Wednesday 24 May 2017

Tributes pour in following death of much-loved broadcaster Billy McCarthy

Image: Beat FM
Image: Beat FM
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

"Waterford's favourite broadcaster" Billy McCarthy has died aged 62 after a short illness.

Mr McCarthy died following a "short illness," local station WLR FM announced on Sunday.

He first presented The Good News Programme on Saturday mornings when WLR was a pirate station from 1983 to 1988, and went on to be the programme director of the station from 1989 to 2014.

In 2003 Mr McCarthy won a PPI Radio Award for Best Current Affairs Programme. His Deise AM programme has been the most listened to radio show in Waterford for the last 27 years.

Managing director Des Whelan said: "Billy was a much loved friend and colleague of all of us here at WLR FM. His untimely death is a huge loss not just to our listeners but to all of us who had the fortune to work with him for many years."

"Billy and I first met when we were teenagers, even at that young age he was always listening to music and practising how to be a radio presenter. 

"He was very proud to have the opportunity to be a part of RTE’s schedule when the national station’s community service first started broadcasting in Waterford in the 1970’s."

"Billy’s friends and colleagues at WLR FM and everyone at the Broadcast Centre are all shocked & deeply saddened by his passing and extend their sincere sympathies to his partner Des O’Keeffe, his mother Kay, his sister Celine, brothers Declan and Ronan and his extended family, relatives and many friends.

"To his listenership, for whom to many, Billy was an integral part of their daily lives."

RTE presenter Will Leahy paid tribute to Mr McCarthy on Twitter: "Great sympathies to the listeners and staff of WLR FM on the loss of Billy McCarthy. Every morning since 1989 - few have such an achievement."

RTE producer Alan Swan also paid tribute, saying: "Local radio loses one of the greats."

Journalist Zara King said on Twitter that she was "heartbroken" by the news.

"The on-air light goes out for a final time. Billy McCarthy has died. A dear friend of mine, heartbroken. Waterford is a much quieter place."

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