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'No more departures expected' as UTV executive quits

By Margaret Canning

Published 15/01/2016

Richard Huntingford of UTV
Richard Huntingford of UTV

UTV Media plc said it expects no more high-profile resignations after a top boss stepped down from UTV Ireland.

A spokeswoman said there were "no other departures or resignations" anticipated after UTV Ireland head of channel Mary Curtis tendered her resignation this week.

The deal to sell UTV Ireland - as part of the television assets being sold to UTV - was approved by the Republic's Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission this week.

It is now awaiting approval from the Republic's Communications Minister Alex White.

A trading update yesterday said full year trading for the year had been in line with expectations. But the Belfast-based firm will incur £13m in losses in 2015 - four times its original estimate - following the launch of UTV Ireland last year.

The company will focus on its radio and digital assets when the sale of the TV assets is completed in a few months' time.

UTV will now be looking to attract new talent to its three newest radio channels, talkRADIO, talkSPORT2 and Virgin Radio.

Don Anderson, author of 50 Years of UTV, said the company was likely to look for big names to ease the launch of the three new digital channels.

"They won't want to start with everything new but instead, they'll want to have some old hands and big names about," he said.

talkRADIO was focused on current affairs and entertainment, while talkSPORT2 will complement talkSPORT but with a focus on live action and a broad range of sports. Virgin Radio is a music station operated with Virgin Group.

Company chairman Richard Huntingford said its radio ambitions were "a strong growth platform". In a statement this week, Ms Curtis - a former head of TV at RTE - said: "While I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with UTV Ireland, it was always my intention to review my position after the channel's first year on air."

Belfast Telegraph

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