This much I know: Ray D’Arcy

I HAVE never considered myself to be ambitious.

I’m more motivated by other people’s incompetence.

I never had a burning desire to be famous. There was a brief dalliance with the priesthood when I was seven, and then from the age of ten until I left school I wanted to be a doctor but I didn’t get the points in my Leaving Cert. When I was around 15, I started doing discos and pirate-radio work and that’s what started my parallel ambition to be on the radio.

My earliest memory is of writing the letters of the alphabet with my grandmother. I must have been three-and-a-half, she lived across the green from our house and helped to mind us. That, and feeling completely dwarfed by a chest of drawers on my first day at school.

My first paid job was as a paper boy in Kildare at the age of nine. I got paid £2.25 a week.

I do believe in fate and in surrendering oneself to things. When I didn’t get into medicine, I thought I’d do communications. But I didn’t have the requisite honour in English, so I ended up doing psychology instead. One of my teachers encouraged me by saying I had a ‘great understanding of the human condition’. Flattery can be a dangerous thing.

I don’t miss Zig and Zag. We were together for eight years and I enjoyed every minute of it, but it’s unhealthy to be sobbing over something that is in the past.

I get up at 5.45 every week day for 40 weeks of the year. It’s not so bad — Ian Dempsey has to get up even earlier. I’ve usually left the office by 3 or 4pm, having done my eight-hour day.

I’ve got a lot better at having some work-life balance. It used to be all work. I couldn’t say no to anything as I was afraid someone else would get all my work if I started turning things down. But having a family changes your priorities. It has taken the emphasis off myself and made me focus on my daughter. She is four-and-a-half. I now see the future through her eyes — which is a great thing — and I can’t believe how much joy she brings me.

I am health-conscious, eat well and go running regularly. Although, I did have two bags of crisps last night. Wild, eh?

I’ve no interest in getting into politics. I like to think that the people who run the country are a lot more capable than I am. I do believe we need massive changes in our society and in the way we conduct our business and organise our administration. There has been too much diffused responsibility over the last few decades.

Music is still an important part of my life. We playlist our own show, so I’m always searching for new things to play for our audience. We were one of the first shows to rave about Mumford and Sons.

I love it when I discover someone like that.

I didn’t get to do what I wanted in my career until I was 36. I got into television first, when my real dream was to work in radio. My advice for anyone who wants to get into broadcasting is — don’t. Well, not if you think there is some kind of holy grail of celebrity. It involves a lot of effort and hard work and rejection.

The most important trait for being a successful broadcaster is to simply be yourself. Of course, if you are not very likeable, you could be in trouble. Being a good listener and being able to go with the flow during an interview are also essential.


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