11/08/2009

Dunseith Leaves Talkback In Reshuffle

It is the end of an era at BBC Radio Ulster.

The broadcaster is reshuffling presenters on its news and current affairs programmes.

From the end of this month, the laconic David Dunseith will end over two decades of work on the current affairs flagship programme, Talkback.

Early bird Wendy Austin moves from her 6.30am start time on Good Morning Ulster to the midday based Talkback, while co-host Seamus McKee will present Evening Extra.

David Dunseith, (pictured) a former detective before his broadcast career began at UTV, will present Seven Days, a Sunday round-up show, beginning on 6 September.

The Troubles and Talkback have long been associated together with the incisive presenter getting right to the heart of major issues, putting top politicians - and often those labelled 'apologists for terrorism' - under the microscope.

It started on BBC Radio Ulster in 1986 with Barry Cowan at the helm of Talkback.

David Dunseith was a reporter on the programme, becoming its main presenter in 1989, going on to establish a huge reputation for straight-talking, no-nonsense, often merciless grilling of interviewees.

Dunseith was also the first presenter of its TV spin-off, 'Let's Talk'.

The radio programme also really kicked off the now common 'listener interaction' by strongly encouraging ordinary people to have their say on the often deadly issues of the day.
News Image
In 2006 Talkback won a silver Sony Radio Academy Award in the news and current affairs programme category.

The likes of 'Nolan', often seen as the new 'Talkback', with a similarly straight-talking Stephen Nolan at the helm - owes much of its interaction techniques to those pioneered on Talkback's novel approach to the most serious - and occasionally not so serious - subjects.

Taking their seats on Good Morning Ulster will be Karen Patterson and Mark Carruthers, who will join Conor Bradford on the early news programme.

Good Morning Ulster has been on BBC Radio Ulster in various guises since the station began in 1975.

Wendy Austin and Seamus McKee have been involved in the programme since 1981 and have been presenting it since the early 1990s, while Conor Bradford joined in 2000.

Nationally famed Sean Rafferty was the first presenter of Evening Extra in the mid-1990s.

Mark Carruthers has presented the programme for more than 10 years, while Karen Patterson joined in 2006.

She has also been presenting Seven Days on a rotational basis with Wendy Austin for the past two years. The programme was first broadcast in the mid-1990s.

BBC NI Director Peter Johnston said it would "give this experienced team of presenters a chance to try new things".

"Each of the experienced broadcasters involved in these changes maintains unwavering professionalism and passion for delivering the news," he said.

(BMcC/KMcA)

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