He doesn’t use social media, but Ronan Collins admitted with a smile when told by RTÉ bosses that his retirement announcement being broadcast online was “trending” ahead of the weather forecast. weather and Cristiano Ronaldo has a crisis at the World Cup.
I’m overwhelmed and shocked,” the 70-year-old DJ (disc player) admitted to the public reaction to his sudden announcement, which had been 18 months in the making.
Speaking yesterday as he geared up for his final gig today, Collins offered some home advice for his successor during the 12-1pm prime time slot.
“Some commentators have said she has ‘big boots to fill’ – but my advice to Louise Duffy is not to think about filling anyone’s boots. Bring your own boots or shoes and you’ll always feel comfortable, as my mother used to say,” Collins says.
For many radio listeners, Collins has been a beacon of light over the years amid a sea of serious and sometimes bleak news and commentary.
His easy-to-listen, handpicked choices have been met by requests from listeners, and his easy-to-understand use of language has earned him a loyal following in the industry. over 38 years at Radio 1.
“Regarding my work, I never felt like I had to worry about ‘I shouldn’t have said that,’ even though I’ve stepped foot in it a couple of times,” says Collins.
“I have a great relationship with my listeners and it’s incredible how people pour their hearts out and say how important I am in their lives – I never thought about it like that.
“It’s flattering and a bit embarrassing.
“It is great to know all this, because my work is a labor of love. It was never a chore – if it was, I would have stopped doing it by now.”
Due to his record and his “well-documented” health concerns, Collins began thinking about the future 18 months ago and discussed it with his boss, Peter Woods, about six months before.
He is told, “do what you want to do” and it says something about him that it remains a secret until he chooses his own timing.
“At 70, what I want to still be able to do is make decisions about my future, before health problems or other people decide for me. In work and in life, my ambition is to realize when it’s time to stop,” Collins said.
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But there was another factor affecting him – the passing of his longtime friend and fellow DJ, Larry Gogan.
“We are not just colleagues at work. We used to look for each other every day, just to chat, and something happened to me when he passed away,” Collins said.
“But I also don’t care about going into the sunset. I haven’t lost interest in work, so it’s basically what’s best for me, my wife and my family, so I’ll be back in the new year on bank holiday Mondays with Collins Collection.”
Collins and his wife Woody have three children – Jessica, Lisa and Damien. He also has two grandchildren whom he loves very much.
At the age of 8 and 5, he wants to spend more time with them than with his children when they are the same age.
It was what he called the “busy years” of the 1980s when he was working full-time as a professional musician, DJ, and radio host, and “sometimes I don’t feel like it.” actually seeing his wife and children for weeks at a time.”
Now, of his grandchildren, he says: “I don’t want to be their best friend, I want to be their best grandpa. We talk about everything, but the big decisions in their lives are made by their parents.”
Collins’ insistence on keeping his private and public life separate meant that the family was forbidden, to the point where they would join him to his Montrose studio for the final broadcast of the series. Ronan Collins Program – but don’t expect to see any of their photos.
We met a few days before his so-called “retirement” day even though he didn’t see it as such.
He is an easygoing and welcoming companion with an ability to remember people and events very well, which is perhaps helped by the fact that he has never drunk alcohol in his life.
His mentor in RTÉ was Bill O’Donovan, head of 2FM, who helped him “find his place” on radio.
There’s a big difference between “comfort and complacency,” he said, and when he switched to Radio 1, he asked what was required of him. “We want Ronan Collins,” he was told.
He said: “I have my private moments and can be grumpy enough. “I may be briary, but my job is not the place for that.”
As a freelance host, “you are never safe” and only as good as your last show. One of the things he says he can’t stand is unprepared people. “I am always right,” he joked, “but when I am wrong, I admit it.”
As you’d expect, music is his whole life. He can remember when he was six or seven years old hearing Elvis Presley for the first time.
The Beatles came out when he was 12 years old and he says he’s had a musical “fall in love” with Linda Ronstadt since 1969.
“I don’t do Wikipedia. I don’t need to do that. It’s been extraordinary that in the years that followed, how much information [about music and musicians] I try to not only memorize but retain,” he said.
Collins says that after stepping off the set, he doesn’t think about the show he just presented, but about the days to come.
He’s also wary of the newer style of confessional broadcasting.
“I have a show to do and it’s not about me, it’s about the audience. [all 230,000 of them] and share the journey with them. I’m glad I decided to make the change at this stage of my life and I wasn’t forced to,” he said.
“I will go back to RTÉ and that will allow me to stay in touch with listeners.”
With that, he’ll be doing some Christmas shopping at his old friend Peter Caviston’s store before getting ready to do it all again one last time.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/radio/ronan-collins-interview-the-heart-went-out-of-the-building-when-larry-gogan-died-its-the-right-time-for-me-to-stop-42239778.html Ronan Collins interview: ‘Heart stopped beating when Larry Gogan died. This is the right time for me to stop’