Monday 18 December 2017

'His enthusiasm buoyed you up and made you feel like a rock star' - friends and fans pay tribute to Today FM's Tony Fenton on first anniversary

Tony Fenton at work in Today FM
Tony Fenton at work in Today FM
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Friends, colleagues, and fans paid tribute to the late, great Tony Fenton on a special tribute show on Today FM on Friday.

Louise Duffy, who took over the slot after Tony’s death, presented the special show from the balcony of Today FM which marked the first anniversary of the legendary presenter’s death.

The 53-year-old died on March 11 last year after a five-year battle with cancer.

He had fronted his award-winning show with Today FM since 2004, having previously worked at RTE for 18 years.

Tony (whose real name was Anthony Fagan) grew up in Glasnevin and began his career with a mobile disco with [former 2fm DJ turned pilot] Barry Lang and [fellow Today FM DJ] Ian Dempsey.

Speaking on the tribute show, Ian Dempsey revealed he had known Tony since they were teenagers.

“I knew him from the days around Glasnevin and Ballymum, growing up where Bono used to live,” he said.

“Back in the day I was a bit of a boot boy.  I used to wear tank tops when they were in and my dad didn’t know what the hell he was going to do with me.  Then I discovered wooly jumpers on The Den.  I used to be standing outside the shops and Tony would be going by and I’d be eyeing him up.”

Both Ian and Tony started out working together in pirate radio.

“Myself and Tony used to spend a lot of time working on programmes, enjoying the whole thing, new music and great memories.  We both worked for RTE for a while and then came to the wonderful, fabulous Today FM, the spiritual home of Tony Fenton and hopefully myself.”

Fellow Today Fm presenter Paul McLoone was also in studio to remember his late colleague.

“ He was a very, very funny man,” he said.  “You’d look forward to coming in to work, look forward to Tony coming in and getting the craic going.

“It was entertainment in itself just to sit around the same desk as Tony.  He was a funny, funny, warm, beautiful man.

“Long before Today FM we ended up back in his gaff and had a pop quiz and it was me and him and a few other people, there were a few drinks on board.  He loved that stuff.  He genuinely lived and breathed music.  It was his passion in life. He wore it on his sleeve and wore it brilliantly.  He was a fountain of knowledge.”

Mario Rosentock revealed that Tony taught him to stand up whenever a woman joined the table and also instructed him in how to eat muscles.

“He taught me how to eat mussels!” he said, “He said, ‘Dude, don’t use the fork, use one mussel to get the other mussel out.’”

Belfast band Bell X1 were on hand to perform four tracks including their new single Upswing.

Lead singer Paul Noonan said Tony had offered the band massive support throughout their career.

“He was just incredibly enthusiastic and really I think we built up an incredible audience from him playing our records and us coming in and doing interesting covers,” he said.

“He was really into doing that.  His enthusiasm buoyed you up and made you feel like a rock star.”

Fans took to Twitter to show their support and share their memories using the hashtag #TheDude.

You can listen back to the podcast of the show on

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