Fox in for Zamparelli, but what else is next for 2FM?

RTÉ station, hit by four presenter departures, must start over in its bid to reach the ears of 15-34s

What next for 2FM? The immediate task for the RTÉ station is to design a schedule that limits the haemorrhaging of listeners likely to be triggered by a string of voluntary presenter departures.

Laura Fox, who began her RTÉ career on RTÉ Pulse before moving to weekends on 2FM, has been in situ in Jennifer Zamparelli’s midmorning slot for the past month. She was tipped to replace Doireann Garrihy when Garrihy announced she was leaving the breakfast show, but now that Zamparelli has gone too, Fox has been confirmed as her successor instead.

That still leaves breakfast to be reconfigured and drivetime to be sorted out. Garrihy, who has most recently presented alongside Donncha “Donners” O’Callaghan and Carl Mullan, will finish up next Friday, when 2FM will also announce its “summer schedule” – wording that indicates it will give itself more time to finesse longer-term plans.

New hires from the social media and podcast pool are likely to be on the wishlist. But the awkward reality for 2FM is that the very people with the huge social media and podcast followings it believes will help it attract younger listeners are the same ones who can afford to say thanks, but no thanks. This would be true even without the complicating factor of RTÉ's new register of external activities, which will bring additional scrutiny to presenters’ commercial work beyond Montrose.


Notwithstanding any registers, it will be on the search for outside talent, though it would seem logical – and counter-intuitively less risky – for this search to zero in on a person who is, in the words of 2FM boss Dan Healy, “an unknown who we believe has high potential”.

It would also seem sensible and face-saving to hang on to early-afternoon stalwart Tracy Clifford, whose audience was on the rise in the most recent listenership figures, while Mullan, Aifric O’Connell and Emma Power – existing 2FM presenters – all received an on-air namecheck from Healy on Friday.

The impassioned head of 2FM told Today with Claire Byrne that he expects the station’s listenership will “drop slightly” in the transition phase, adding that he would be “naive” to think the drivetime numbers won’t dip following the exit of the 2 Johnnies.

Still, the beat goes on. 2FM’s 6.1 per cent market share doubles to 12.2 per cent among the 15-34 year-old group it is charged with targeting. Healy suggested he would be “working very hard” with RTÉ top brass to get that latter figure to 14 per cent by 2025. Everyone at the station is a “workaholic”, he told The Irish Times last year. At this rate, they might need to be.