'Very special' | 

RTE legend Ronan Collins says Larry Gogan’s death made his reassess his working life

“I thought about Larry a few times on Friday and I got a bit teary-eyed about it,” the veteran broadcaster told the Sunday World/

Ronan Collins has left his radio show© Iain White Photography

Eddie RowleySunday World

RADIO legend Ronan Collins said yesterday that he hopes his daily RTE show replacement Louise Duffy will have “as much fun as I had.”

Ronan, who has been in RTE since 1979 when he joined the then new Radio 2 station, shocked his fans on Friday when he announced live on air that he was retiring from his long running show.

Louise Duffy, who worked on Today FM before being dropped by the station, previously filled in for Ronan when he was on a break.

New RTÉ radio presenter Louise Duffy. Photo Martina Regan

The presenter, who is married to former Kerry footballer Paul Galvin, has also worked on RTE’s Late Date and Rising Time.

“I wasn’t aware, although I suspected, that Louise was taking over the show,” Ronan told the Sunday World yesterday.

“I didn’t ask because what happens after the 23rd of December when I leave the show is no concern of mine. I met Louise once and she’s a very pleasant woman, but I don’t know her personally.

"She did fill in for me when I was away, but I never heard her on the show.

"But I wish her the best of luck and I hope she gets even half the time that I got.

“I do genuinely wish her the very best of luck, and not only do I wish her the best of luck, I also hope she enjoys herself because it’s a great gig.

"Eamon Dunphy used to say that to me, ‘Collins, you have the best gig in the world playing records and in there chatting away and you’re only doing an hour a day.

"It’s the best gig in the world and I want that gig.’ I used to joke, ‘No chance!’

“I was trusted to produce and present the programme and I think that trust was repaid in the success of the programme through the years. I had a lot of people who grew up with the programme.

"I had a lot of people who told me they heard me on breakfast radio when they were going to school and continued to hear me right through the 43-and-a half-years.”

RTE dedicated last Friday’s Liveline show to 70-year-old Collins and his friends and fans flooded the show with tributes to the much-loved broadcaster.

“I was told that I was trending above the weather and Cristiano Ronaldo,” Ronan laughed yesterday.

“But it was lovely. I enjoyed the fact that Liveline included my family. The great thing is I’m alive to hear it. Two things I wanted to get across were, number one I’m not retiring and number two I’m not dead.”

And Collins told that on the journey home in the car on Friday afternoon after Liveline he was listening to the Ray D’Arcy show where Dustin the Turkey was a guest.

“Dustin was on with Ray D’Arcy and they were doing the programme from Dublin Castle. Dustin came on and he said to Ray, ‘Is this Ronan Collins’ funeral do?’ Good old Dustin, it was very funny,” Ronan laughed.

Ronan has been at the decks for more than 43 years

Ronan said that it was the death of his friend, Larry Gogan, in January 2020 that prompted him to reassess his working life.

“Larry was the catalyst for me for a lot of things,” he said.

“When Larry died and I went back in to the RTE Radio Centre I found the heart of the place was gone for me because I no longer had somebody to drop into to say hello, and he would do the same.

“Larry’s style of doing things is gone today. I learned a lot from him.

" There are very few DJs anymore, they are all comedians and influencers and their conversations are interrupted by having to play a record that they didn’t choose anyway. So it’s very different now.

“I thought about Larry a few times on Friday and I got a bit teary-eyed about it because he meant so much to me and to many others. He was great, he was very special.”

Ronan says that he will continue to present his The Collins Collection show on Radio 1 every Bank Holiday Monday and yesterday revealed that he has been inundated with lots of other work within RTE.

“I’ll be doing other things in RTE. They’re talking about everything. I said, ‘I’m flattered that you want me to do this that and the other, but I need to take a break, just for a short while.’

“I’m just going to enjoy my last couple of weeks and then have a couple of weeks off, and then go back in and talk to them about a few different things and start recording my Collins Collection. There will be plenty to do.”

Ronan, who started out as a drummer with Dickie Rock’s band, said he also intends to continue doing live shows as a singer. “We’ve got the Showband tour starting on January 6 and that goes right up to the end of February,” he adds.

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