This much I know: Matt Cooper

I’m addicted to twitter. Great source of news and witty comment.

I don’t find live radio stressful, now that I’m used to it. I can control the adrenaline rush I used to get when I started and which led to an enormous crash in energy after the programme.

Democracy is the worst form of government until you consider the alternatives. It’s the old Winston Churchill line. Or do we want a Chinese-style politburo of appointed men? I don’t think so.

I’d love to see a more positive attitude towards changing things quickly in our society. We’re in a crisis and I appreciate that people are suffering great financial and social difficulty, but complaining isn’t going to change anything. I’m not into false optimism, but I believe in trying to do things, even if, at a local level, to make communities happier places to live.

I wanted to be a journalist since I was in primary school at Saint Joseph’s on the Mardyke in Cork, writing ‘news reports’ for my English exercises or playing at hosting on a ‘radio station’ with two of my friends behind the oil tanker in the school yard.

I’m not sure he’ll appreciate this, but Jim Corr may have been the most entertaining guest so far, albeit unintentionally, when he came into studio to discuss the plot to create a one-world currency and the false-flag operation that was behind the 9/11 attacks. I thought he was winding me up for a joke until I realised he was dead serious. It made for great radio and here’s the thing: many of his ideas, which others described as crackpot, don’t seem as zany any more (at least on the financial parts).

I would suspect there is conscious life on other planets. Why not? It would be rather arrogant of us to believe that life could only have happened here on Earth.

My most disastrous on-air moment was when my studio lights went off as I went to the news, signifying that my mic was dead. The newsreader wasn’t in his booth to be heard. I started complaining to my producer, using blue language ... my mic was open and it all went out live on air.

I’m pretty health-conscious — that’s my main reason for training hard, and for drinking very little alcohol these days. I weight train in the gym twice a week, run regularly and have taken with gusto to the exercise bike in advance of buying a proper bike. I’ll run a series of 10kms over the next few months and aim to do a triathlon during the summer..

I quit as editor of The Sunday Tribune ten years ago when I was offered to present The Last Word full-time. I had some experience as a television presenter (on RTÉ’s Marketplace, which nobody has any recollection of ever seeing me on) and in covering the enormous holiday leave of Eamon Dunphy on Today FM. I had loved my editing role but I would have wondered what might have been had I not tested myself to see how I would do as a broadcaster.

It was almost a disaster. The ratings fell and it looked like I might lose the gig. But I worked at creating a new style for the programme and changed my own style to be more inquisitive and questioning, rather showing how much research I had done to prepare my questions. Fortunately, it worked in time.

My late mother was from Belfast and every summer we used to go north. One of my earliest memories is when I was about three, being picked up by my mother standing outside of my grandmother’s as British soldiers started trampling all over the garden, doing the type of searches that were common in West Belfast in the early years of ‘the Troubles’.

If I won the Lotto, I’d buy the house with the extra bedrooms I need for all my children. I loved growing up in Cork, but I had to go to Dublin for work reasons. I’m now very settled there and couldn’t see myself leaving. But I still support Cork over Dublin in football and hurling and Munster over Leinster in rugby. Some things are in the blood!

Join Matt Cooper on The Last Word 4:30pm — 7pm, Monday to Friday on Today FM.


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