Today FM

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This article is about the Irish radio station. For other uses, see 2day FM (disambiguation).
Today FM
Todayfmireland.jpg
Broadcast area Ireland
Slogan Get Into It
Frequency FM: 100-101.8, 105.5 MHz
First air date 17 March 1997
Format Contemporary
Facility ID Marconi House, Digges Lane, Dublin 2[1]
Owner Communicorp
Sister stations Newstalk
Dublin's 98FM
Spin 103.8
TXFM
Website www.todayfm.com

Radio Ireland Ltd, trading as 100-102 Today FM is an Irish commercial FM radio station which is available nationally. The station, which commenced broadcasting on Saint Patrick's Day in 1997, can be received nationally and carries a mix of music and talk. Purchased by Denis O'Brien's Communicorp in 2007, Today FM holds a licence from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to the year 2017.[2] The station recorded pretax profits of €7.4 million on a turnover of €19.4 million in early 2009, more than twice what it was two years previously.[3]

History[edit]

Origin: Radio Ireland[edit]

The original Independent National Radio franchise holder in Ireland was 100-102 Century Radio, which launched in 1989 and closed down abruptly in late 1991. The Independent Radio and Television Commission did not re-advertise the contract for several years, until 1996.

Radio Ireland Limited, originally owned by John McColgan and Moya Doherty (and because of their involvement, dubbed "Radio Riverdance"), won the contract when it was advertised. The station went on air on 17 March 1997. At first the station was a mixed network, airing much talk programming and various types of music. However, following six months of disastrous ratings, and with a listenership of just 1%, the station was revamped, and on 1 January 1998 became 100-102 Today FM.[4] The station axed almost all of its programming and changed its music policy entirely.[4] Eamon Dunphy's co-host (Anne-Marie Hourihan) was axed, with him being heavily promoted as a solo act and Ian Dempsey and Ray D'Arcy were poached from arch-rivals RTÉ.[4] The IRTC went along with the schedule changes, though in a statement soon after the relaunch said it was not entirely satisfied with the new schedule. However, within three months, the station's listenership had almost doubled. Since the autumn of 1998, experienced broadcaster and radio programmer Tom Hardy has been Programming Director of Today FM.

Old logo

Today FM reshuffled its daytime schedule in 2004, reducing The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show to add an extra hour to The Ray D'Arcy Show so that it could compete directly with rival, The Gerry Ryan Show.[5] Philip Cawley's afternoon show was reduced and Tony Fenton was given a lunchtime show.[5]

Exchanges of ownership[edit]

In 2002, Scottish Radio Holdings plc acquired Radio Ireland Limited from its shareholders. In June 2005, an agreed takeover offer for that company was made by EMAP plc.

On 16 July 2007 it was announced that Denis O'Brien's Communicorp had agreed to purchase FM104, along with national station Today FM and Donegal station Highland Radio. The sale is however subject to both Competition Authority and Broadcasting Commission of Ireland approval. Had the sale been approved in its originally proposed form, both FM104 and 98FM would be owned by the same company.[6][7]

On 8 October 2007, Communicorp's takeover of Today FM was approved by the BCI.[8] Following the Competition Authority's approval for the takeover (on the condition that the enlarged Communicorp disposed of FM104 to UTV Media), the takeover closed in April 2008.

Relocation[edit]

In 2008, Today FM moved their studios from their original base at 112 Upper Abbey Street, Dublin across the Liffey to Marconi House in Digges Lane, Dublin 2. Presenters Matt Cooper, Ray D'Arcy, Ian Dempsey and Tom Dunne spent hours recreating the iconic picture used for the cover of The Beatles's 11th album, Abbey Road to publicise their move.[9] On 29 February 2008, Matt Cooper's The Last Word was the final show to be presented from the old studios. The first show to be presented from the new studios was Friday Night 80s with Phil Cawley from 19:00. The first song played was "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Controversies[edit]

Ray D'Arcy/Des Bishop incident[edit]

