Pat Kenny has ruled out running for president, as he spoke exclusively to Goss.ie after his induction into IMRO’s Radio Hall of Fame.
The presenter joined radio executive, Margaret Nelson, media executive, Willie O’Reilly and music producer, Ian Wilson, as the newly inducted industry stars to join the list of radio icons in the hall of fame.
“I’m feeling remarkably honoured, I’ve just walked down the hall of fame and I’ve seen all the faces and the names, people I know, people I admire. It’s just great to have my mug stuck up beside them, it’s terrific,” Pat told Goss.ie
The 70-year-old is known for his hard-hitting questions and insight into the world of current affairs and politics, but Pat revealed that he has no intention of diving into the industry any further.
As he prepares to discuss the presidential election on his upcoming Virgin Media show, Pat Kenny’s Big Debate, the presenter has ruled out running for president.
“The notion!” Pat exclaimed, when asked if he would consider the change of career.
“I grew up beside the Phoenix Park, I know the Áras from the outside, I know every gate into it. I know where president Seán T. O’Kelly used to sneak out at night and go out to the pub for a drink when he was president many, many decades ago. My father used to point it out to me when I was growing up,” the Newstalk host continued.
“I’d prefer to have the freedom of the park than be confined to the Áras,” Pat revealed.
As for the candidates currently running for president, the radio host thinks that it’s set to be a very interesting campaign.
“At the moment it’s very early days, I mean this is the phoney war. We are finally getting our list of candidates and it looks like there will be six,” Pat said.
“We’ll have three dragons. We’ll have Liadh Ní Riada for Sinn Féin, Joan Freeman who is, I suppose, the true independent and then we’ll have the president himself, who is renominating. But he is no longer related to the Labour party, although they are all still supporting him, he is an independent candidate,” the father-of-two stated.
“That will be the intriguing part of the campaign as I see it. It has been a long, long, long time since we’ve had since we’ve had a sitting president defending against contenders so how that will unfold is going to be very interesting,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pat is preparing to discuss a range of other important topics, on his upcoming television programme.
“The plan, as far as I know it, is the big issues of the day, whatever they are, will be vented on this show. It will be mono-thematic, there’ll be a single theme it could be a presidential debate, it could be a budget debate, it could be a general election,” Pat explained.
“It will concentrate on an audience made up of people who are gripped by the issues, be they for or against. The idea is to try and generate a lot of light and a little heat as well, to make it must-see viewing,” he continued.
Although Pat has worked within both radio and television for many years, the iconic presenter does not have a preference between the two.
“They’re very different, it’s like saying to someone ‘would you prefer skiing or horse riding?’ They’re two different skills, two very different media. I mean you’re talking to people, but television is more cumbersome you’ve got to have makeup and wardrobe and all of that kind of thing,” he began.
“Even the way you’re sticking a microphone up my nose at the moment, that’s the way we work in radio, very up close up. In television you’re wearing a lapel mic and the intimacy is much harder to achieve,” the presenter continued.
“So, with radio you have an ongoing relationship with you audience every day. If you screw it up on a Tuesday, well you can make it up on a Wednesday. Generally television programmes tend to be weekly, mine certainly were and are, so you kind of get that week and you don’t have that same continuity of a relationship as you have with radio. So you can do radio in your pyjamas if you want to, you can’t to telly in your pyjamas.”
Earlier this month it was revealed that Pat is set to stay presenting on Newstalk for at least another two years, as he recently signed a new contract with the station.
The latest JNLR figures showed that Pat’s morning programme on the station reached it’s highest listenership to date and the presenter feels that people are going to continue listening to radio for years to come.
“Well I think there’ll always be an appetite for listening to radio, whether it’s podcast-type radio, streaming radio or whatever it might be. The difficulty is trying to monetise that. I mean, if you’ve got a visual medium, whether it’s a page on a newspaper’s digital platform you an stick ads on,” Pat told us.
“When you’ve only got sound, you have to somehow get some commercial input which gives you the revenue to allows you to do it. So I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge going forward,” he continued.
“I think there will be radio, I mean radio’s a great companion. You’re driving from here to West Cork, if you tune in to myself in the morning and Ciara Kelly and Seán Moncrieff. Ivan Yates and Off The Ball if you’re into sport, you can get from home to West Cork and be entertained all the way,” he concluded.
Pat joined radio legends such as Gerry Ryan, Micheál O’Muircheartaigh and Gay Byrne in IMRO’s Radio Hall of Fame today.
You can watch his full interview below: