RTÉ is prepared to lose some of its top presenters due to the new pay cap announced yesterday, Kevin Bakhurst has told Newstalk Breakfast.
The RTÉ Director General was speaking after Cabinet approved a €56 million bailout for the State broadcaster.
The bailout was agreed as RTÉ published its new ‘strategic vision’ – which includes plans to cut around 400 jobs at the broadcaster through a voluntary redundancy scheme.
It also includes a new €250,000 salary cap for all staff – with Mr Bakhurst warning that nobody at the broadcaster should earn more than the Director General.
Currently, the likes of Joe Duffy, Claire Byrne and Miriam O’Callaghan all earn more than the proposed cap and on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Mr Bakhurst admitted it was possible that some top talent would leave.
“We value our presenters hugely and we’ve got some really first-class presenters on-air and that is how we want to keep it and that’s what the audience expects,” he said.
“But I just don’t think we need to be paying what we have been paying in the past to bring through that talent and have those talented presenters on-air.
“I’m realistic enough – we are competing with Newstalk and others and you know, unfortunately, sometimes people go but that’s the way it is.”
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Mr Bakhurst said the high salaries paid to presenters from the public purse has been “quite corrosive for RTÉ over the years”.
“RTÉ, to be fair, has reduced them over a period of years but it remains, I think, a corrosive issue for the organisation and I think we finally have to deal with it,” he said.
“We don't have that many frankly who earn more than … the Director General and, you know, I don't like putting them in the spotlight, but I think they know the reality of where we are.
“You can't be asking for proper public funding while at the same time not being shown to manage your costs.”
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