Tony Fenton

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Tony Fenton
Born Anthony James Fagan
25 March 1961
Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland
Died 11 March 2015 (aged 53)
Cause of death
Prostate cancer
Resting place
Glasnevin Cemetery
Nationality Irish
Occupation Radio presenter
Known for Wall of Sound
Spouse(s) Unmarried

Anthony James "Tony" Fenton (25 March 1961 – 11 March 2015) was an Irish radio presenter and DJ. For 18 years until he left in 2003, he worked with RTÉ 2fm; then joined Today FM in 2004, where he worked until his death 11 years later.

Fenton won Music Broadcaster of the Year at the 2008 PPI Radio Awards. He also appeared on television, including a 2007 guest appearance on The Panel,[1] plus a four stars from five meal cooked on The Restaurant.[2][3]

Fenton was "one of Ireland's favourite pop DJs".[4] Louis Walsh described him as one of "the kings of Irish broadcasting".[5]

Early life[edit]

Fenton grew up in Glasnevin, wanting to become a radio presenter from a young age. Aged deep within his early teens he would listen to the pioneers of commercial radio on stations such as Radio Luxembourg, Radio Caroline and BBC Radio 1.[citation needed]

On completion of his education, Fenton began an apprenticeship as a carpenter in his father's building company. During this time he set up as a mobile DJ with friend Barry Lang doing birthday parties at weekends, their first gig being at the local scout hall. Later, Ian Dempsey joined the duo and they travelled all over Dublin spinning vinyl at various weddings and birthday parties. Fenton noticed an advertisement by his local pirate station Alternative Radio Dublin (ARD) who were searching for some new "jocks".[citation needed]

He was also involved in soccer in his early years, playing alongside Ronnie Whelan at Home Farm.[6]


In 1979, ARD employed him in his first radio job after a number of approaches. His prominence in local radio led to attention from the more powerful pirate stations. Throughout the early 1980s, Fenton was pursued by Dublin's growing radio industry. During this time he moved from ARD to Sunshine Radio and onto Radio Nova.

In 1985 Fenton returned to Ireland. RTÉ 2fm (then known as Radio 2) had begun in 1979 and were attracted to the vast audience Fenton had amassed while working with the pirates. During his early days with Radio 2 he helped grow the station's audience as presenter of a multitude of different shows throughout the schedule, including The Hotline.

Fenton left RTÉ 2fm in March 2003 to pursue other interests but, missing the buzz of radio, he joined national independent station Today FM in September 2004. There he was given a new lunchtime show to present. A revamp of the station which took place in November 2006 led to his show being moved to the 14:30 to 16:30 slot. During his time there he interviewed many famous musicians including, Noel Gallagher, Arcade Fire, Liam Gallagher, Kings Of Leon, Jessie J, Maverick Sabre, Emile Sande, John Lydon, Al Green, Elbow, Carly Simon, Tinie Tempah, Debbie Harry, Steve Van Zandt,

Fenton later presented award-winning afternoon show broadcasts from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday on Today FM, a music-driven show with features including "On This Day". Each day at 15:30, he played a downloadable tune as suggested by listeners. An archive of the chosen songs was then stored online.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Fenton was unmarried. He was a fan of Chelsea and owned an autographed football signed by the team.[8]

In the summer of 2011, Fenton revealed that he had been battling prostate cancer. Just one month after losing his mother to cancer in October 2010, Fenton discovered what turned out to be a malignant melanoma on his leg. Following treatment, the melanoma receded and he was given the all clear in March 2011. The cancer returned in May, however, and Fenton travelled to Germany for surgery. The surgery was a success and Fenton spent the remainder of his six-week break recuperating.[9]

Fenton died on 11 March 2015, a fortnight before his 54th birthday, after succumbing to prostate cancer.[10][11][12] [13]

At 2.30 pm exactly on 16 March 2015, the day of his funeral, radio stations nationwide played the Aretha Franklin version of "I Say a Little Prayer" as a final mark of respect for Fenton.[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Fenton received the Music Broadcaster of the Year Award at the 2008 PPI Radio Awards.[15] He was nominated in the category of Best Radio DJ — National at the 2009 2010 Meteor Awards.[16][17]

Year Recipient Award Result
2008 Tony Fenton Music Broadcaster of the Year Award Won
2009 "" Best Radio DJ — National Nominated
2010 "" Best Radio DJ — National Nominated
2011 "" PPI Music Broadcaster of the Year Nominated


  1. ^ "Monday, 10 December 2007 – Tony Fenton on The Panel". RTÉ Television. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  2. ^ "Five things you might not know about Tony Fenton". JOE. 7 November 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Tony Fenton on The Restaurant". RTÉ Television. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  4. ^ Niamh Horan (6 November 2011). "DJ Fenton to file for bankruptcy with €750,000 debts". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Joe Jackson (3 February 2002). "Six things about Louis". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 3 February 2002. 
  6. ^ Tyaransen, Olaf (29 June 2011). "Hi. I'm Tony Fenton". Hot Press. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Tony's Daily Download". Today FM. Retrieved 26 November 2008.
  8. ^ Udell, Phil (26 August 2004). "At Home With: Tony Fenton". Hot Press. 
  9. ^ "DJ Fenton in cancer battle, but colleagues in the dark". Irish Independent. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Kelly, Aoife (12 March 2015). "Today FM presenter Tony Fenton has died following cancer battle". Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Tributes after DJ Tony Fenton dies aged 53". RTE News. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Tributes after top DJ Tony Fenton loses battle with cancer". Irish Examiner. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Today FM radio legend Tony Fenton has died at the age of 53". 12 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "Say a little prayer for Tony! Irish stations unite in nod of respect for the Dude". 16 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "GROUP E: PERSONALITIES". PPI Radio Awards. 
  16. ^ "Meteor Music Awards nominees revealed". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2009. 
  17. ^ "Meteor Ireland Awards Nominees". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 

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