'I've worked on Ray's show for pretty much eight years. I suppose it's kind of clichéd, but I don't have a brother, and Ray has always minded me a little bit and he's been great at career advice. He's a close friend now – him and Jenny [Kelly, his partner who works on the show]. I go over to their house and we have sleepovers and we went on holidays together last year. We naturally get along and that's the way with all of us on the show. From the time that I started working with him, there's always been that buzz – I like Ray, he likes me, I get on with Jenny. It's just like a brotherly thing and there are times when he wrecks my head – that's just what it's like because there are days when I get on Ray's nerves and he gets on mine. We don't fall into our 'roles' when we're on-air; it's just the way we are. Sometimes after the show, I'll think, "Should I have said that" when I've been slagging him and giving him a bit of a hard time, but that's the nice thing about it. I wouldn't say anything to him off-air that I wouldn't say to him on-air.
Radio was something I thought you were lucky to do. I never thought I'd go and do it, and that's why I didn't think of going to Ballyfermot College until I was 21. Before that I was a bit confused. I finished school quite young; I'd just turned 17, and I went to college and started a human resources degree. I hate it. I lasted one year.
I did lots of things before Ballyfermot – I worked in Arnotts, and in a nightclub – and then my mum got really sick with cancer and was told she only had a few months to live. I was the only one living at home at the time so I gave up work and only worked part time. During that time we had loads of chats and mum was saying, "What do you want to do?" and I said, "I'd love to do radio." I was actually called for interview at Ballyfermot the day of mum's funeral.
It's a three-hour live radio show so it's really busy. There are times when you feel the pressure. There are weeks when you're so exhausted, but we absolutely have the craic. I'm so lucky with my job. I think I have the best of both worlds, with the show and the telly stuff, doing The Panel on RTé.
I wouldn't like my own show and I've openly said this. I don't have the strength to do my own radio show. I'm a sidekick and that's all I think I'll ever be, and I enjoy doing that. To have your own show, as Ray does, is huge pressure. With the Ray D'Arcy Show, I'm associated with it but it's not my name out there, so I don't take any flak.
'So much has happened since I started working with Gerry back in 2003. I've grown up on that show. I was single when I started and I've gotten engaged, married and had a baby during my time there. Those seven years have been an amazing experience. I always say to people if you want to be a broadcaster try and get even a week's experience with The Gerry Ryan Show because he is the most amazing producer, like Gay Byrne, who I've been very fortunate to work with as well. They have such high standards. It's both brilliant and nerve-wracking. But they'll teach you how to tell a story and how to make it entertaining.
We also work well together and in a way that fits the show. We're part of a small team of people that have worked together for years and know each other outside of work. I think we bring that on-air and because he's such a chancer and a messer, you know he could blurt something out and I'll end up slagging him back, so it's great fun. He's like a cheeky older brother. I love being on-air with him. I always come out on a great high. He still makes me laugh, which, after seven years, I think is very good. Plus, as his sidekick, I'm kind of playing a few roles. I'm the listener's representative who gets to ask him questions on-air that the listeners are dying to ask and I'm also there to help him perform. Sometimes that means bringing him onto a topic that was really funny that morning in the office and he may have forgotten about it, so I'll remind him. Then there's also the fact that three hours is a very long stint on-air so I'm like a friend who drops in for a chat and lets him change gear or relax for a little while.
I'm on maternity leave at the moment, but I tune into the show most days and after all this time it still fascinates me how much Gerry's listeners adore him, particularly his core female audience. When they meet you it's like you're a messenger from the Messiah. They ask everything about him and how his kids are doing. I'm flabbergasted when they seem to know more about him than we do.
'I'm on air with The Mooney Show between three and 4.30, four days a week. They do the wildlife show on Fridays. My expertise on that kind of thing falls seriously short so I go out and record an interview or follow up on a story instead. Then the odd day between Monday and Thursday I could be out of the studio as well doing a live report, like a mad house party or something.
Derek's very easy to work with because he allows other people to flourish as well and loves the banter and the chat. He doesn't feel it has to be all him on The Mooney Show. He's very much about everyone digging in and chatting. It's a very engaging show. I love the fact that it has a 'sit down, put the kettle on and have a chat' vibe about it, rather than a 'we have to move on to our next item immediately and stick to the script' set-up.
The way we work, the show is quite fluid and very relaxed and I think the audience responds well to that. We always try to come up with stuff that fits the listeners, whether it's an item on multi-tasking or a mad report on leprechaun hunting to put a smile on people's faces. Myself and Derek were good buddies before I started the show and as a mix we work well together.
