RTÉ 2fm, or 2FM as it is more commonly referred to, is an Irish radio station operated by RTÉ. The station specialises in current popular music and chart hits and is the second national radio station in Ireland.
|Broadcast area||Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland|
Worldwide (mainly the United Kingdom on satellite)
|Slogan||Sound Of The Nation|
|First air date||31 May 1979|
|Format||Contemporary hit radio|
|Sister stations||RTÉ 2XM|
The station commenced broadcasting in 1979 and has undergone numerous name and line-up changes.
In 2008, the station had 17% of the national audience, making it the second most popular station in Ireland after RTÉ Radio 1 (23%). According to The Irish Times, the 9 am – 12 noon slot is "the most critical in the 2fm schedule both in terms of audience figures and advertising revenue". This was presented by Gerry Ryan from 1988 until his sudden death on 30 April 2010. The Gerry Ryan Show was the longest running show in the station's history.
The station is recognised as being the first in the world to play any new single released by U2, due to the band's long-term friendship with Dave Fanning. They celebrated their thirty-year association with each other in September 2009 with the airing of a special weekend of programmes, including U2's Top 30 Moments.
RTÉ 2fm, like RTÉ Radio 1, technically broadcasts 24 hours a day, however it plays a computerised music feed weekdays from midnight - 6 am and weekends from 5 - 7 am (originally replays of previous day's selected programmes) along with live news updates on the hour, and weekend overnight hours have been home to specialist music recorded shows since 2001. The station regularly broadcasts live from large Irish music festivals, such as Oxegen, Electric Picnic and Life Festival, and latterly has broadcast live music under the title 2fm XtrAlive (formerly 2fm Live), with the most recorded visiting act being Manic Street Preachers. The series of shows entitled the 2fm 2moro 2our maintained the station's reputation for homegrown live performance promotion as well as offering career boosts to artists such as The Immediate, The Flaws, Ham Sandwich, Concerto For Constantine and David Geraghty.
As part of the expansion of RTÉ's young people's music radio output, an all-music (mostly of the rock genre) sister station of 2FM, RTÉ 2XM, designed for students and young adults, now operates on the RTÉ DAB Multiplex.
Radio 2 (1979–1988)
RTÉ Radio 2, as it was originally known, began broadcasting on 31 May 1979. "Like Clockwork" by The Boomtown Rats was the first song on air, played by Larry Gogan. It was developed as a response by RTÉ to the pirate radio craze sweeping Dublin and the rest of the country. Its original slogan was "Radio 2 Comin'atcha" and, as well as broadcasting popular music, it carried a number of other musical strands as well as news and current affairs. Its main inspiration in format was BBC Radio 1. Its original broadcast frequencies were 612 kHz (Athlone/Nationwide) and 1250 kHz (Dublin and Cork) MW (until 2004) and 90-92 MHz FM. As well as Larry Gogan, other original DJs included Vincent Hanley and Jimmy Greeley, who transferred from RTÉ Radio 1, and Mark Cagney, who transferred from RTÉ Cork Local Radio. Most of the remaining DJs were recruited directly from the pirate stations, such as Michael McNamara, Declan Meehan, Ronan Collins, Gerry Ryan and Dave Fanning.
In 1988 after many years presenting a nightly music show called Lights out for around 6 years previously The Gerry Ryan Show, a morning topical radio show, began broadcasts. Not long afterwards, RTÉ began radical changes to Radio 2's format. Most non-pop music programming was dropped. The station was rebranded as "2FM" in 1988. At this stage the basic schedule for the next decade or so was put in place: Ian Dempsey, Gerry Ryan, Larry Gogan, Gareth O'Callaghan, Tony Fenton, Barry Lang, John Kenny and Dave Fanning were staples of this period. Many of these presenters have stayed with 2FM over the years while others have moved to competing stations. In 1998, after 18 years with the station, drivetime presenter Barry Lang left to become an airline pilot, in the Middle East.
2FM in this era was at its most popular. Its mobile broadcasting unit, the roadcaster, made regular trips nationwide, with 2FM organising live events throughout Ireland, such as the "Beat on the Street" with M.C and 'Eye in the Sky' traffic news presenter Electric Eddie, Doug Murray, introducing the station's DJs to the vast crowds which gathered at events throughout Ireland and "Lark in the Park". New bands would often get their "big break" by being featured on the Dave Fanning Show. Gerry Ryan's radio show became a national institution.
