WLR FM managing director Des Whelan led tributes to the 62-year-old.
“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”.
Mr McCarthy first presented The Good News Programme on Saturday mornings on the then WLR pirate station from 1983 to 1988. On obtaining a licence, he took over Deise AM from 10am-midday in December 1989.
Mr McCarthy was also programme director of WLR from 1989 to 2014.
Deise AM has consistently been the most listened to radio show in Waterford for the last 27 years. In 2003, Mr McCarthy won a much coveted national PPI Radio Award for Best Current Affairs Programme.
Mr Whelan said he first met Billy McCarthy when they were just teenagers with a passion for music.
“Even at that young age he was always listening to music and practising how to be a radio presenter.
“Billy’s friends and colleagues at WLR FM and everyone at the Broadcast Centre are all shocked and 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”.