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Hi. I'm Tony Fenton
Tony Fenton is a larger than life figure. One of Ireland’s most experienced and widely liked DJs, he currently occupies the early afternoon slot on Today FM, where he attracts an impressive audience. Behind the mic, he is full of braggadocio – but off-air he is a different character entirely. So what really makes the Northside Dubliner tick?
Olaf Tyaransen, 29 Jun 2011
Yeah. It was a terrible thing to do. Your confidence was shot then for the rest of the show.
When did you move to RTÉ?
2fm started in 1979. I was still in pirate stations and I knew I wasn’t good enough at the time to go for that. I was with Sunshine and Nova, all the way through to ’83. They closed down in ’83. There was no work around. The only stations were Radio 1 and 2fm, so I went away to Denmark and Tenerife to find work, get some dollars in.
Tenerife must have been fun.
Great craic. I was there for about 8 or 9 months. Great place to live, they gave me a car. I was 22 years of age, working as a club DJ. Of course, I got all my friends to come over in the summertime for two weeks holidays and stay with me. It was one giant holiday and I enjoyed the work. Living in the sunshine is hard to beat when you’re 22. I’d recommend it to anybody. So I got a call when I was there from Barry Lang, who said, “Look, 2fm are looking for some on-air talent, you should go for it.” So I came back, applied for that, and they faffed around for a good year-and-a-half, making decisions. Then they decided they didn’t want anyone, and then a year-and-a-half later they did. So I applied again. I knew I was ready. I went in, did a 15-minute demo again, and after introducing the second song they just said, “Look, we’re gonna stop the tape, we’ve heard enough.” Of course, you never know which way that’s gonna go. So I got a call then in summer of ’85 saying, “You’ve got the job.” And my first show was the day Bruce Springsteen played Slane. I went to see Bruce. Then I hopped in the car and back to the radio station. I was on from midnight until ten-to-two. The reason it was ten-to-two was because the engineers wanted 10 minutes cleaning up time. So my show finished at ten to two not two o’clock. Then it closed for the night. Crazy (laughs).
You would have known Gerry Ryan in 2FM. Did you socialise much with him?
Not really. Of course we’d meet in clubs or bars or restaurants and stuff. We’d have the craic and have a few beers together and that was it. I wasn’t part of his gang. He had a different group of friends. We’d meet each other every day in work, very sociable, but it was like this is my show, this is my time slot, and everything else after that I don’t really care about too much. Your name is above the studio door, you have to put in your shift, and you have to take care of it. That’s what he did.