Martin 'Marty' Whelan (born 7 June 1956) is an Irish radio and television personality currently working for Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). His early television credits included the game shows Millionaire and Fame and Fortune, and the weekday afternoon show, Open House.
7 June 1956
|Employer||Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)|
Maria Whelan (m. 1985)
|Parent(s)||John and Lilly|
Whelan hosted The Rose of Tralee contest until Ryan Tubridy replaced him in 2003, a role which he had held since 1997. His RTÉ 2fm radio show, Marty in the Morning was axed in 2007 and replaced with The Colm & Jim-Jim Breakfast Show. Whelan has since made a return to television, winning the reality series Celebrity Bainisteoir in 2008. Since winning the series, he has made another return to television to guest-host the RTÉ One topical comedy show The Panel. He also acted as guest judge in RTÉ's Charity You're a Star, standing in for Louis Walsh in one programme.
Marty at Midday saw Whelan receive his own weekday lunchtime show on RTÉ lyric fm, commencing September 2009. He then returned to television again in September 2009 to co-present Winning Streak with Kathryn Thomas. He has been doing this ever since.
Whelan was born in Dublin in 1956. An only child, he was overprotected by his parents always surrounded by other children. He later commented on his childhood, "I had cousins, friends constantly to play with -- my memories are all in the company of children." Whelan attended school in Killester. He spent five years working with an insurance company before he made the break into radio with the pirate radio station Radio Dublin. He left this station as part of a wider split, along with most of the DJs to form the Big D in April 1978. Whelan initially worked on weekend shows, but in a new schedule in September 1978 he got his first daytime slot doing the drivetime show.
In 1979, Whelan joined RTÉ Radio 2, now known as RTÉ 2fm. Prior to that he worked on pirate radio under the name Marty Hall. During his first tenure with the station he presented a number of shows such as Drivetime and Marty till Midnight. He also spent three years presenting RTÉ 2fm's Breakfast Show in a role he would return to in 2005.
In the mid-1980s Whelan began developing his television career, becoming the first male presenter of the hit fashion programme Head 2 Toe. Other popular TV shows followed, including the Where in the World? quiz programme (1987–1989) and Video File (1983–1989), in which he interviewed major stars of the music world.
In 1989, Whelan left RTÉ radio to join its rival radio station, Century Radio. When that project failed he was given the cold shoulder by RTÉ.
Whelan returned to the national broadcaster in the mid-1990s when he presented such shows as Go For It, Off the Record and Millionaire. He hosted RTÉ One's summer lottery show Fame and Fortune on Saturday nights for at least ten years. He spent ten years on television as presenter of the John Player Tops.
In 1997, Whelan became Master of Ceremonies at the annual Rose of Tralee contest but, in the first of a series of losses, he was replaced by Ryan Tubridy in 2003. In 2004, RTÉ's flagship afternoon magazine programme Open House was axed, leaving Whelan jobless once again. Whelan had filled the role of co-host alongside Mary Kennedy since 1998. He was reported to be "shocked" and "very disappointed". He also said he would "personally deliver every copy" of Mary Kennedy's new book Paper Tigers, reasoning, "Sure I have nothing else to be doing with my time".
A substitute slot for Gerry Ryan on his morning radio show on RTÉ 2fm in the summer of 2005 led to a more permanent return to the station for Whelan. Marty in the Morning, which itself caused controversy when it replaced The Rick & Ruth Breakfast Show, began on 26 September 2005. In January 2007, it was announced that Marty in the Morning would end that March when Colm & Jim-Jim arrived from FM104. He was on holiday when he discovered another show had been axed. Whelan returned to the role of filling in for Gerry Ryan when Ryan was on leave.
Since then Whelan has appeared as himself in feature films, at the co-opening of a Dunnes outlet in Galway with retired broadcaster Gay Byrne and filling a cameo role (again as himself) on the soap opera, Fair City.He still commentates on RTÉ's television coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest each May.
Whelan presented a two-hour Sunday with Marty Whelan show on RTÉ lyric fm from Sunday, 1 March 2009 at 14:30, taking over from veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne, but only until that September. In July 2009, Whelan provided commentary on the Michael Jackson memorial service for RTÉ Two. Following on from Sunday with Marty Whelan, he received his own weekday lunchtime show on lyric fm, Marty at Midday, commencing September 2009. That same month, he began co-presenting Winning Streak on RTÉ One each Saturday night, alongside Sinead Kennedy.
