Noel Curran

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Noel Curran
Born 1967 (age 49–50)
County Monaghan, Ireland
Residence Carrickmacross, County Monaghan
Nationality Irish
Citizenship Irish
Education Dublin City University (DCU)
Occupation Radio and television producer, editor in chief
Employer Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
Known for Director-General of RTÉ
Salary 250,000 € (2011)[1]
Term 1 February 2011 – 1 February 2016 (or later if extension sought and approved)
Predecessor Cathal Goan
Spouse(s) Eimear Quinn

Noel Curran (born 1967 in County Monaghan, Ireland)[2] is a media executive and former Director-General of RTÉ, (Ireland's National Broadcaster), who has worked in the Editorial, Management and Commercial areas of media. According to RTE's Annual Report 2015 the Director General was responsible for four TV channels (RTE ONE, RTE TWO, RTE Jnr, RTE News Now), four radio stations (Radio 1, 2FM, RnaG and Lyric), RTE Digital output (App, Web and Digital Radio), two orchestras (National Concert and Symphony Orchestras), Ireland's transmission Network (2RN) and 334 million Euro in revenue. According to the report 155m Euro of that revenue was generated through commercial activity, which means that, as a percentage of total income, commercial income is higher at RTE than at most other European Public Service Media organisations.

Curran was born in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan where he attended both primary and secondary school. He studied Communications in Dublin City University where he specialised in Irish and International Broadcasting Policy.[3] He also wrote about European Broadcasting Policy while studying for post-grad.

He joined Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) as a Business and Investigative reporter in 1992 after a period working as Deputy Editor for Business & Finance magazine. While working at 'Business & Finance' Curran was involved in several prominent investigations.He became Deputy Editor of Business & Finance before leaving for RTÉ. He joined Current Affairs as a Senior Financial Journalist before becoming a Television producer.

He then became Executive Producer of live Entertainment series and productions.[4] producing several live television shows at the Point Theatre before being appointed as Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 1997, held in Dublin and presented by Ronan Keating and Carrie Crowley. He was a member of the EBU Eurovision and Entertainment group. His younger brother is Richard Curran, Deputy Editor of the 'Sunday Business Post' and presenter of TV's 'Dragons Den' series.

Curran left RTÉ in 2000 to become a Director of a private independent production company. As an independent, he won an IFTA award as Executive Producer of the investigative documentary 'Bad Blood'. He returned to RTÉ as Editor of Current Affairs, where he helped launch the Prime Time Investigates series of documentaries. He was Editor of the Mary Raftery documentaries 'Cardinal Secrets' and 'Broken Trust'.

In 2003, he was appointed Managing Director of TV, at 37 the youngest person to hold the position, according to the 'Irish Independent' and 'Irish Times'.[5] He led a policy of increased investment in Irish TV production during his tenure, as RTE's Commercial Income grew to its highest historic level. According to the Sunday Business Post Curran's tenure marked the first time Editorial and Commercial departments in TV were integrated under one Managing Director.

Programme investment reached a peak of over 170 million Euro, with record hours for Drama production, TV Factual and Entertainment. RTE lost the rights to Heineken Cup and Formula One but negotiated the renewal of the rest of its sports portfolio - including Olympic Games, World Cup, European Cup, Six Nations Rugby, Autumn Internationals, GAA and Ireland soccer internationals - although competition from the new private sports channel Setanta and from TV3 made the domestic and international market more difficult.[6] RTE's Programming, Commercial, Acquired and Technical areas were integrated through one TV Board for the first time under Curran as MD. With the upheaval in international markets in 2008 and collapse in advertising, RTE was forced to cut costs substantially. Based on press reports, RTE TV reduced costs by over 40 million Euro in the next two years.