In April 2006, Ray D'Arcy conducted an interview with comedian Des Bishop. Bishop joked about being gay. D'Arcy asked Bishop to provide an "exclusive". Bishop said, "I'm gay... I'm not, but hey!"[10] D'Arcy said, "You're very comfortable with your sexuality?"[10] Bishop said, "Me and Derek Mooney are doing a show".[10] The audience laughed.[10] D'Arcy moved to a commercial break before, he said, Bishop "outs anyone else".[10] The incident provoked much commentary in the media, with the Sunday Independent observing "Instantly, the Irish-American comedian was the villain of the piece and Derek was all over the front page", while Ray D'Arcy was also criticised for his choice of words.[10][11][12]

Urinating Taoiseach caricature emails[edit]

This happened in March 2009, involving Will Hanafin and The Ray D'Arcy Show.

Sam Smyth sacking[edit]

On 15 October 2011, Today FM confirmed Sam Smyth's Sunday radio show was being dropped. He had been presenting it for 14 years. Smyth had previously offended his bosses by commenting in a newspaper and on television about the Moriarty Tribunal which criticised Today FM owner Denis O'Brien. Smyth said on air the next morning that he had been told not to talk about the end of his show and stopped one of his guests from talking about it too "before someone comes downstairs and pulls a wire we better move onto something else."[13] The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said it was concerned at the development.[14] The Irish Independent, of which Denis O'Brien is a leading shareholder, reported that Anton Savage was being lined up to replace Sam Smyth.[15] Eamon Dunphy subsequently resigned from Today FM's sister station Newstalk, in solidarity with Smyth and because, he said, the radio station's management wanted "dissenting voices" such as Constantin Gurdgiev off the airwaves.[16]

Schedule[edit]

Today FM airs a mixture of popular music and news and current affairs programming. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day, but broadcasts back-to-back music overnight (midnight to 5am weekdays, 1am to 7am weekends) with no presenters or programmes. This is done by many Irish radio stations, usually to save costs in employing overnight presenters and technicians.

The flagship current affairs programme on Today FM is The Last Word, currently presented by Matt Cooper. The latest JNLR figures revealed that this programme enjoyed a listenership of 215,000, over-taking rival Drivetime on RTÉ Radio 1 for the first time ever. The Last Word is preceded from Monday until Thursday by Tony Fenton's self-titled afternoon show and followed by Paul McLoone's self-titled evening music programme.

Of note is the station's satirical slot, Gift Grub,[17] a feature broadcast during The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, which is performed by Mario Rosenstock and includes popular caricatures of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, current Tánaiste Joan Burton, and singers Daniel O'Donnell and Keith Duffy.

The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show is followed by The Ray D'Arcy Show, the lunchtime show with Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore, and The Tony Fenton Show before The Last Word with Matt Cooper, the station's flagship current affairs programme. The station also broadcasts a daily 15-minute news bulletin, the National Lunchtime News, at 1pm during the lunchtime show in addition to its hourly news bulletins.

Weekend shows include Saturday Breakfast with Alison Curtis, Savage Sunday, Premiere League Live and The Mix Up with Colm O'Sullivan. The most popular weekend show is The Phil Cawley Show which airs from 11am til 2pm Saturday and from 1pm until 4pm on Sunday live from Dundrum Town Centre.

Other presenters at the station include Derek Flood, Tim Kelly and Bob Conway. Declan Meehan and Martin King are two weekend-only presenters, with Declan Meehan having been involved with the station from its inception.

Former presenters of Radio Ireland/Today FM include Philip Boucher-Hayes, Mark Byrne, Mark Cagney, Enda Caldwell, Breffni Clack, Alison Curtis (The Last Splash and The Alison Curtis Show featuring Mister Ed Smith), Tom Dunne (Pet Sounds), Eamon Dunphy (original presenter of The Last Word), Bob Gallico, Tommy Greene, Anne-Marie Hourihan (originally Eamon Dunphy's co-host), Bill Hughes, Robbie Irwin (weekend sports programs presenter), Mark Kavanagh (dance show), Ann Marie Kelly, John Kelly, Stephen Keogh, Tracey Lee, Nails Mahoney (briefly), Marty Miller (now of Radio Nova 100FM), the late Dermot Morgan, Paddy Murray and Liam Mackey (Murray and Mackey), Ian Noctor (newsreader who also for a period presented Dad Rock), Ed Myers, Paul Power, Ita Ryan (The Celtic Reel), John Ryan (original presenter of The Sunday Supplement), Donal Scannell, Jon Troy (Between The Sheets - love songs), and Karl Tsigdinos (The River of Soul).

