Get to know the team behind The Hard Shoulder

Early last month, Ivan Yates took over Newstalk’s drive time slot with a new show – The Hard Shoulder. Replacing Newstalk Drive, the station hopes to drive up listenership in the evening.


Here at MediaHQ, we decided to introduce you to the team behind the new show. Why not get to know the people you’re pitching to? We want to introduce you to some of the many contacts in our database as possible. So here’s a cheat-sheet on all the people behind Newstalk’s newest drive-time programme. The Hard Shoulder with Ivan Yates broadcasts every weekday from 4-7pm.

Ivan Yates – Presenter

Enniscorthy man, Ivan Yates, has had an extensive career as a politician, entrepreneur and journalist. He co-presented Newstalk’s breakfast programme in two stints beginning in 2009 and then in 2013.

He made a return to primetime radio in September, replacing Newstalk’s Drive with The Hard Shoulder.

As one of Ireland’s best-known, straight-talking commentators, he also took over Vincent Browne’s TV3 slot with The Tonight Show along with Matt Cooper.

Mark Simpson – Programme Editor

Mark Simpson has been a producer with Newstalk since 2006, where he began working on The Right Hook. From July 2014 to January 2015, he produced Down to Business and The Sunday Show. After that, he returned as a Producer on the Right Hook before moving to High Noon. Mark is now Programme Editor for The Hard Shoulder.

Mark studied History and Politics at University College Dublin (UCD), and also has a Graduate Diploma in Journalism & Media Communication from Griffith College.

Claire Darmody – Senior Producer

Claire Darmody was a producer on East Coast FM’s The Morning Show with Declan Meehan for almost 13 years before joining Newstalk’s High Noon in 2016. She also produced Alive & Kicking and Futureproof before moving on to produce The Hard Shoulder.

Claire is the founder of East Coast FM’s Wicklow-Wide Coffee Mornings, which in its time has raised hundreds of thousands of euro for several cancer-support centres in the county. She is also the co-founder and writer for lifestyle blog Life Style Smile. 

Dan Flanagan – Producer

Before becoming a producer on The Hard Shoulder, Dan Flanagan worked as a researcher on Newstalk Drive.

Emma Cawley – Producer

Emma Cawley joined Newstalk in 2007 as a researcher. She began producing the Tom Dunne Show in 2013, until moving on to produce Newstalk Drive in 2016.

Emma has a Masters in Journalism from Dublin Institute of Technology.

Shane Hannon – Researcher

Shane Hannon first joined Newstalk as a research intern in 2016, working first on Newstalk’s Breakfast show with Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue, as well as Moncrieff. He went on to be a freelance researcher for Moncrieff and Lunchtime with Jonathan Healy. Before joining The Hard Shoulder team.

Shane graduated from UCD in 2015 with a degree in English and History. He also has a Radio Production Diploma from the TodayFM School of Radio.

In his career so far Shane has interviewed six of the 12 men to have walked on the moon, including Buzz Aldrin.

Steve Daunt – Researcher

Steve Daunt is a researcher who previously worked on Newstalk’s Lunchtime.

All of Newstalk’s reporters contribute daily to The Hard Shoulder and other programmes across their schedule.

Want to get in contact with the team? Here at MediaHQ we want to connect your brand with the media on one unified platform. We offer the largest source of Irish media contacts with over 8,000 contacts on our database as well as a dedicated newsfeed specifically for daily updates of job changes and updates taking place in the Irish media. 

For more information about our database, please call Gaye on (01) 254 1845 or click here.