The AA is stopping its Roadwatch Traffic and Travel reports, broadcast on RTÉ for almost 32 years.
AA Ireland started broadcasting traffic reports on RTÉ Radio 1 in September 1989. Since then, it has become part of Ireland’s morning and evening bulletins on several stations, both across RTÉ radio network and on independents including TodayFM, Newstalk and Q102. Other stations were taking an information feed for their news broadcasts.
Several well-known broadcasters and presenters, including Lorraine Keane, Louise Duffy, Doireann Garrihy, Nuala Carey and Louise Heraghty started out on the weekday broadcasts.
Don Brennan, managing director of AA Insurance said: “We know that many listeners will miss the traffic reports. Still, we feel that now is a good time to move on. We are conducting a consultation process with the AA Roadwatch staff that is commencing today about the future of the editorial content direction of the brand.”
“We have decided to move away from this service and instead focus on growing other areas of our business. The raft of new GPS technologies and traffic information sources means a wealth of detail available to motorists from various sources. We will still offer travel information, route planners, emergency advice, and reporting via our AA Ireland website and AA App.
“We will focus our efforts on other areas of motoring advice and editorial to add a richer experience to our existing and future customers and members and become the primary source for motoring information with several new multimedia-rich features set to be added in the Autumn.”
The Roadwatch service was provided to RTÉ as part of a contra deal for advertising, according to Conor Faughnan, the AA’s former director of consumer affairs in an interview with the Sunday Business Post three years ago. A similar contra situation is believed to have existed with other stations.
In March, Conor Faughnan stepped down from his role. He was one of the first voices on the Roadwatch reports, helped in the early years by the “Eye in the Sky” - with information from a Robinson 22 helicopter over Dublin City from Bob Conway.
AA Ireland was part of AA plc in the UK up until 2016, when it was acquired by Carlyle Cardinal Ireland fund and Carlyle Global Financial Services Partners for €156.6 million.
US private equity fund Further Global Capital Management acquired a controlling stake for a sum understood to be in excess of €240 million last October.