In March 2010, Curran left RTÉ to pursue a consultancy and other private business interests before being interviewed and then appointed DG by the RTÉ Board effective from 1 February 2011.[1][7] Commenting on his appointment in an article headlined 'Hard Station', the 'Sunday Business Post' stated that RTE 'is financially strapped', has 'zero chance of a licence fee increase' and 'has major structural issues' to deal with. The 'Sunday Times' said RTE faced 'difficult circumstances'.[8] Both profiles quoted industry figures praising his leadership of RTE TV but pointing out the challenges.

RTE also faced press and public criticism for two Current Affairs programmes it broadcast, Curran describing one of them as "one of the gravest editorial mistakes ever made at RTE". News and Current Affairs was restructured in response. RTE Publishing became RTE Digital with a new Digital Strategy launched. The Commercial Division was resturctured with a new Group Head of Commercial appointed from outside the organisation. RTE News Now App and Channel were launched.

RTE launched its biggest infrastructural project, the new DTT service Saorview. Curran also announced that the Network provider, RTE NL, was to become a separate subsidiary of RTE with its own Board, with independent directors and was to move to offices away from the RTE campus. It's name was changed to 2RN. Press speculation suggested this was done to ease criticism from other broadcasters, increase commercial opportunities for 2RN and to prepare it for a possible future sale. According to the RTE Annual Report, 2RN is a significant contributor to RTE EBITDA.

New programming strategies were introduced in Radio and TV and RTEJnr was launched. RTE restructured in 2011 and 300 staff left the organisation. Top Ten presenter fees were cut by over 40 per cent.[9] ( References 'RTE On Course To Break Even', 'The Sunday Business Post' 22 December 2013. 'Steering RTE Through The Most Turbulent Era In Media History', 'The Irish Times', 26 April 2013. 'He's Riding The Crest Of The Airwaves', 'The Sunday Times' 13 September 2015. 'Curran Steered RTE Through Choppy Waters. 'The Irish Times' October 2015)

Since becoming Director General Curran has made a number of speeches on the theme of the Digital Future of Broadcasting in Ireland and on the role of Public Service Media.[10]

Speaking at his alma mater Dublin City University in October 2011, Curran admitted RTÉ had paid its presenters too much money and "We may, during this process of renegotiation lose some of our most talented and loved presenters to our competitors. That would be very regrettable, but if some choose to leave, we will adjust, find new voices and new ways to deliver services and programmes."[11][12]

He returned to Dublin City University in April 2016 where he criticised Irish broadcasting policy and warned that public media faced a difficult financial future without changes in policy and funding.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Colin Coyle (7 March 2009). "Ryan Tubridy joins pay-cut volunteers". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Leech, Harry (29 August 2010). "Profile: Noel Curran". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  3. ^ 'The Sunday Times' Culture October 2011.
  4. ^ Ronan McGreevy (9 November 2010). "Curran named RTÉ director general". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  5. '^ 'RTE's Wunderkind - Prime Time Innovator and now Youngest MDItalic text, 'The Irish Times', 27 September 2003. 'The Irish Independent', 24 September 2003.
  6. '^ 'RTE May Not Have It All Their Own WayItalic text - 'The Irish Times' Sept 2004 and various others
  7. ^ "Curran named as RTÉ's next Director General". RTÉ News. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  8. ^ 'The Sunday Business Post' 14 November 2010. 'The Sunday Times' 14 November 2010
  9. ^ RTE On Course To Break EvenBold text', 'The Sunday Business Post' December 22nd 2013. Steering RTE Through The Most Turbulent Era In Media HistoryBold text', 'The Irish Times', April 26th 2013. He's Riding The Crest Of The Airwaves'Bold text, 'The Sunday Times' 13 September 2015. Curran Steered RTE Through Choppy WatersBold text. 'The irish Times' October 2015
  10. ^ Eamon Ryan (9 November 2010). "Minister Ryan welcomes appointment of Noel Curran as new Director General of RTÉ". Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  11. ^ "RTÉ To Reduce Fees, Even if Talent Flee". IFTN. 18 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Noel Curran, the RTE pay-cuts and some brilliant propaganda". JOE. 18 October 2011.
  13. ^ 'The Irish Times' 14 April 2016