Ryan Tubridy has confirmed he’s making the move to London, after signing a major radio deal.
It comes just months after the 50-year-old lost his RTÉ Radio 1 slot, amid the ongoing payments scandal.
Speaking on Virgin Radio on Thursday, Ryan opened up about the circumstances which led him to British radio.
Quoting the late Sinéad O’Connor, the broadcaster said he had been “mugged by God in a hoodie” and that this was “the shake-up you needed”.
Ryan begins a new show on Virgin Radio on Thursday, January 4.
A well-placed source previously told Goss.ie that the deal was signed last week while Ryan was in the UK, following weeks of negotiations with his agent Noel Kelly.
Ryan and Noel have been back and forth to the UK in recent months, as they explored his career options post-RTÉ.
And now, after weeks of speculation, the 50-year-old has finally found a new broadcasting home with Virgin Radio.
Our source told us: “He’s been in negotiations with Virgin Radio for weeks now and they finally signed things off on Wednesday.
“There was talk of Ryan staying in Ireland and flying back and forth but he has decided to fully move to London and will be relocating full time.”
“He was looking for the perfect role for some time, and London has always called to him. He’s ready for a brand new start and wants to set up a new life for himself.”
A radio insider also told Goss.ie: “There’s a lot of interest in him in the UK and his agent is hoping he will have just as busy a career in London than he does in Ireland.
“The last few months have been incredibly stressful for Ryan, but now he finally feels like himself again.
“He seems happy and calm, and is ready for a new chapter.”
Industry sources added that Noel Kelly has worked hard to land Ryan a big deal like this, and he “never gave up hope” for the presenter’s career.
Virgin Radio is owned by Wireless Group, which is a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
The company owns Talk TV, Talk Radio, and Virgin Radio, along with several radio stations in Ireland – including Dublin’s FM104 and Q102.
Ryan previously hinted at a potential role with Wireless Group, as he met with Talk TV host Piers Morgan and Virgin Radio DJ Chris Evans during a trip to London in September.
Ryan was pulled from RTÉ’s airwaves back in June, after it was revealed his earnings were publicly understated by €345,000 over the last six years.
Negotiations over his RTÉ radio contract had been put on hold amid the ongoing payment scandal, but RTÉ boss Kevin Bakhurst then confirmed that they had resumed in August.
While Ryan’s return to RTÉ seemed promising, Mr Bakhurst ceased negotiations with the presenter after he released a statement addressing the second Grant Thornton report.
Speaking on Prime Time, Mr Bakhurst confirmed they were “very close” to an agreement before Ryan’s statement.
The RTÉ boss said: “I don’t actually feel Ryan was best served by the people around him who advised him on making that statement.”
“I felt we were in a good place. We had a core agreement for Ryan to come back and the statement issued, which, you know, once again, questioned the newly stated salaries, which are correct.
“I just think for the sake of rebuilding trust, which is my focus with the organisation, we can’t afford to be questioning the facts that are out there.”
He also confirmed a salary of €170,000 had been agreed, and that Ryan was supposed to return to his radio show on September 4th.
Kevin continued: “I think part of the discussion throughout with me and Ryan Tubridy have been about the need to take responsibility on both sides, and RTE has taken responsibility, has born the vast majority of responsibility, for what went wrong here.”
“But I also felt it was important that Ryan himself owned a certain amount of responsibility for this, and we had some discussions about that, and that was important.”
“I think the statement yesterday muddied the waters somewhat, and I think it’s really important that Grant Thronton and the RTE board restated the earnings correctly for those years, and I don’t think it helps to undermine that. We need to all accept the restated earnings, that is the fact of it.”
Ryan’s statement addressing the second Grant Thornton report read: “I welcome the findings of the Grant Thornton Report, published today. I also welcome the report’s findings that I did not claim €120,000 in fees which was due to me in 2020 and that I did not agree with how RTE proposed to account for this decision.”
“It is also clear that my actual income from RTE in 2020 and 2021 matches what was originally published as my earnings for those years and RTE has not yet published its top ten earner details for 2022.”
He added: “I repeat my offer to publish the details of any future RTE contract. I am committed to re-establishing the confidence and trust of my colleagues and listeners, and I hope that any fair assessment of the findings of today’s report will help in this regard.”
“Finally, I want to acknowledge the huge support that I have received in recent weeks from people across the country; many cards and letters, greetings on the street and words of support from people I bumped into meant an awful lot to me and I appreciate them all very much.”
The next day, RTÉ boss Kevin Bakhurst released a statement confirming Ryan wouldn’t be returning to his radio role.
“We went into negotiations with Ryan in good faith and in the hopes of reaching an agreement that would see Ryan return to his RTÉ Radio 1 show. I have decided not to continue with negotiations and, as such, there are no plans for Ryan to return to his presenting role with RTÉ at this time,” he said.
“Despite having agreed some of the fundamentals, including fee, duration and hours, regretfully, it is my view that trust between the parties has broken down.”
“Public statements made without consultation appear to question the basis for the necessary restatement of fees paid for services for 2020 and 2021.”
RTÉ was plunged into chaos by the payments scandal in June, just weeks after Ryan finished up his 14-year tenure as host of The Late Late Show.
In a shock statement, the broadcaster confirmed that Ryan’s earnings had been publicly understated by €345,000 over the last six years.
The issue was identified during a routine audit of RTÉ’s 2022 accounts, prompting an independent review of the matter by auditing organisation Grant Thornton.
The scandal resulted in the resignation of a number of RTÉ’s key staff members – including former Director General Dee Forbes, and former Director of Strategy Rory Coveney.
RTÉ’s former Commercial Director Geraldine O’Leary later announced her early retirement.
In July, Ryan and his agent Noel Kelly met with the Oireachtas Media Committee, where they faced questioning over payments made to him by RTÉ.
The understatement of Ryan’s earnings was identified during a routine audit of RTÉ’s 2022 accounts, prompting an independent review of the matter.
The issue was partly the result of a commercial deal which saw Ryan receive additional income from Renault, which was guaranteed and underwritten by RTÉ.
The commercial partner only paid €75,000 to Tubridy once in 2020, but RTÉ paid out for the years 2021 and 2022. The manner in which these payments were recorded led to an understatement of his earnings.
RTÉ labelled two invoices of €75,000 payments to Ryan as “consultancy fees”, and the now-infamous barter account was used to pay them.
Ryan and his agent Noel Kelly have maintained they didn’t know the payments came from RTÉ, and believed they came from Renault.