Former minister and broadcaster Ivan Yates takes up a new career as a media trainer

Broadcaster, businessman, and former politician Ivan Yates has traded his presenting spotlight for a behind-the-scenes gig in media training.

he retired broadcaster has launched his own ‘Media Masterclass’, teaching the “tricks of the trade” gained over his past four decades working in media.

Last year, the broadcaster walked away from his popular radio and TV presenting gigs to focus on his business ventures.

“I found that hamster wheel to be too exhausting”, he said regarding his sudden departure from Virgin Media’s The Tonight Show and Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder.

“I could not physically sustain the work level I was doing. It just was incredible,” he said.

“I try to give everything my best shot, and maybe suffer from an element of burnout in that intensity, and then I am satisfied that I have done as much as I can.

“We won awards, we got really high ratings, there was a lot of success and I was very proud of that,” he said.

The former Wexford Fine Gael TD and minister for agriculture said he often sees people “hanging on in media, and maybe taking lesser roles,” and felt it was time to put his passion into something new.

Former Tonight Show colleague Matt Cooper recently announced his sudden departure from the show, and Mr Yates said he is unsurprised but wishes him well.

“In politics, media and business, I have worked with very few people who I have observed working harder than me, and Matt was an absolute workaholic.

“He’s writes prolifically, he’s an author of books and I’m sure there will be lots of ongoing media opportunities for him,” he said.

Now as a media trainer, Mr Yates intends to depart his knowledge gained through working as a TD, journalist, and subsequently as broadcaster.

“If you’re photographed on top of a dead horse, or if your giving vaccines to someone that you shouldn’t – I’ve a section on that,” he said about his new course.

The former broadcaster said people are often “fearful” of the media, with a “whatever you say, say nothing” mentality, but added, “I think they are missing an opportunity to actually sell their story, and I hope to give people confidence to pursue a media plan.

“I don’t think there is an equivalent course with someone of my experience,” he said.

The businessman said the media nowadays is “transforming”, with social media and digital playing a large part.

“The media sector is transforming because the revenues from advertising are going to digital, and secondly, media consumption habits through papers is changing. People are accessing their ubiquitous news in a different way.

“This is a very challenging time for media, and to some extent it has to reinvent itself…The difficulty is monetising media.”

The businessman dealt with his own personal crises in 2011 when his bookmakers business went into receivership and he declared bankruptcy. After reaching a settlement last year, he said dealing with personal resilience is an important element for people in the spotlight.

“Not all circumstances of publicity are a positive, and sometimes you have to deal with adversity,” he said, adding that it’s important to remain positive and patient.

While social media plays a large role in today’s media consumption, Mr Yates said he is quite “robust” when it comes to online anonymous abuse, and there is often “lack of understanding” when it comes to social media.

“If you say something on social media it is the same as defaming someone,” he said, adding that there is an obligation for social media platforms to take responsibility.

“I’m in favour of very tough penalties on social media operators where they are reckless and irresponsible and not policing their own sites properly,” he said.

However, he added: “A lot of it is instantaneous and quickly forgotten. Things that you remember forever are not actually generally remembered.”

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