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Hi. I'm Tony Fenton
Tony Fenton is a larger than life figure. One of Ireland’s most experienced and widely liked DJs, he currently occupies the early afternoon slot on Today FM, where he attracts an impressive audience. Behind the mic, he is full of braggadocio – but off-air he is a different character entirely. So what really makes the Northside Dubliner tick?
Olaf Tyaransen, 29 Jun 2011
Every radio DJ says they wanted to be a DJ from a very young age.
We had these discussions when we were growing up – with Ian (Dempsey) and the boys. Listening to Radio Luxemburg under the pillow, my dad banging on the walls, so under the pillow it went. It was a magical sound. Because the sound would go out in waves then come back in again. That was just magical for me; it was theatre of the mind, radio. You were conjuring up images of what it was like in the studio far away in Luxemburg and what they were getting up to. It really kicked in when I was in Curracloe on a summer holiday. Two weeks down there. I went to my very first disco, when I was about 12 or 13. Literally standing beside the DJ, watching him put the needle on the record. And people dancing, and that reaction. I just went, “Wow!”
Did you always talk a lot?
Ha! There’s probably some kids who’d say I was quiet or whatever, but I had my group of friends. I was very sociable, I got stuck into all the soccer matches. Played football with Home Farm, played with Ronnie Whelan, when I was around 10, 11, 12. You couldn’t play soccer at school unless you played Gaelic so I did. A lot of outdoor activities. We used to head down to Ballygall to meet the girls.
What age were you when you lost your virginity?
I was 16. It was probably late compared with a couple of the guys that I was hanging around with (laughs).
Was the prospect of picking up girls a big part of what attracted you to becoming a DJ?
Not really. We did these gigs in the De La Salle school in Finglas, Barry (Lang) and myself, and it was just astonishing. The front four rows were just girls screaming looking for the next song. At that stage we just hadn’t met girls. You know, socially, we’d probably be a bit shy and not know what to say. So this was great for our egos. Still when you’d meet a girl that you kinda fancied, the shyness would kick back in again. But music was always first. I loved everything from Bowie and T.Rex, the glam rock-era. I loved all the soul stuff that came out of America as well – Marvin Gaye and The Temptations and all that kind of stuff, the Motown-era. Brilliant stuff.