Entertainment Radio

Tuesday 15 October 2019

'Nobody knew how to live life so brilliantly' - Today FM pay emotional tribute to the late Tony Fenton

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Today FM personalities paid an emotional tribute to the late Tony Fenton this evening.

The 53-year-old much-loved presenter had been battling prostate cancer since 2010 and passed away last night in St Vincent's Hospital.

Ian Dempsey, Mario Rosenstock and CEO of the radio station Peter McPartlin all paid tribute to their much loved colleague and friend.

Speaking on the lunchtime news on Today FM, Tony’s long-time friend Ian Dempsey spoke about when the legendary DJ joined the station: “One of the proudest moments for me was when we were in Abbey Street with Today FM.

DJ Tony Fenton is photographed presenting Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland and Beyonce Knowles, members of 'Destiny's Child' with an award to celebrate their album reaching double platinum sales in Ireland.
DJ Tony Fenton is photographed presenting Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland and Beyonce Knowles, members of 'Destiny's Child' with an award to celebrate their album reaching double platinum sales in Ireland.

"I came in one day to find that the entire building had been covered with one of those big huge signs, which said ‘Today FM, the new home of Tony Fenton”.

Read more here: Tony Fenton's last interview: Cancer 'doesn't define me, or stop me from wanting to broadcast' 

Gift Grub’s Mario Rosenstock said that “nobody knew how to live life so brilliantly”.

This evening’s The Last Word was also a special tribute to Tony with guests from the musical world including Sharon Corr, Aslan’s Billy McGuinness, Joe Elliott, Dave Fanning, Paul Brady and Lisa Hannigan.

Tony Fenton. Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
Tony Fenton. Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
Tony Fenton

Matt Cooper started the show with Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street” which was “Tony’s anthem” according to Ian.

Tony's former colleague Ray D'Arcy has paid an emotional on-air tribute to the late Tony Fenton.

Chosen by a group of their peers in the Irish radio industry, the inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame ranged from national to local radio broadcasters, all of whom are highly respected for their skill, passion for their jobs and their love for radio. The 2014 Hall of Fame inductees were pictured here, from left, Aine Lawlor, RTE Radio , Walter Love, BBC Radio Ulster, Paul Claffey, Mid West Radio, and Tony Fenton Today FM.
Chosen by a group of their peers in the Irish radio industry, the inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame ranged from national to local radio broadcasters, all of whom are highly respected for their skill, passion for their jobs and their love for radio. The 2014 Hall of Fame inductees were pictured here, from left, Aine Lawlor, RTE Radio , Walter Love, BBC Radio Ulster, Paul Claffey, Mid West Radio, and Tony Fenton Today FM.
Tony Fenton is inducted into the PPI Radio Awards Hall of Fame

The pair worked together for Today FM for many years and their friendship goes back more than two decades.

D'Arcy mentioned Tony at the start of his afternoon programme on RTE Radio One earlier today - several hours after his death was confirmed.

Read more here: Today FM presenter Tony Fenton has died following cancer battle 

"Very sad the news about Tony Fenton," he said at the start of the 'Ray D'Arcy Show'.

"I knew Tony for over 25 years - 'The Tones The Tones, Tony Fentoni'," Ray told listeners.

"We use the word 'legend' an awful lot but Tony Fenton was a true legend. He was the real deal, a real DJ, a real disc jockey.

"Others would change their persona when the red light came on... Tony lived that life. That was him.

Read more here: 'We'll miss you dearly dude' - Tony Fenton's Today FM colleagues pay tribute to the legendary presenter

"He was an amazing larger than life character," the broadcaster said.

Ray then related a story to viewers about Tony's sense of humour.

"I remember going to his 30th birthday party which would be 23 years ago now... and it was up in one of those hotels on the Stillorgan dual carriageway here, and Aslan were playing [at it] as they had connections.

Read more here: Tony Fenton: Former colleagues at RTÉ bemoan the loss of 'true radio pioneer' 

"And on the invitation, because he had printed up invitations, in capital letters were K.I.T.A.S.B. I couldn't figure it out at all. So I arrived up and in complete Tony fashion, you got your picture taken with you and him with a professional photographer. And I said Tony what does 'K.I.T.A.S.B.' mean and he said and he said 'Keep It Tight And Sound Butch'," laughed Ray.

Ray spoke about Tony's fondness for cockney rhyming slang such as "let's go for some creamy dreamies" or "let's get the flock out of here".

"He was just an amazing guy," he continued.

Read more here: Blog: 'For more than one generation of music-mad kids, Tony Fenton was one of the key voices' 

He paid tribute to Tony's strength and courage in the face of cancer, a disease which he had fought for some time.

"He's been battling cancer for a number of years now. Anybody else, I think me included, would have just said 'ah that's it, it has me, I'm gone'.

"But Tony kept saying 'I'm coming back, I'm coming back. I'll be back on air' and that's what kept him going and kept him alive.

"The energy he got from talking to people and playing music because that was his life. He was one of those guys who loved life. I know we all love life sort of but Tony just loved it. He loved every moment of it and he savoured every moment of it. To see him unwell, it was just shattering," he said.

Read more here:  

Ray then played Aretha Franklin's 'Say A Little Prayer' in dedication to Tony.

"So Tony, we'll always remember you.

"Tony, the man who loved life. He loved music. He just loved music and whenever he was asked what his favourite song of all time was, he would say 'ah, it depends on what day it is'. He always came back with this - I heard him say that this was his favourite song.

"So Tony Fenton. RIP. The great disco in the guy. We dedicate this to you."

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