I thought it might be good to be a sports commentator. I got a job answering the phones at night at a pirate radio called Big D with DJs like Dave Fanning and Smiley Bolger. One night, one of the DJs didn’t show up for his shift. The guy who was on before him had to leave for his day job and said ‘you have a go’. It was very frightening. But that’s how I got the bug.
I’ve interviewed a lot of people who have had to deal with really difficult things. They often tell me that it was harder on the people around them to deal with the situation than it was on themselves. I know what they mean.
When my wife Jenny became sick a couple of years ago she was a hero. She coped by stepping outside of herself. But I felt completely helpless. I had to put my trust in the skills of one person to enable another person to live. I was glad I had some type of faith.
We kept it out of the press for as long as we could until one of the papers revealed that she’d had a brain tumour. It wasn’t until after we got married that she decided to speak about it in a magazine.
I love being on radio in the morning when people are starting their day. I might be a bit of a night owl — you could put it down to my years deejaying in clubs — but morning is definitely my favourite time to be on radio.
After ten years I’m not on breakfast radio on Today FM any more. I wasn’t happy about stepping out of the show, as you like to make those choices yourself and it wasn’t my decision, but I’m not going to be egotistical about it. I understand that they need to give other talent a chance to develop.
I’m definitely more laid back now than I was 15 or 20 years ago. I do believe that everything happens for a reason, even very bad things. And I believe in being positive.
It’s hard to say if I love television or radio more, but the advantage of radio is you don’t have to wear the makeup. I say that as someone who’s gone through 14 years of having to be sandy beige.
I’ve had to learn how to leave work outside the door when I park the car in the drive. Home is supposed to be a sanctuary. It’s time to stop and focus on the people around me.
When I started doing the weather, I was sent off to Met Eireann to get a lay man’s education on how it works. TV3 were clear that they wanted my slot to be an entertainment, as well as an information piece. If I ever have a problem I can always get on to the meteorology experts.
If I could change one thing in our society, I’d like to see a return to old values, like simple good manners.
I’m from Edenmore near Raheny in Dublin and when I started out in radio it was a bad thing to have an accent, so I tried doing this mid-Atlantic voice on air. The best advice I ever got, and my top tip to anyone else, is to always be yourself — and so I gave up my phoney voice. If you are focussing too much on how you sound then you won’t be able to do the job properly.
So far, life has taught me to take nothing, and no-one, for granted.
Martin King presents TV3’s Morning Show with Sybil Mulcahy.