THE NEWS that Pat Kenny is to move to independent radio with Newstalk came as a shock to the nation, but also to a Dundalk man who was right at the centre of the story.
Conor Kavanagh, producer of the Pat Kenny show and a former member of staff at the Dundalk Democrat,spoke of his surprise at hearing the news.
“We learned yesterday lunchtime (Wednesday) at the same time as everyone else,” says Conor, who has worked with Mr Kenny since 2005. “It was a shock.”
Yet Conor was quick to praise RTE’s former presenter.
“I’ll miss him and the rest of the team will miss him,” says Conor. “It’s been a great experience to work with PK.
“He a really decent guy, and he has such a knowledge of the country. He’s a man who is extremely and knowledgable and interested in technology, and he always had a great curiosity to see how things worked, probably because of his background in chemistry. We always went to great lengths to find stories on stories like these. He was and is interested in power generation.
“He was also very interested in entrepreneurship and how we can best work our ways out of this recession.”
Conor admits kenny’s move came as a bolt out of the blue to all the team.
“He very popular here and yes, it was a shock. But he has said that he wants to keep challenging himself and I’d wish him the best of the luck. He is the type of person that always wants to challenge himself.”
Conor says he also had a great journalistic brain.
“He would often cut through to the kernel of the story, he would always find the angle. He always wanted to know, why this and why that.”
Conor also recalls when Pat came to Dundalk just two years ago.
“He took a look around the old jail and reflected on who would have been held captive there. We were at a press conference with Gerry Adams and it become fairly lively after the editor of the Daily Mail put Gerry Adams on the spot.”
Conor worked the Dundalk Democrat from 1975 to 1980 and is the nephew of former Democrat editor Peter Kavanagh. His late father Paul was a well-known photographer.
It has been reputed that Kenny has been offered €1million a year for the move to the independent radio station.
RTE have also admitted that they could not compete with the offer made by the rival station.
RTE have made large cuts to salaries of their highest paid staff and have also announced a recent multi-million europ shortfall.