I swear to God, the show is just flying. In fairness to Derek he knows a good story and he's really passionate about what he does. Of course there are times where you do a show and it's a disaster because it's come across wrong, or hits the wrong tone, but in general the show really connects with the audience. Even if I didn't work on the show, I'd still be a fan.
At the moment I'm filling in for Derek quite a bit. It's a very specific skill set being the anchor rather than the other voice but I really enjoy doing both. I've done TV, and I love to dip in and out of that. As cheesy as it sounds, I always find that radio is like an old sweet-heart; you just keep going back to it. ?
'Ray and I have been best mates for nine years and that's how we interact on the show. We try to go on-air without really acting up our 'roles' or being people we're not. We try to make it as real as possible, and it may sound deeply insincere to a lot of people – maybe if you don't listen a lot you'll think, 'God you don't take anything seriously' – but it's pretty much how we are. We are that obnoxious off-air as well.
I suppose the idea of the show is that it should sound like what your mates are like when they're talking in the pub – or certainly what my mates are like when they're talking in the pub.
Officially, I'm not entirely sure what the description of my role on the show is but I am the producer, I suppose at this stage, and co-presenter. I'm loath to use that term but I do present on-air, more so some traditional producers who would be largely off-air. We don't really have concrete roles – it's more fluid than that. I've known Ray since college; we were in DIT Aungier Street from 1999 to 2004. We weren't friends from the outset. We kind of managed to avoid each other for at least the first year which was weird because it was a smallish class – there were only 30 or so people. He hung around with all the girls, which I thought was unusual. I can't remember how we met the first time, but I think we found we had a very similar sense of humour and it was a good job too because there weren't that many people around to share it.
Working together and being friends doesn't put a strain on our friendship. On the radio, I'm incredibly easy going and Ray is more passionate. A classic example of the kind of stuff that comes up and we just run with was getting Journey's 'Don't Stop Believing' to Number One in the charts – and this was well before it was in the charts in the UK. It was about two years ago and we heard it on the last episode of The Sopranos and we couldn't believe we didn't know it and it was such a great song. So we started this campaign to get it to number one in Ireland – which it did – and it was weird hearing it on the 2FM charts and they're at a loss to explain how it got there!
Because we're on air five days a week, we've kind of said everything to each other, but we still hang out. This week we were out for drinks, and we'll meet up the odd weekend. We're very comfortable with each other and we really, really do finish each other's sentences.
I've never had a career plan, but now that I'm in radio, I don't think there's much else I want to or could do. It's just so unpredictable and that's the best part of it. I get to work with my best mate, coming up with stuff that keeps us amused. That's how the show works: we're trying to amuse ourselves and hopefully other people will find it equally funny. We don't really try and tailor the show to the listeners' needs. We're going to do a radio show and if you like it, that's brilliant, and if you don't, well, you might have to go somewhere else.
'Ive just finished up as the female co-host on The Morning Crew with Dermot and Dave after four mad years. It was such brilliant craic. I was brought in to be the mediator with the two guys and I suppose to give the female input, but at times there were three people trying to talk so it was kind of tough to make it balanced and get my point across. Other times I'd just start laughing at the lads and literally wouldn't be able to stop. I'd be in such hysterics at some of the wind-ups that I'd almost forget that I was on-air.
One thing I'll never forget though are the awful early starts when you work on a breakfast show. It's like being permanently jetlagged, but when you're in you're 'on". You can't have a moody day on-air. But sometimes you just have to say, "I'm knackered" or "I had a bit of a late one last night" because I think there's no point in pretending not to be human.
I used to be in at half five and now I'm in at seven, but even that one hour extra is huge. Let's face it, getting into work before six o'clock feels like the middle of the night.
But I had great times on The Morning Crew with the lads. We got the show to number one and won a Meteor Award before I decided to move onto this new role as the Dublin's 98 Gossip Girl, which means being the voice of entertainment news for the station.
Dermot and Dave are doing very well themselves. Even without the woman to keep them in line! I still get to pop in to them to create bit of banter and represent the females when I'm reporting on the entertainment gossip, so it's the best of both worlds really.
The new role involves a lot more travel. I report on showbiz for every single show – from breakfast to evening. Everybody probably thinks that being on the red carpet is the most glamorous gig you can get but it's difficult standing for three hours in the lashing rain, and in London there's a lot of shouting and elbowing to get to the celebrities. I'm enjoying it though. It's my thing and I love the immediacy of radio. It's live and quick and you get a great buzz out of it. But eventually I'd love to do my own TV chat show.