Tuesday 25 October 2016

'I don't own the lunchtime slot, I've just been keeping it warm' Ronan Collins on 30 years at RTE Radio One

David Kearns

Published 05/06/2015 | 16:03

With no sign of his popularity waning, Ronan Collins has no fears that 2015 could be his last. Now celebrating his 30th year at Radio One, the veteran host has no idea where the time has gone.

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“I don’t look at the passage of time with regrets, only that it’s gone so fast,” he told Independent.ie

“I was on Radio One at lunch time in 1985, and I’m still hanging on 30 years later. As I sometimes say on Friday’s, I’ll be back on Monday so long as no one tells me otherwise.”

Thirty years in the same slot is a remarkable achievement in the notoriously fickle world of radio – particularly given the numerous changes to RTE’s line-up in recent years.

But with a daily audience of more than 200,000 people, Mr Collins has been the lynchpin for RTE's lunchtime radio.

“It has gone by in the blink of an eye,” admits the 62-year-old, who started his career on the airwaves 36 years ago.

Speaking about his time at RTE, Mr Collins said it had been a “privilege” to be on airwaves so long.

“I don’t own the lunchtime slot, I’ve just been minding it for whoever comes next. I’m just thankful that I’ve been able to keep it warm all this time.

“I’m 36 years in radio and I’m very happy to be able to say that. You can often work in places that don’t encourage those kind of comments.

“[But] the management at RTE are proud of this fact. Not many other people have been given the same opportunity and I’m lucky.

“I take nothing for granted. Maybe that’s why I’ve been here so long – no show I’ve ever done has felt like a chore. The day it does, that’s probably the day I go.

“Thankfully, that’s a way away. From the look of things, I’ve a few more years left in me.

“I’m freelance so retirement isn’t on the horizon. I don’t have to go. I don’t have to talk about it. And I don’t have to prepare for it. As long as my health keeps up and my resolve to enjoy the show stays the same, I’ll keep doing it.”

Key to his success, Mr Collins claims, is today's focus on talk radio. Surprised that his lunchtime show is still among the few music programmes on during the day, the broadcaster said this had played a big part in keeping him popular.

“I’ve never been in the business of analysing figures but I think a lot of it has to do with us being a little oasis of calm during the daytime news storm.

"I’m the only music programme on for most of the day, and I think that’s helped a lot. No one wants to be constantly bombarded with news and information."

Reflecting on the recent passing of Bill O'Herlihy and Derek Davis, the veteran lunchtime host said this year had been "particular hard".

"I’ve been made very aware of my mortality this year. It’s a sad time. But I try not to dwell on it as I’ve never been one to hide from my age."

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