RTÉ 2fm (2000–2009)
By the year 2000, the 1990s schedule was looking very stale. In addition, 2FM suffered the high-profile departure of Ian Dempsey to the newly established commercial national radio station Today FM. Both Today FM and the emerging independent local radio sector had eroded 2FM's once unassailable listenership base. Tony Fenton was the most recent departure to Today FM in September 2004. 2FM in turn raided Phantom FM for Cormac Battle, Jenny Huston and Dan Hegarty, while Colm & Jim-Jim were poached from FM104. Old stalwarts such as Dave Fanning and Larry Gogan were moved to the weekend to make way for the likes of Rick O'Shea and Nikki Hayes. The Gerry Ryan Show continued to be the most popular programme on the station and one of the top-rated radio programmes in the country.
In 1999, veteran producer and disc jockey John Clarke was made Head of 2FM. Unlike the previous people in that position, John had worked his way through a number of pirate stations before joining RTÉ in the late eighties. He rebranded 2FM with a new blue and red logo (as "RTÉ 2fm") and re-arranged the schedule. During this period (Late 1990s/Early 2000s) long serving station names such as Andy Ruane, Lorcan Murray, Michael McNamara, Mike Ryan, Suzanne Duffy, Peter Collins, Bob Conway, Simon Young and Gerry Wison disappeared from the schedule.
In 2003, Ryan Tubridy was poached from RTÉ Radio 1 to present The Full Irish breakfast programme; however in 2005 he returned to Radio 1 for a number of years, heralding an era of instability in breakfast broadcasting as first Ruth Scott and Rick O'Shea took charge of The Rick and Ruth Breakfast Show, before being replaced 5 months later by Marty Whelan in September 2005. DJ Mark McCabe and John Power arrived to present dance music shows at weekends. Later, more changes saw Larry Gogan being moved from his lunchtime slot to "drive time". A news programme, Newsbeat, was added to the schedules in response to criticisms that RTÉ 2fm was not fulfilling its remit as a public service broadcaster. Newer alternative DJs such as the "Phantom 3", Canadian Jenny Huston, Dan Hegarty and Kerbdog front-man Cormac Battle also joined the line-up, as did Jennifer Greene.
From 1999 to 2007 Will Leahy presented the most popular weekend show in the station’s history, 'The Saturday Show'. It was broadcast live from Limerick each Saturday. This programme ended its run in 2007 with a record 252,000 listeners, the station's second most successful show in its history after only The Gerry Ryan Show.
On 12 January 2007 RTÉ announced a major revamp of 2fm with the axing of Marty Whelan's breakfast show to make way for The Colm & Jim-Jim Breakfast Show as 2fm engaged in a spot of poaching for once in persuading Colm Hayes and Jim-Jim Nugent to leave FM104. As FM104 continues to broadcast its breakfast show under The Strawberry Alarm Clock title, the 2fm version was known as the Colm and Jim-Jim Breakfast Show (initially referred to in pre-publicity as the 2fm Alarm Clock, however the name was changed after FM104 threatened legal action). During this 2007 revamp Will Leahy, formerly of the Saturday Show, was promoted to the weekday Drivetime slot, which he broadcast from his base at the RTÉ Limerick studios on the fifth floor of the Cornmarket. Larry Gogan was moved to the weekend and Dave Fanning moved to Radio 1 for a period (though he still presented a Sunday night programme on 2fm). The new schedule launched on 5 March 2007.
John Clarke resigned unexpectedly his position as Head of RTÉ 2fm on 14 August 2009. Four days later, and after spending some time presenting on RTÉ Radio 1, it was announced that Dave Fanning would be returning to RTÉ 2fm to present his evening weekday show in his old 7 pm slot.
The John McMahon years (2009–2013)
Clarke was replaced by John McMahon the following month. The return of Fanning followed the failure by RTÉ 2fm in its attempts to target teenagers, while Larry Gogan also returned to weekday lunch-times. There was comment within the Irish media when, despite electing to target a middle-aged audience, the radio station opted in September 2009 not to playlist David Gray, an English singer-songwriter who is popular with that age group in Ireland. Gray's music is played on Today FM and other stations. In spite of this arrangement, Gray has since turned up on Celebrity Sunday, a programme featuring celebrities and which, when it featured Nicky Byrne from Westlife, became Twitter's third favourite trending topic. McMahon began his reign by bringing in several schedule changes from early 2010, new additions to the station included the arrivals of Hector Ó hEochagáin and Tommy Tiernan live from Galway, and 'Celebrity Sunday' which included guest presenters such as Louis Walsh, Neil Hannon, Thomas Walsh, Mike Scott and Nicky Byrne.