Current presenters and shows[edit]

This is the current Today FM schedule.[18]

Time Monday – Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
05:00 Early Breakfast with Teresanne O'Reilly Overnight Music
06:00
07:00 The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show The Very Last Word Sunday Breakfast with Declan Meehan
08:00 Saturday Breakfast with Alison Curtis
09:00 Mid mornings with Alison Curtis Championship Sunday
10:00 The Sunday Business Show
11:00 The Phil Cawley Show Savage Sunday
12:00 Dermot and Dave
(featuring the National Lunchtime News at 1pm)
13:00 The Phil Cawley Show
14:00 Premier League Live
14:30 The Tony Fenton Show
15:00
16:00 The Mix Up with Colm O'Sullivan
16:30 The Last Word with Matt Cooper
17:00
18:00 Saturday Hits with Paula MacSweeney
19:00 The Mix Up with Colm O'Sullivan Friday Night 80's On The Road - Classic Anthems with Jim O'Neill
20:00
21:00 Paul McLoone
22:00 Friday Night 90's The Beat Goes On Ed's Songs of Praise
23:00
00:00 Overnight Music

The lunchtime slot was previously presented by Keith 'KC' Cunningham, who left in April 2014 for family reasons to return to Red FM in his native Cork.[19] Louise Duffy moved from the Early Breakfast[20] to take over the slot from April until August 2014; she was succeeded by Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore, who left 98FM to take over the slot permanently from September 2014 onwards.

Saturday night host Paula MacSweeney previously hosted a Friday Night Anthems show, moving to Saturday nights in April 2014, when her previous show was succeeded by Friday Night 90's hosted by Shauna O'Reilly and Eoghan Doherty.

In December 2014, Ray D'arcy left Today FM with immediate effect with Alison Curtin serving as a temporary replacement for him until a new, permanent replacement can be found.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carolan, Mary (7 November 2011). "Radio presenter declared bankrupt". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 November 2011. Mr Fagan, Merrion Woods, Stillorgan Road, Blackrock in Dublin, was working at the Today FM offices at Digges Lane, Dublin 2, when he was served with the petition by the Revenue Commissioners on October 28th last, it was stated in legal documents 
  2. ^ "BCI signs contract with Today FM for national radio licence" (Press release). Broadcasting Commission of Ireland. 31 March 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2009. 
  3. ^ Kenny, Colum (3 February 2009). "What will RTÉ do without Pat?". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "Battle stations". Irish Independent. 30 September 2006. Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "RTÉ and Today FM suffer as regionals thrive". The Sunday Business Post. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 24 October 2008. 
  6. ^ "O'Brien's company buys Irish radio stations". RTÉ News. 16 July 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2007. 
  7. ^ "Sale of Republic of Ireland radio stations". EMAP. 16 July 2007. 
  8. ^ RADIOWAVES: Radio News from Ireland and beyond
  9. ^ "Radio heads follow the fab four". Irish Independent. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Accidental outing of Derek Mooney may not be so bad after all". Sunday Independent. 23 April 2006. Retrieved 23 April 2006. 
  11. ^ "Having a gay old time on Ray's show". Irish Independent. 21 April 2006. Retrieved 21 April 2006. 
  12. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (30 April 2006). "Gays and lads gang together to go wild on mild Mooney". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 30 April 2006. 
  13. ^ "Today FM’s Smyth changes topic during discussion about his own sacking". thejournal.ie, 16 October 2011.
  14. ^ Taylor, Charlie. "Smyth show to end on Today FM", The Irish Times, 16 October 2011.
  15. ^ Quinlan, Ronald. "Savage to replace dropped Smyth on Today FM slot", Irish Independent, 16 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Eamon Dunphy leaving Newstalk with a bang". JOE.ie. 30 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Lasting impression". Irish Examiner. 24 December 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  18. ^ "Today FM schedule". Today FM. 
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ [2]

External links[edit]