2fm needs to reinvent itself, says Kennedy

Ex-FM104 presenter Adrian Kennedy, currently on gardening leave before joining 98FM, has blasted RTÉ 2fm for not knowing who its audience is.

Chatting with RadioToday for a Q&A, Adrian says new blood is required and Hector’s departure should be used to give young broadcasters a chance.

Adrian also talks about his first radio gig, what he wanted to be when he ‘grows up’ and how shy and reserved he really is. He also reveals he doesn’t like gardening!

He’ll be back on the radio with partner in crime Jeremy Dixon within the next couple of months.

Hello! Tell us a bit about you and what you’re up to.

At present I’m ‘between jobs’, having resigned from FM104 at the end of August 2014. Despite a six month notice period in my FM104 contract, the station chose to remove me from the air at the end of September and place me on ‘Garden Leave’ on full pay for the remainder of my contract. Under the terms of my contract I’m prohibited from promoting my future venture, although it’s been widely covered in the papers at least 98 times!

How do you think should get 2fm breakfast?

Somebody new! RTÉ is so nepotistic it’s scary! Young new blood is what’s needed there, and preferably a Dub! 2fm needs to totally reinvent itself and decide for once and for all who its audience is? Is it 15-34, 35+ or (in Larry Gogan’s case 75+…and don’t get me wrong Larry’s a lifelong hero of mine). The station needs a clear identity.

Do we know what audience Spin 1038 serves…Yes. Do we know what audience RTÉ Radio 1 serves…Yes…do we know who Nova are aiming for…Yes…but 2fm, nobody, not even they know!! When I was 17 RTÉ Radio 2 was the station for me…but is it the station for any 17 year old today…No!

So who should replace Hector – I don’t care…but give some young broadcasters a chance!

How would you describe your first radio gig?

My first radio gig was at the tender age of 16 at 7:00am on a Saturday morning – on BLB Community Radio in Bray.

What led you to a career in radio?

I had been interested in radio as long as I can remember. I listened to the opening of RTE Radio 2 on a transistor radio in the playground at school in May 1979!!!

How would you describe the radio landscape in your area?

If by my area you’re referring to Dublin, then I’d say the Dublin radio market is the most competitive in the country. With THIRTEEN different radio stations in the capital (as per JNLR) competition for the 1 million plus Dubs ears is intense.

Tell us about your Facebook profile

One of the first things I did, when removed from the air at FM104, was to create a Facebook page (along with my colleague Jeremy) so that our loyal audience could still follow us. Despite having no radio station on which to promote the page, we’ve managed to grow it to almost 16,000 followers in just three months.

“Local local local” has always been radio’s mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?

LOCAL is King. It’s as simple as that. In the future my new radio show will focus on Dublin first, everything else after.

What is the most challenging part of the job?

Talking to complete randomers about the most amazing stuff in their lives.

What’s the coolest promotion you’ve EVER been involved with?

My favourite promotion ever was ‘The Race to Moldova’ in aid of a charity called Outreach Moldova. It involved Jeremy & me racing each other across Europe on just €50 a day…winner is the one who reached an orphanage in Hincesti, Moldova. I travelled from Oslo, through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania…and finally arriving in Moldova after 100 hours travelling!! To arrive at the orphanage to the cheers of over 100 special needs kids was truly amazing.

What’s one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?

That when I’m not on radio and not behind a microphone I’m actually quite shy. I can speak on stage in front of hundreds, speak on radio to thousands and it doesn’t bother me…put me in a room with 10 people and I’m very shy and reserved. Radio has always been a ‘release’ for me.

Who is your favorite radio personality not on your staff and why do you like them?

Since I was a kid I’ve always admired Larry Gogan. I’m amazed that at the age of 75 he’s still going strong with his Golden Hour show, though I have to admit he’s starting to sound his age now!!!

Who would be a “dream guest” to have on your show?

Jack Bauer (AKA Kiefer Sutherland). While 24 was on TV (actually it’s coming back this year) I challenged Jeremy to get an interview with Kiefer…he failed!!!!!!

What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?

Radio Nova (the 80’s pirate), RTE Radio 2 & BBC Radio 1

What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?

Good question, considering when I’m asked by young people about getting into it I say don’t!! Radio’s quite a vicious, back-biting, ego filled business. That’s the downside. The upside it the amazing buzz I get out of doing a really good show. I keep doing it cos I know no better!!!!

What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?

Don’t give a f**k about what critics say. Aim to please your audience, keep them loyal and f**k the begrudgers.

What advice you would give people new to the business?

Mind you back, steer clear of station politics and always lick the bosses arse!!! Seriously though the one thing to remember about the radio industry in Ireland is that it’s very SMALL…you can’t afford to make enemies. I’d like to think that after 20 years with FM104 I left on very good terms…and will still be friendly with all my former colleagues/management for many years to come

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A Priest! Seriously!!!

Tell us a secret nobody else knows!

I hate Gardening, so this whole Gardening leave thing is doing my head in. Can’t wait to get back on the radio at the start of March.

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