In the aftermath of the sudden death of Gerry Ryan in 2010, a number of changes were made to the schedule. Hector Ó hEochagáin headed a breakfast show called ‘Breakfast with Hector’ which broadcast live from Galway each morning. Ryan Tubridy took over the 9 am – 11 am slot, with Rick O’Shea the main afternoon anchor. Will Leahy presented the drive time slot, a show which he broadcast live from Limerick for seven years.
The Dan Healy years (2013–present)
In 2014 following the appointment of Dan Healy as head of 2fm, the schedule was revamped. On 17 December 2013 RTÉ announced that Hector Ó hEochagáin would finish presenting the breakfast show. He was replaced by Jennifer Maguire, Bernard O'Shea and Keith Walsh. The regionally produced breakfast and drive time shows were axed, and all weekday shows were centralised to Dublin. An online campaign protested at the removal of Will Leahy and Hector Ó hEochagáin from their regionally produced shows. Larry Gogan, Dave Fanning and Will Leahy were moved to the weekend. Nicky Byrne from Westlife took over the 11 am – 2 pm slot.
Current presenters and programming
- Blaithnaid Treacy (The National Chart Show): 8 pm on Friday
- DJ Wax: 10 pm on Friday
- Cormac Battle: 12 am on Saturday
- Carl Mullen and Aifric O'Connell: 7 am – 9 am
- Dave Fanning: 9 am – 11 am
- Chris Greene and Ciara King (Chris and Ciara): 11 am – 1 pm
- Stephen Byrne: 1 pm – 4 pm
- Keith Walsh: 4 pm – 6 pm
- Jenny Greene (Electric Disco): 6 pm on Saturday
Digital sister stations
The launch of digital radio into Ireland has allowed RTÉ to expand their music radio operation. Whereas 2fm has to play a mix of genres of pop, the digital stations can play a wider range of music and focus more tightly on a particular format. RTÉ operates three music-led digital stations, which could be described as sister stations to 2fm:
- RTÉ 2XM, a station playing new and alternative music;
- RTÉ Gold, a station playing popular music from before 1990; and
- RTÉ Pulse, a station playing dance and electronic music.
- Bray, Allison (14 November 2008). "Tubridy rides crest of airwaves". Irish Independent. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
- McGreevy, Ronan (8 May 2010). "Stand-in presenters to replace Ryan show". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "World premiere for new U2 on RTÉ 2fm". RTÉ. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
- "30 years of U2 on RTÉ this weekend". RTÉ. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
- "MANIC STREET PREACHERS LIVE AT OXEGEN O8 - SUNDAY FEB 8 @ 9.30". Official site of Oxegen. 3 February 2009. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
- RTÉ Digital Radio Press Release Archived 26 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine. RTÉ. Accessed 19 October 2008.
- RTÉ: History Of 2FM Archived 9 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Jackie Hayden and Chris Donovan (8 June 2000). "2FM Comes Of Age". Hot Press. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
Last year John Clarke, after many years as a DJ and producer with 2FM, took over as effective head of the station.
- "Three times lucky?". Hot Press. 9 July 2003. Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "About RTÉ".
- O'Brien, Jason (13 January 2007). "'Alarmed' RTÉ radio axes Marty's show". Irish Independent. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "Don't move the dial . . . you might miss 2fm's next line-up change". Irish Independent. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- Leahy, William. The Will Leahy Show. 14 November 2008.
- "RTÉ 2fm announce New Year schedule changes". RTÉ. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- "John Clarke stands down as head of RTÉ 2fm". RTÉ. 14 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
- "John Clarke to quit as Head of 2fm". Hot Press. 13 August 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2009.
- "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.
- "RTÉ announce new Head of 2fm". Hot Press. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
- Stephen O'Farrell and Laura Noonan (18 August 2009). "Why Miriam is primed to do more on radio". Irish Independent. Retrieved 18 August 2009.
- Ken Sweeney (20 September 2009). "No Gray area for 2FM playlists". Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
- "David Gray showcasing music favourites on RTÉ 2FM". Hot Press. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
The previous guest disc jockey was Westlife's Nicky Byrne, and his radio spot became the third most popular trending topic on the social networking site, Twitter.
- Hector Ó hEochagáin
- "2FM stand by Will Leahy move after 15,000 petition for him to stay in drivetime slot".
- "Nicky Byrne joins new 2fm line-up". RTÉ News. 4 February 2014.
- "2fm gets a rebrand with new imaging and logo". 11 January 2016.