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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
INPHO/Ryan Byrne Ireland U20 Stuart Olding speaking to RTE's Damien O'Meara.
# Game on
Game on, Ger: Damien O’Meara on his new show, playing extra-time and Off The Ball drama
The presenter of 2FM’s new nightly sports show is enjoying his new gig.

WHEN 2FM FIRST aired their new nightly sports programme almost two months ago, they looked to many on the outside to be entering a game they couldn’t win.

Then 27 days later, Off The Ball was shaken by the stunning news that the team behind much of the Newstalk show’s success had resigned.

This was a game changer.

“The story broke on the Monday,” says Game On presenter, Damien O’Meara. “We had a rumbling over the weekend that something was going on, but you know yourself the rumours that fly around in the media, you don’t know what to believe.

“It’s not something that I am personally fixated on too much on. It’s not something that we’re talking about in production meetings every day. It’s not something that changes what we’re about. We’re still looking to provide the best programme we can provide on a nightly basis and that still means we’re sitting down and deciding who the best guests are and what the best items to do are.

“It’s not something that we’re putting a massive a mount of thought into because we’re just trying to get the best programme out there every day.”

O’Meara — an experienced sports journalist, who previously fronted the now-defunct Sport At Seven on RTÉ Radio 1 — adds: “Whether it’s an opportunity corporately or not is another matter but no one likes to see fellas out of work, particularly when they’re talented individuals.

“So it’s not something we’re doing cartwheels of joy about, celebrating the fact that five lads are out of work. But yeah it’s a big talking point for a lot of people.”

Off The Ball, of course, continues with Ger Gilroy again front of house. And the much-missed OTB5 will no doubt resurface sooner rather than later elsewhere. In the meantime, Clontarf-born O’Meara and his production of team of four will continue to settle into their new slot, further west along the dial.

“I know people will look in from the outside in and say they’ve been doing a show on Radio 1, it’s not that much of a change. But we’re still probably learning the beast that the new programme is and what works and what opportunities the extra time gives us.

“So we’re still settling in and you know it’s one of those things, you always look to judge these things a couple of weeks or months down the line. The reaction has been good, we’re getting far more correspondence in terms of text, emails and tweets than we wouldve got on the radio 1 programme, so it’s going well.”

Extra-time

The extra time available to the Game On team allow them to be a little bit more creative when covering the daily sports beat, according to O’Meara.

“Your primary goal is to try and get the best product out there. The fact that we have extra time means we can try to improve the production values and we can put a bit more packaging around things. So we’re constantly looking at ways of illustrating items rather than just playing it straight.

“Audience interaction is something that’s become a much bigger thing and the fact that we’ve see a fairly significant spike in correspondence from people you know gives you the opportunity to let the interaction drive the discussion a bit more than in the past. so thing s like that we’re more conscious of and then the fact we’re doing more live stuff, we’re trying to maximise that too. So making the most of Champions League coverage and what can you put around them and what can you put in those Champions League weeks that enhances the product and enhances the listening experience.

“So stuff like that is forcing us to up our game a little bit more… there are different opportunities now that we need to find ways of trying to fill and different ways of pushing ourselves. I think we’re enjoying it collectively.”

Game On airs on 2FM every weeknight from 7pm

Explainer: So why was Noel McGrath looking like this yesterday?

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