Ryan Tubridy launches ‘passion project’ book podcast

Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

Irish broadcaster Ryan Tubridy has said his new podcast about books is a “passion project”. Tubridy, who is taking days off from his Virgin Radio UK show, left the Irish national broadcaster RTE last year after weeks of controversy relating to the organisation publicly under-reporting payments to him.

The 50-year-old was once the Irish station’s highest earner as the face of its flagship Late Late Show.He was due to return to the organisation under a deal which would have seen him creating a podcast for RTE among other duties.

However, director-general Kevin Bakhurst pulled the arrangement, saying he was “particularly disappointed” with a statement released by Tubridy in relation to the controversy around his earnings.The controversy saw Tubridy and his agent Noel Kelly, as well as senior executives and board members at RTE, called before crunch parliamentary committees in Ireland which probed a widening crisis at the broadcaster.

Ultimately, Mr Bakhurst decided Tubridy would not return to RTE because “trust had broken down”.Tubridy launched his mid-morning show on the UK network Virgin Radio in January and later characterised the RTE controversy as “arguably the best thing that ever happened” to him. Last week, he told his Virgin Radio listeners that he was “taking a few days off” but teased that there was “big news” coming.

On Thursday, he revealed that the news was the launch of a new podcast: “You’ve guessed it, I’ve got a podcast. And you’ve guessed it, it’s about books.“It’s called The Bookshelf With Ryan Tubridy – it had to, it’s obvious.”The weekly podcast, which is in partnership with Eason bookstores, publishes its first episode on podcast apps on Tuesday April 16.

Tubridy explained the concept for the podcast in an Instagram post: “The guest comes along with three books from their very own bookshelf: The book from their childhood, the book that made them cry, and the book that changed their life. “And over the course of a conversation, we have a chat about the people and their lives through the prism of these three beautiful, important books.”

A video podcast of The Bookshelf With Ryan Tubridy will also be available on YouTube.Tubridy also said: ““This has been a passion project of mine for a couple of years now but I could never quite find enough time to put it all together.

“Harold Macmillan used to talk about ‘events, dear boy, events’. Those times in life when the least expected things happen. Such events happened to me last summer. Despite it being an exceptionally difficult time, it made me reassess and explore new opportunities to realise some dreams I’ve long held in my heart.

“One was to work on the radio in the UK which I am currently doing and loving. The other was to bring The Bookshelf with Ryan Tubridy to fruition which is where we are today. I always say, you’ll never be lonely or bored with a book in your hand.

“They bring company, enlightenment and enrichment whether you’re reading a comic, a cereal box or a crime novel. The world of reading is rarely dull and lends itself to the most intriguing conversations, of which I’ve had many putting season one together. The first of these conversations drops on Tuesday. I can’t wait to share it with you.”

Eason group head of marketing and customer experience Brendan Corbett said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring The Bookshelf with Ryan Tubridy; a weekly series of great guests discussing the books that have influenced or affected them is the kind of content we’re really excited for.

“Eason has a longstanding reputation for promoting great books, so partnering with this show and Ryan, who has been such a champion of reading and an advocate for the Irish book industry, is a great match for us. We’re really looking forward to hearing all the guests in conversation over the coming weeks.”