It’s been an interesting few months for Ray D’Arcy.
While his radio programme has soared in the year-on-year ratings, there have been various reports his Saturday night chat show will not be returning later this year.
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Then there is his alleged rivalry with Tommy Tiernan, whose own show has been earning warm reviews in the slot occupied until recently by D’Arcy.
Both of those stories are “contrivances”, D’Arcy says.
“The (TV) show is coming back for another year in the autumn. We finished up well this year, the ratings were good. We have been knocking it out of the park. Our share was very good.”
There is no rivalry with Tiernan, he says. “I completely wish him well. I know how this business works. When you’ve a new season you get promo-ed to hell and you get a lot of attention. Tommy is a national institution and he can sell out 100 gigs in Vicar Street – he is a completely different being to me as a broadcaster. If he is a big hit, we were a big hit too.”
Although other stalwarts of the Saturday night slot, including Ryan Tubridy and Pat Kenny, have gone on to host The Late Late Show, D’Arcy says this is not something he wants for himself: “No I wouldn’t want that. I think there has been a gentle but seismic change in television viewing. The time when you had a million people sat in on a Friday night is gone. People are watching Netflix now.”
He finds the annual parlour game of tutting over presenter’s salaries a little uncomfortable. “No more than anyone I’d prefer that people didn’t know what I was earning. No more than anyone I find that a bit uncomfortable and embarrassing. But at the same time, we work for a State broadcaster and people pay their licence fee, so they’re entitled to know.”
The veteran broadcaster, who earns €400,000, started in radio and TV three decades ago, moving from RTE, where he made his name presenting The Den, to Today FM, and back again.
Despite his longevity in the business, he admits he feels insecure. “I’ve been on a contract since I was 23, so it’s part of my life. It doesn’t suit my personality. I’m a born worrier, I used to get physically sick when I was a kid before Christmas in case Santa didn’t come. But somehow I make it work.
“I’m the king of self-doubt and that permeates through every part of my life. It’s part of who I am, it’s a constant.”
One of D’Arcy’s weapons in managing anxiety is running, he says. “I run five or six times a week. I should be able to articulate what is so special but I can just say that the world looks better after a run.”
As part of his radio programme, Ray will embark on a ‘Run With Ray’ campaign, in which he encourages communities to get active and joins runners on the starting line at various locations. Run with Ray runs for five days from June 10. For more details, tune into The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTE Radio 1, weekdays from 3pm.
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