| 9.8°C Dublin

‘My biggest competition on morning radio is from my god-daughter Doireann Garrihy on 2FM’, says Ian Dempsey

Close

Friends: Ian Dempsey met Doireann’s parents on their honeymoon in the Canaries. Photo: Damien Eagers

Friends: Ian Dempsey met Doireann’s parents on their honeymoon in the Canaries. Photo: Damien Eagers

Friends: Ian Dempsey met Doireann’s parents on their honeymoon in the Canaries. Photo: Damien Eagers

Ian Dempsey says he is delighted the biggest rival to his Today FM breakfast show is the one his god-daughter Doireann Garrihy co-hosts on RTÉ 2FM.

He said it is a huge source of amusement that the 28-year-old, whose 2FM show with Eoghan McDermott is on from 6am-9am, is his toughest competitor when it comes to the light-entertainment morning market.

“We have a really healthy listenership but there’s always somebody biting at your ankles and wanting to get in there,” Dempsey told the Irish Independent.

“I don’t really hear any other breakfast shows live because I’m on the air at the time. But I have my god-daughter Doireann Garrihy over on 2FM. We’re very good friends with her parents, Eugene and Clare.

“We met them on their honeymoon in The Canaries. They’re a great family and they’re very down to earth. They’re fantastic.

“But we have a good laugh about it because it’s kind of a weird situation that you’re competing with your god-daughter and you’re trying to be as professional about it as possible but family is family.”

Close

Doireann Garrihy, Dempsey’s rival and his god-daughter. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Doireann Garrihy, Dempsey’s rival and his god-daughter. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Doireann Garrihy, Dempsey’s rival and his god-daughter. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Dempsey managed to grow his listenership by 11,000 during lockdown, now standing at 179,000, and said it has been an honour to help keep the nation’s spirits up during the pandemic.

He recently celebrated his milestone 60th birthday with a quiet celebration at his Sutton home with his wife Ger and their three children.

Video of the Day

Had it not been for the pandemic, he said he would have loved to have thrown a party at his favourite restaurant in Howth, Co Dublin.

Dempsey said it has also been a dream of his to visit Nashville and Graceland, the Memphis home of Elvis Presley.

But the award-winning presenter, who has been with Today FM since 1998, said he has no notion of considering slowing down or hanging up his mic anytime soon despite entering a new decade.

His 7am to 9am show has also kept its same sponsorship deal with Renault for the past 10 years – no small feat in these lean times.

“No, I don’t think people retire any more, especially if they love their job,” he said.

“I adore what I do. I still jump out of bed in the morning.

"I still have the energy to do it – I still enjoy it and get a good reaction.

“I’m quite happy to keep going as long as they’ll have me.”

He said Lucy Gaffney, who is the chairperson of Today FM owners Communicorp, “said I’ll be brought out of there in a box. It’s reassuring and morbid at the same time”.

He originally started with RTÉ in 1980, fronting its weekend radio breakfast show for a while and he presented popular children’s TV show Dempsey’s Den.

He has no regrets about leaving the national broadcaster for Today FM, even when he sees the big earnings of his former colleague Ray D’Arcy, who was second on the top ten earners list last month on €450,000 annually.

“Well, unfortunately, their wages are published whereas mine isn’t,” he said, so no-one can find out what he earns.

“At the same time I don’t blame any of those guys for getting the best deal.

“If you want to talk to somebody, talk to the head of finance – they’re the ones who did the deal.

“If someone came up to me and said, ‘Do you want €495,000 for doing something?’ I would say, ‘OK, thanks very much.’

“And they’re bringing in huge sponsorship. They’re bringing in huge advertising. They’re doing these shows and they have unique talents so I wouldn’t bemoan that at all.

Entertainment Newsletter

Film and book reviews, music features and the best of TV and theatre, straight to your inbox.

This field is required

“Obviously you can see other people probably working harder for a lower fee but that’s the way of the world. Things aren’t always equitable.”


Most Watched





Privacy