Today FM

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This article is about the Irish radio station. For other uses, see 2day FM (disambiguation).
Today FM
Broadcast area Ireland
Slogan Expect Something Different (currently)
Get Into It (formerly)
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
Old logo

Radio Ireland Ltd, trading as 100-102 Today FM is a commercial FM radio station which is available nationally in Ireland.

Broadcasting since 17 March 1997 (Saint Patrick's Day), it carries music and talk. Purchased by Denis O'Brien's Communicorp in 2007, Today FM holds a licence from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland as far as 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]


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. Since the autumn of 1998, experienced broadcaster and radio programmer Tom Hardy had been Programming Director of Today FM. He left in January 2013 and was subsequently replaced by Colm O'Sullivan, former DJ with both Cork's RED FM and Today FM who now serves as the main Programming Director for Today FM.

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.

Denis O'Brien's Communicorp was the highest bidder for Emap's Irish operations when that company decided to sell its radio stations, buying FM104, Highland Radio and Today FM on 14 July 2007.[4][5][6] In October 2007, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) approved Communicorp's proposed takeover of Today FM and Highland Radio, but not FM104.[7][8] The deal was completed by January 2008.[9] Due to a Competition Authority decision, Communicorp was required to sell-on FM104, which it did (to UTV Media) immediately upon its acquisition. The takeover closed in April 2008.

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.

Broadcast history[edit]

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.[10] The station axed almost all of its programming and changed its music policy entirely.[10] 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.[10] 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.

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.[11] Philip Cawley's afternoon show was reduced and Tony Fenton was given a lunchtime show.[11]

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!"[12] D'Arcy said, "You're very comfortable with your sexuality?"[12] Bishop said, "Me and Derek Mooney are doing a show".[12] The audience laughed.[12] D'Arcy moved to a commercial break before, he said, Bishop "outs anyone else".[12] 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.[12][13][14]

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 Digges Lane studio was Friday Night 80s with Phil Cawley from 19:00. The first song played was "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Today FM had a crucial role in the Brian Cowen nude portraits controversy of March 2009, specifically Will Hanafin and The Ray D'Arcy Show.

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."[15] The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said it was concerned at the development.[16] The Irish Independent, of which Denis O'Brien is a leading shareholder, reported that Anton Savage was being lined up to replace Sam Smyth.[17] 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.[18]


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 radio stations, Irish or otherwise, 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 was preceded from Monday until Thursday by Tony Fenton's self-titled afternoon show (up until Fenton's death in March 2015) and is followed by Fergal D'arcy, the 7pm- 9pm slot having been previously held with The Mix Up presented by former Cork Red FM Colm O'Sullivan who has since become the new Program Director for Today FM with DJ/Undertones frontman Paul McLoone following after D'arcy, McLoone's show airing from 9pm to midnight followed by the Midnight Chill every Monday to Thursday.

Of note is the station's satirical slot, Gift Grub,[19] 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 Anton Savage Show, the lunchtime show with Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore, and the mid afternoon show with Louise Duffy before The Last Word with Matt Cooper (Irish journalist), 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, the bulletins having previously been held at 12:45pm[20]

Weekend shows include Saturday Breakfast with Alison Curtis, Sunday Best with Neil Delamere and Premier League Live. The most popular weekend show is The Phil Cawley Show, produced by Jennifer Dollard, the show airs from 11am til 2pm Saturday and from 1pm until 4pm on Sunday live from Dundrum Town Centre. [21]

Other presenters at the station include Derek Flood, Jim O'Neill 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, Tom Dunne (Pet Sounds), Eamon Dunphy (original presenter of The Last Word), Tony Fenton, 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,Tim 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), Ray Foley and Karl Tsigdinos (The River of Soul).

Current presenters and shows[edit]

This is the current Today FM schedule as of November 2015.[22]

Time Monday – Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
05:00 Early Breakfast with Paula MacSweeney Overnight music
07:00 The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show The Very Last Word with Matt Cooper Sunday Breakfast with Declan Meehan
08:00 Saturday Breakfast with Alison Curtis
09:00 The Anton Savage Show
10:00 The Sunday Business Show
11:00 The Phil Cawley Show Neil Delamere's Sunday Best
12:00 Dermot and Dave
including the National Lunchtime News at 1pm
13:00 The Phil Cawley Show
14:00 Premier League Live
14:30 Louise Duffy
16:00 Fergal D'Arcy
16:30 The Last Word with Matt Cooper
18:00 Saturday Hits with Claire Beck
19:00 Fergal D'Arcy Friday Night 80s On The Road - Classic Anthems with Jim O'Neill
21:00 Paul McLoone or "The Paul McLoone Show"
22:00 Friday Night 90s
with Shauna O'Reilly and Eoghan Doherty
The Beat Goes On
with Kelly-Anne Byrne
Ed's Songs of Praise
00:00 Overnight music

The weekend schedule is regularly changed at particular times of year to accommodate extra sports programming, such as during the GAA hurling and football championships, when Championship Sunday, hosted by Paul Collins, airs on Sunday at 9am. Similarly, Ross Lindsay's Scrum Saturday airs on Saturdays at 1pm during the Six Nations Championship and other periods when the Irish national side is in action.

