'He had more listeners than the rest of us combined' - Gay Byrne pays homage to long-term friend Terry Wogan
Broadcaster Gay Byrne has paid an extraordinary homage to his long-term friend Terry Wogan, saying the 77-year-old, who passed away on Sunday, was among the most popular radio hosts in Europe.
The country’s most senior broadcaster said that, in his time, Mr Wogan’s popular morning show had “more listeners than the rest of us combined”.
Speaking this morning on RTÉ Radio One and 2fm following the news of the 77-year-old’s passing, Gay was among the first to pay tribute.
“He had that sardonic, slightly mad, slightly bizarre sense of humour, and that often came out of him all the time,” he told the Dave Fanning Show.
He continued, later telling Miriam O'Callaghan that the former RTÉ and BBC presenter was “born with a sunny disposition".
“He was renowned for his sense of humour.
“He saw the fun in everything and this is a huge gift to have
"He always expected the best, and usually got it.”
Speaking about Mr Wogan’s career, Gay said the radio icon’s move to the BBC had come after a long stint with RTÉ.
“He didn’t just decide he would have a go… an opportunity came up and he started traveling from here and there. People forget he was back and forth for quite awhile.
“Eventually he made the move when he got a great offer.”
Gay continued: “He had a lovely voice that produced a lovely sound… [and] it started there because people found it attractive to listen to.
“They just liked his laid back throw away easy come easy go approach – it was quite as easy come easy go as he made it out to be but that’s part of the act.
“He had more listens then the rest of us combined… the point I make about him all the time is that he was probably the most popular and listened to broadcaster in Europe.
“Because his morning programme went out across Europe, we tend to forget that he had listeners right across that vast continent.
“So I don’t know what his total listenership but it would have been massive.”