'a privilege’ | 

Ronan Collins signs off on final daily radio show with ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’

The veteran RTÉ Radio 1 DJ signed off on his final daytime music show today after starting out in the lunchtime slot in 1985

Seoirse MulgrewSunday World

Ronan Collins has said his career as a broadcaster over more than 40 years was “hugely enjoyable and never a chore”.

The veteran RTÉ Radio 1 DJ signed off on his final daytime music show today after starting out in the lunchtime slot in 1985.

The 70-year-old announced that he will take up a slot on RTÉ Gold from February and further details will be announced at a later date.

“I’m going to be coming back here in January for the Collins’ Collection on holiday Mondays on Radio 1 but lots of people have asked where are they going to hear Elvis, the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen, but you’ll certainly hear them on RTÉ Gold and I will be on RTÉ Gold from February onwards,” he said.

The Dublin native said he has been “overwhelmed” over the number of well wishes he has received over the last two weeks.

“I don’t think the Radio 1 listenership are happy with the change, there’s a lot of people have been in touch in the last few weeks since I made the announcement and I’m feeling so many things,” he said.

“I’m flattered by the attention, embarrassed by the attention and I’m a little upset that so many people are unhappy about the fact that I’m going.

“It was my call to go, I’m 70, I’ve been doing this for 43 and a half years coming in here five days a week and loving every single minute of it right up to driving in this morning.

"I always had a fear that I’m in danger of wearing myself out here completely and I had a fear that other circumstances might make me have to stop doing it.

“I felt it was better that I get out ahead of these changes which were inevitable, but I had to look at my life and figure what do I want out of the rest of my life and time is the one thing that I would like, time to do other things.”

Mr Collins said the death of his friend and fellow RTÉ broadcaster Larry Gogan “set the process in train”.

“Larry will be gone three years in January, and I think about two and half years ago, when the pandemic started, and the lockdown started, and I missed Larry. I saw him every day, we were great pals and I just kind of felt like the heart had gone out of the building,” he said.

“But I’m to say at that stage that’s when I started to think about it, but then with the pandemic I was completely bowled over by the amount of people who are now listening, so I had a job to do, and I kept going.

“And then last year I started to think about it again because you start looking at your age and how long you’ve been doing something and wonder how long you can continue to do it.

“Even though it was successful and hugely enjoyable, never a chore or a burden to do it, once I went in the studio door no matter what had gone on in the hours previously or what I had to face later on in the day, that was my time to work, I had a job to do.”

Fellow RTÉ broadcaster Joe Duffy paid tribute to Collins’ “popularity and connection to people”.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure, often times we were the only people who met each other during lockdown, and you always insisted on coming in and doing your programme and I think once again you’ve put your finger on the pulse,” he said.

“You’re leaving, thank God, in the full of your health and the full of your happiness and voice above all and the full of your talented creativity and long may it continue.

“Thank you for all the laughs and all the stories you told me before we were on air, but above all good health and happiness in the many, many busy years ahead.”

Through tears, Collins announced his final two songs were Linda Ronstadt’s Adios and Andrew Gold’s Thank You for Being a Friend.

“That was for all of you, it’s just so many people particularly over the past few weeks, my entire working life has been about music and that’s why I let those two songs speak for themselves,” he said.

“I could thank lots and lots of people but as always happened on this programme there was never enough time to do what I wanted to do. Thank you very much, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege.”

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