D'Arcy was lined up to replace Gerry, says Today FM
Independent radio station Today FM has claimed that Ray D'Arcy was asked to replace Gerry Ryan on 2fm -- before Ryan Tubridy was given the slot.
Ray, who celebrated 10 years of his radio programme with a big party in the Mansion House in Dublin during the week, said: "Yes, I was approached by RTE in the wake of Gerry's death. But I have been approached by them several times down through the years as well."
Today FM boss Willie O'Reilly added: "RTE came a-courting, but Ray decided to stay true and we're delighted. So we're throwing a party to celebrate his show's big birthday."
Ray was stunned when RTE radio boss Clare Duignan and 2fm chief John McMahon turned up on his doorstep to make him an offer to join the station to replace Gerry.
D'Arcy was offered more money but the sticking point was that if he jumped ship to Montrose he insisted he would have to take his own radio crew with him.
He subsequently met Willie O'Reilly and investor Denis O'Brien for coffee to talk over the offer he had received. At the time RTE apparently wanted to keep Ryan Tubridy on Radio One and get Ray in to do the mid-morning slot on 2fm.
A Today FM insider said: "Ray decided to remain at Today FM as he has really enjoyed his time there to date and has built up his audience. He didn't ask Willie or Denis for any extra money, just for a few more days' holidays every year. The main thing he wanted was better conditions for his team, who he really credits with helping the programme work so well. His wife Jenny is also a part of the team. He also wanted a bit more promotion.
"Ray was definitely approached before Ryan Tubridy. He didn't seem particularly surprised as attempts have been made to lure him away from Today FM over the years. But Ray is very easy-going and takes it all in his stride."
And Today FM threw a huge 10th anniversary no-expenses-spared party for him last Thursday, with money men Denis O'Brien and John McColgan attending.
Fellow DJ Ian Dempsey lauded him from the stage, while pop band The Coronas and singer-songwriters Mundy and Declan O'Rourke performed.
But an RTE spokesman last night insisted that Ryan Tubridy was always first choice to replace Gerry. He said: "Sure, we spoke to lots of other people about different slots. You could include Ray in that. But it was always going to be Ryan in the mid-morning slot on 2fm. We thought it was interesting that the day we announced Ryan was taking over, Today FM ran a piece on their news claiming that we had failed to lure Ray away from them."
2fm chief John McMahon recently declared that moves to entice Tubridy back to 2fm had been on the cards since last year.
He said: "When Gerry was there it was a station with one huge star, and I wanted to have three or four huge stars. We then lost our biggest star, but Ryan is no replacement for Gerry. You can't replace Gerry."