Outside of the Premier League season, or on weekends without league games, the Saturday afternoon slot is hosted by Martin King.

Recent changes[edit]

The lunchtime slot was previously presented by Keith "KC" Cunningham, who left in April 2014 for family reasons to return to Red FM in Cork.[23] Louise Duffy moved from the Early Breakfast[24] to take over the slot from April until August 2014 when she was succeeded by Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore, who left the Dublin regional radio station, 98FM to take over the slot permanently from September 2014 onwards, their show airing for the first time on September 1st, 2014 with the show airing every Monday to Friday from midday to 2:30pm.

Duffy had also served as a regular substitute for Tony Fenton's mid-afternoon show throughout 2013 and 2014. Following Fenton's death in March 2015, Duffy took over the show on a permanent basis and now presents her own show titled "The Louise Duffy Show" which airs every Monday to Friday from 2:30pm to 4:30pm.

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 with the show airing every Friday night from 10pm to 1am. MacSweeney has since moved to the 5am weekday slot and now hosts Early Breakfast with Paula MacSweeney which airs every Monday to Friday from 5am to 7am.

Ray D'Arcy originally hosted the weekday mid-morning slot for 15 years but abruptly left Today FM to rejoin RTE with immediate effect in December 2014. Alison Curtis served as an interim host until the appointment of Anton Savage who began his show, The Anton Savage Show on January 26, 2015 which now airs every Monday to Friday from 9pm to midday. Savage's previous Sunday morning show, "Savage Show" ended and the slot was taken over by comedian Neil Delamere who now presents his own show titled "Neil Delamere's Sunday Best".

On August 17, 2015, Colm O'Sullivan announced that his show The Mix-Up which aired every Monday- Thursday 7pm- 9pm was ending after three years and that O'Sullivan himself was retiring from the DJ business after nearly twenty years to take up a position as the new Programme Director of Today FM. Two days, later on August 19, Fergal D'arcy, a DJ formerly with iRadio was announced as O'Sullivan's replacement. On August 27, 2015, "The Mix-Up with Colm O'Sullivan aired" for the final time with Cork band, The Frank and Walters serving as the musical guests. Two weeks later, on September 14, 2015, D'arcy's show aired on Today FM for the first time, with Ed Smith continuing to serve on as the producer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carolan, Mary (7 November 2011). "Radio presenter declared bankrupt". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. 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. ^ "Denis O'Brien's Communicorp to acquire Irish radio stations -Today FM, FM104 and Highland Radio - in €200m deal". Finfacts. 16 July 2007. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Emap sells radio stations to O'Brien". RTÉ News. 16 July 2007. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "O'Brien buys Emap radio stations in €200m deal". The Irish Emigrant. 18 July 2007. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Blow for O'Brien's €200m radio bid". Irish Examiner. 9 October 2007. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Beesley, Arthur (9 October 2007). "Denis O'Brien cannot buy FM104 as part of €200m deal". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Hancock, Ciarán (12 January 2008). "O'Brien seals €200m deal for Emap's three Irish radio outlets". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Corless, Damian (30 September 2006). "Battle stations". Irish Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  11. ^ a b "RTÉ and Today FM suffer as regionals thrive". The Sunday Business Post. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 24 October 2008. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Having a gay old time on Ray's show". Irish Independent. 21 April 2006. Retrieved 21 April 2006. 
  14. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (30 April 2006). "Gays and lads gang together to go wild on mild Mooney". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 30 April 2006. 
  15. ^ "Today FM's Smyth changes topic during discussion about his own sacking". 16 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. 
  16. ^ Taylor, Charlie (16 October 2011). "Smyth show to end on Today FM". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Quinlan, Ronald (16 October 2011). "Savage to replace dropped Smyth on Today FM slot". Irish Independent (Denis O'Brien). Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  18. ^ "Eamon Dunphy leaving Newstalk with a bang". 30 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  19. ^ "Lasting impression". Irish Examiner. 24 December 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Today FM schedule". Today FM. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ [2]

External links[edit]