He wouldn't take Ray D'Arcy back, but Today FM boss says he tried to make DJ change his mind about RTE move
Today FM boss Peter McPartlin has revealed he tried to make Ray D'Arcy change his mind about defecting from Today FM to RTE.
Speaking to the Irish Daily Mirror, he said, "It'd be unfair to say we didn't ask him to stay because we absolutely did.
"Ray is a really good broadcaster and we were sorry to see him go but it was clear he wanted to do something different."
Ray (50) had helmed the hugely successful Ray D'Arcy Show on weekday mornings on Today FM since 2000 and had been pulling more than 215,000 listeners when he left for Derek Mooney's old slot on RTE Radio 1.
D'Arcy left the state broadcaster to helm his own radio show at Today FM in 2000, having spent 13 years presenting mainly children's TV programmes at RTE.
These included Jo Maxi, Blackboard Jungle, 2Phat and The Den, the children's afternoon show he took over from Ian Dempsey and presented for eight years.
McPartlin said he believed the opportunity to return to TV was a major factor in Ray's decision, and that the new head of TV at RTE was instrumental in convincing him to move.
He added, "It was a huge shock and I'd say even RTE were probably surprised in the end he did actually move but, like all these things, it creates an opportunity and the thing now is to make the most of that."
He also said he would not take Ray back to the station and said, "I think he understands everybody has a time in their life and he had that particular time and now it's time for Today FM to move on."
Anton Savage now fills Ray's old slot. McPartlin said a loss of listeners was inevitable given the loyal following Ray commanded in the slot. However, he said he hoped Anton would build a new audience.
Ray's wife Jenny Kelly had left her job as producer on The Ray D'Arcy Show in June last year after almost 14 years working alongside her husband.
Jenny cited the desire to spend more time with her children as her reason for leaving. Given this and the departure of Mairead Farrell, McPartlin added that he "shouldn't have been surprised" that Ray left too.