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Satirist Oliver Callan to take over Ryan Tubridy’s former RTE radio slot

Oliver Callan has been named as the replacement for Ryan Tubridy’s 9am weekday programme on RTE Radio.

The satirist, 43, is to be paid 150,000 euro a year for the hour-long slot.

He was among the presenters who stood in for Tubridy in the aftermath of the RTE controversy last summer, which focused on the station’s handling of finances and governance.

Tubridy left Ireland’s national broadcaster following weeks of controversy relating to the organisation publicly under-reporting payments to him.

Ryan Tubridy
Ryan Tubridy was RTE’s highest-paid presenter (PA)

The 50-year-old Irish broadcaster, who was the host of RTE’s flagship The Late Late Show, launched his mid-morning show on the UK network Virgin Radio in January.

Speaking on RTE Radio on Saturday, Callan said he messaged Tubridy at the time the RTE controversy broke, where he “commiserated with him” as he said he believed he had experienced “the biggest pile-on that anyone has ever experienced in this country”.

“Paparazzi outside his house – you just don’t expect that in Ireland and in Dublin,” he said.

He said he had also encouraged him to keep a diary as he has “an amazing story to tell” and wished him well in London, but said he believed “he’ll be back in Ireland at some point”.

Describing himself as an “accidental presenter” and a “radio anorak”, Callan said he “agonised” over the decision whether to take on the radio slot.

He plans to continue with the independently-produced comedy programme Callan’s Kicks, adding “I hope to keep a bit of an edge going”.

His first programme as full-time presenter is on Monday January 29.

“I’m not going to completely shock the audience that’s there at 9 o’clock from the 29 January with something completely new,” he told Brendan O’Connor on RTE Radio on Saturday.

“I’m a writer so I have loads of ideas – I’m not sure the production team is going to like them when I say them so I’ll try them out as we go and figure it out. You have to kind of train on air.”

He said that there was very little negotiation involved in agreeing his two-year contract, and hinted at a clampdown on presenters’ high fees following the controversy last year.

“I might as well get it out of the way because people will ask about money and so on given the circumstances,” he said.

“So it’s a two-year contract, it’s about the same as what they offered Ryan but I’m not going to do the podcast thing so it’s 150,000 euro a year for those two years.

“It wouldn’t put me in the top 10 presenters at the moment, but we’re in a whole new world. I didn’t negotiate on the money, there was no negotiation on it because there was a pile of people who wanted to do the job.

“It’s not a top 10 thing now… but it probably will be at some point in the future.”

He added: “I kind of asked ‘can we discuss this this and this’, and it was generally ‘no’.

“I’m kind of the first post-new RTE contract I suppose, aren’t I?”

He added “sorry to break the bad news there Brendan, best of luck” to presenter O’Connor, who is among the top 10 RTE earners on 245,000 euro a year as of 2021.