all special occasions, it’s there for us at a budget price when we’re stuck and at an outrageous one when we’re in the mood to brag, it’s there waiting to take us back into its open arms when we’ve cheated and gone on holiday for two weeks. Bless its little heart it’s even there for us to put up a fight against the lashings of pouring rain that attack our exposed legs on the run from taxi to bar, mind you often enough it loses that fight. That’s usually where the hate part of the relationship comes screaming back into it. But come the next night out and we’ve manage to get the right balance of sun-kissed glow before reaching Fanta Orange delivery truck car crash, all is forgiven again.

Dog Yoga

A dog might stretch after taking a nap, just a...

First seen on “The Only Way is Essex”, dog yoga is the new money wasting fad for those with more time than brain cells. Forget about walking them or taking them for a run, why not squeeze a headband on them and let them stretch and relax. Just feeding your dog is no longer good enough; neither is walking them, playing with them or even entering them into competitions. Now you must also create a spiritual connection between you and your pooch. A requirement which is possibly at the pinnacle of third world problems – “I just can’t get my dog onto a spiritual level, what about his well-being?”

If you want your dog to unwind and partake in “downwards facing dog”, unfortunately there’s no place in Ireland ridiculous enough to host it, yet. But click on YouTube and you will find a range of instruction videos and what poses are best to help your dog remain calm. So go ahead, get those doggy paws up and remember, breathe, bark and breathe.

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