Paddy McKenna: Radio head

RTÉ 2fm presenter, Paddy McKenna, knew a career as a crime reporter was not for him when his then bosses, at the Sunday World, suggested he go undercover with a recording device taped to his body to meet a Russian brothel owner.

Paddy McKenna: Radio head

“I said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t do this’. I just didn’t have the neck,” he says.

He switched to broadcasting, appearing on The Den as the news2day reporter, before moving into radio, where he presents Weekenders, with Ruth Scott, on Saturday and Sunday, from 2-5pm. He also fills in on the breakfast show.

Music is a “huge” part of the Drumshanbo native’s life. “I’m in a band, Storyfold. We’re always gigging, but I never stop writing songs. I love doing it — it’s a therapy all of its own.” The band recently recorded its second album.

“I’ve got really high hopes for it. It’s commercial and I definitely think it’s got the potential to suit a lot of what is happening at the minute.”

Aged 31, this month he will marry Cahir woman, Joanne O’Brien. They met when sharing rented accommodation in Dublin. Once they started “courting”, Paddy offered to move out, saying, ‘I don’t want to be living together when we’re only starting to go out’. Four years later, he moved back in.

* Paddy McKenna supports the Samaritans 24/7 Talk to Us campaign, which this year is encouraging men to phone 1850-609090 if they need emotional support.

What shape are you in?

I’m training two or three times a week. I am doing combat training, for the first time in my life, with Primal Mixed Martial Arts. I wanted to do something outside my comfort zone. I also practice Bikram yoga. I am a better person when I exercise.

How do you relax?

You cannot beat the meditation that arrives with running for long distances, or yoga. They are the two places that I find a calm. I never knew until my mid-20s that you could achieve that.

Do you have any health concerns?

I don’t dwell on health at all. I wouldn’t be blasé about it. If I found a lump or a bump, I would get it checked out straight away.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I haven’t had sugar for ten days — I’m on the caveman diet. It’s all about getting your body fat down. I was 18%-19%, I’m trying to get down to 14%.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

A Caramel bar, Tatyo cheese and onion crisps, Milano’s pepperoni pizza with mayonnaise, mixed with a crushed clove of garlic, on the side.

What would keep you awake at night?

Sometimes, when you are on the breakfast show, you’d have the fear of not waking up and that’s the one thing that would keep you awake.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

All my mates, including the lads I’ve grown up with from Drumshanbo. Ruth Scott, Jacqui Hurley, writers Louis Theroux, John Ronson and George RR Martin. And Alex Turner, from the Arctic Monkeys — he’d be a bit of craic.

What is your favourite smell?

I really like the smell of petrol. It reminds me of being in the backseat of the car, as a kid, on holidays and pulling into some tiny French town. I don’t sniff petrol or any other solvents.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

I’m 5ft 9½in, the half being crucial. I’m average height. There is no point in thinking about it.

When did you last cry?

I don’t cry a lot. As an adult, almost never. But a friend of mine passed away a few years ago and I cried then. As you get older, you find it more difficult to cope with people you know passing away.

What trait do you least like in others?

I dislike anyone who is underhanded, sneaky, dishonest. I can’t understand why people act that way.

What trait do you least like in yourself?

I wish I could be more present, at times. I forget to ring my mother. I disappear into my own world. I’d be so concentrated on something, I forget there is a world outside there at all. Another really bad habit is playing on the phone and I’m really trying to wean myself off Twitter and Facebook. I’ve a very addictive personality.

Do you pray?

Not as much as I did — I was raised a Catholic. I like mass — the ceremony and the ritual. It’s like running and yoga, you have a connection with something else. But the institution has a lot to answer for.

What would cheer up your day?

A Caramel and Tayto crisps.

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