Waterford radio star Billy McCarthy has died following a “short and sudden illness”, local station WLR FM announced today.
He first presented The Good News Programme on Saturday mornings when WLR was a ‘pirate’ station from 1983 to 1988, before becoming programme director of the station from 1989 to 2014.
Managing director at the station, Des Whelan, said: “Billy was a much loved friend and colleague of all of us here at WLR FM.
“His untimely death is a huge loss not just to our listeners but to all of us who had the fortune to work with him for many years”.
His Deise AM programme has consistently been the most listened to radio show in Waterford for the last 27 years.
He also won a national PPI Radio Award for Best Current Affairs Programme in 2003.
Mr Whelan added “Billy and I first met when we were teenagers, even at that young age he was always listening to music and practising how to be a radio presenter.
“He was very proud to have the opportunity to be a part of RTE’s schedule when the national station’s community service first started broadcasting in Waterford in the 1970’s.
“Billy’s friends and colleagues at WLR FM and everyone at the Broadcast Centre are all shocked & deeply saddened by his passing and extend their sincere sympathies to his partner Des O’Keeffe, his mother Kay, his sister Celine, brothers Declan and Ronan and his extended family, relatives and many friends. To his listenership, for whom to many, Billy was an integral part of their daily lives”.
Programme Director Michael Byrne who worked closely with Billy said “this is a huge loss for his partner Des, his family and all his friends at the station; he was a brilliant colleague and an even better friend.
“He had great passion for radio, he loved Waterford and most of all loved broadcasting to Waterford and beyond every morning. I’ll miss him very much.”
A special programme to remember Billy McCarthy will be broadcast on WLR FM on Monday Nov 21st from 10am – midday and online via www.wlrfm.com.