Former 2fm presenter Keith Walsh said RTE was a “toxic environment” to work in.
The ex-radio star announced he would be leaving the station last September after hosting 2fm’s Breakfast Republic morning show with Jennifer Zamparelli and Bernard O’Shea for five years.
It also featured from 5 to 7 to 2 p.m. most weekends and had a weekday spot on RTÉ Gold.
Keith has also lent his talents to the small screen, appearing in various roles on RTÉ One, RTÉ Two and Virgin Media.
And while he enjoyed spending his mornings on the air, Keith admitted that he “didn’t feel appreciated” by RTÉ during his time there.
“I felt rejection when breakfast was over,” the Kildare native told Sunday World.
“I felt like I wasn’t good enough, not needed, not wanted. I felt a tremendous amount of rejection.
“I worked on the breakfast show for five years, which was great, but at the same time it’s like, ‘They are done with me and they used me for five years and that ‘is all. End of the road. “
“In life you have to feel appreciated and needed and I didn’t feel it, which can seem very negative. What I thought I could have brought to RTE was unnecessary and my skills and talents didn’t were not seen by the people at RTE as something they needed.
Keith said the national broadcaster “doesn’t really care” about the mental health of staff and is treating employees as if they are “disposable”.
“I have the impression that radio and television in Ireland are in bad shape,” he said.
“I am not sure that people are being properly cared for and I think there are some questions that need to be answered regarding the treatment of people.
“I think it’s a little toxic right now. I find it’s an industry that allows itself to hire and let people go without really caring about their well-being.
“A lot of radio stations, even local ones, live in fear. They are afraid to speak out and they try to control people. That is why they are toxic.
“I’ve seen friends of mine get laid off and have their shows cut, or not get a contract, and these people have kids and mortgages to take care of. They do a job and I think they should be rewarded for this work, they should be taken care of and mental health should be taken care of.
“They seem to think that the people on the air and the people who ultimately create the content, who allow their radio and television stations to survive and be successful, are the ones who are disposable and dealt with the least amount of money. respect and care. “
The 43-year-old’s comments come after 2fm DJ Louise McSharry announced she was leaving the station after 11 years and said she was not allowed to host her last shows last weekend. Keith, who is a friend of Louise and who has worked with her on iRadio before, said she was not treated with respect by RTÉ.
“I think it’s a shame. Out of respect for Louise and the work she did and the contribution she made to RTE … I don’t see why you wouldn’t let someone do their last show “, he added.
Since leaving RTE, Keith has taken time to work on his mental health through regular therapy sessions and has now written a new play about his personal experiences and struggles.
Starting on its nationwide tour in Newbridge on November 19, Pure Mental aims to “get the message across” about how to take care of your mental health and the wonders of therapy.
“If I’m a man and I’m able to go on stage and piece my childhood back together and talk about why I needed to go to therapy and be so vulnerable, maybe it will help to. other men to do the same. “
Pure Mental is Keith’s first adventure in writing drama, and the idea for the series came after he left RTE.
He decided to reconnect with his creative side at his Newbridge home with his wife Suzanne and their children Hannah and Finn.
Keith brought his idea to director Janet Moran, whom he met in college while studying drama at Inchicore College of Further Education.
“[Leaving RTÉ] gives you a lot of freedom to write a play. It gives you time to think about what you really want to do and you feel like you are proving people wrong and creating something on your own, ”Keith said.
“I had an idea for some kind of stage show where I would read my news and brought it to Janet. [Moran] and she said, ‘Look, I think there’s a one-man show in there if you’re up for it.’ That was it.”
In a statement, Dan Healy, Director of 2fm, said: “The reality of the competitive industry in which we operate requires stations like 2fm to regularly change their schedules to meet the evolving needs of the audience.
“As a result, like all major stations in Ireland and around the world, we hire presenters through their agents for a period of time.”
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