As of October 2010 Whelan presents Marty in the Morning weekday mornings between 7 and 10 on RTÉ Lyric FM. His more recent television programmes apart from Winning Streak were in summer 2009 he presented a series called A Little Bit Funny followed by A Little Bit Eurovision in summer 2011.
Eurovision Song Contest
In 1987 and 1988, Whelan co-hosted Eurosong (Irish heats for the Eurovision Song Contest) along with Maxi. RTÉ gave the commentator's job to different presenters between 1988 and 1999 including Mike Murphy, Ronan Collins, Jimmy Greeley and Pat Kenny. In the autumn of 1999, Pat Kenny decided not to return as Commentator. Reportedly Gerry Ryan (who had hosted the contest in 1994) was RTÉ's favorite for the job. However, it was later announced that RTÉ would give the job back to Whelan. Whelan returned to commentate for Ireland at the 2000 Contest, which was held in Sweden and continues to provide commentary for RTÉ since 2000.
Whelan is married to Maria. They have two children, Jessica and Thomas. The couple met in 1974, dating for over ten years before marrying on 13 August 1985. At the time, they were both living at home, Maria gave up her job as an air hostess with Aer Lingus following their marriage. Whelan's interests include badminton, rugby, DIY and football. In his spare time he likes to play indoor football with some of his colleagues at RTÉ, and is also a founding member of the Donaghmede Badminton Club. In October 2015, Whelan released his memoirs called That’s Life..
In 1986, Whelan won a Jacob's Award for Video File.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1986||Marty Whelan||Jacob's Awards||Won|
- "The Panel: Thursday, 20 November 2008". RTÉ. 20 November 2008. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
- Last, Jane (20 May 2010). "RTÉ so lonely after loss of Gerry - Marty". Evening Herald. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "MARTY WHELAN - IRELAND". BBC News. BBC. 12 May 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
- "Marty Whelan: surviving as an only child". Irish Independent. 19 November 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
- "Biography for Marty Whelan". IMDb. Accessed 22 November 2008.
- "Century Radio?". Sunday Independent. 3 December 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
- Cunningham, Grainne; Hegarty, Joanne (5 March 2004). "Marty and Mary seek new TV doors after RTÉ slams shut Open House". Irish Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2004.
- Nolan, Larissa (11 April 2004). "King of daytime TV will reign again". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 11 April 2004.
- Sheehy, Clodagh (4 March 2004). "Whelan shock as RTÉ wields axe on 'Open House'". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 March 2004.
- "Open House shuts its doors. Why? Well, it was a success of course". Irish Independent. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 4 March 2004.
- "Avril's popular show to stay in 2fm schedule". Irish Independent. 16 January 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
- O'Brien, Jason (13 January 2007). "'Alarmed' RTÉ radio axes Marty's show". Irish Independent. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- O'Brien, Jason (2 July 2007). "RTÉ's top radio stars are told to stagger their summer holidays". Irish Independent. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
- "Gay Byrne and Marty Whelan open new Galway Dunnes Stores". Galway Independent. 19 September 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
- Gallagher, Brian (3 October 2005). Inside Fair City. Rooney Media Graphics. ISBN 978-0955090202.
- "Marty and the 'cool' Irish". Irish Independent. 23 May 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
- "Whelan to host new RTÉ lyric fm show". RTÉ. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
- Nolan, Lorna (25 February 2009). "Marty is back on the radio after a two-year break". Evening Herald. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
- Boland, John (11 July 2009). "Out of step with the Jacko love-in". Irish Independent. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
- "Fanning moves back to 2FM". RTÉ. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2009.
- "Fanning moves back to 2fm". Hot Press. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2009.
- O'Farrell, Stephen; Noonan, Laura (18 August 2009). "Why Miriam is primed to do more on radio". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
- "That's his life: A family and celebrity affair as Marty Whelan launches new book". Irish Independent. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
| Eurovision Song Contest Ireland Commentator
| Eurovision Song Contest Ireland Commentator
2000 - present
| Host of The Rose of Tralee
1997 – 2002