- 02 Apr 01
When Pat Kenny steps before the cameras every Saturday, he attracts an audience-rating which is increasingly likely to threaten the long-standing supremacy of The Late Late Show in Irish broadcasting. But despite his popularity, the host of Kenny Live remains something of an enigma. In the first part of a wide-ranging interview he talks about everything from his first kiss to, well, the meaning of life. Interview: Niall Stokes
Gay Byrne is clearly Ireland's most powerful broadcaster - but in 1993 in terms of pervasiveness and influence, Pat Kenny is not very far behind at all. Indeed, given that he is fifteen years younger than the host of the Late Late Show, it is quite conceivable that Kenny may yet surpass the extraordinary level of success achieved by the man who has at times brilliantly defined the terms of Irish broadcasting for the past 30 years.
If so, it will be a result of a markedly different set of virtues - and values. An engineer by training, with a third level education under his belt, Pat Kenny is highly intelligent, reflective and analytical, qualities which saw him naturally gravitate towards the current affairs side of radio and television. He was a long-standing regular on RTE's anchor television political programme Today Tonight, while also holding down a regular daily radio slot for the bulk of the working year.
But Pat Kenny was a product of the '60s, with a passionate interest in music, honed in the folk clubs of Dublin, where he performed his own songs alongside contemporaries like Brendan Grace, Clannad, Triona and Micheál O'Domhnaill and dozens of other less well-known and less successful aspirants. Having established his credentials on RTE 1, he was a natural for 2FM therefore when the national music channel opened, presenting The Outside Track on Saturday afternoons - a discerning blend of album reviews and credible music that has never been adequately replaced following its departure from the schedule in the early '80s.