First o’seas work trip for new Irish player

Cathal Goan, director of television, RTE

DUBLIN – Mipcom will be the first trip abroad in the job for Irish TV’s newest big player. Cathal Goan was appointed director of television at RTE (Radio Telefis Eireann), Ireland’s national broadcasting company, in March and took on the position full time in late May.

A top priority on his agenda, says Goan, is the identification of potential partners for co-production of drama and documentaries; he cites the example of “Relative Strangers,” a miniseries co-produced with German TV station ZDF that aired here in January, as a model.

While RTE will have a very limited sales presence at this year’s Mipcom (its only product will be “Beckett on Film,” filmed versions of the complete canon of Samuel Beckett’s work, a co-production with Ireland’s Parallel Films and Britain’s Channel Four Intl.).

Goan says that building a wider international market for RTE’s homegrown product is a longer-term goal.

“We have programs like (soap opera) ‘Glenroe’ that perhaps we haven’t been moving as aggressively as we might have,” says the 46-year-old Belfast native.

Goan first joined RTE in 1979 and worked his way up the ranks in radio and then television, focusing particularly on Irish-language programming. In 1994, he was appointed ceannasai (director) of Teleifis na Gaelige (TG4), a startup Irish-language television channel partly funded by RTE, and was widely credited with establishing a strong, classy identity for the channel.

Goan’s reputation as a straight shooter is in distinct contrast to that of his predecessor, Joe Mulholland, a notorious internal politicker who took early retirement in March after six months of PR disasters including a failed glam-up of RTE’s weather broadcasting, widely panned millennium coverage, and the cancellation of the network’s only dedicated arts programs.

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