Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 6 October, 2022

'I was supposed to be doing my homework' - fans remember Tony Fenton's Hotline

Favourite memories from radio stars, winners and you.

call1 Source: callcards.ie

MUCH-LOVED RADIO DJ Tony Fenton passed away this morning.

A legend of 2FM and later Today FM he’s being fondly remembered today, especially for one of his greatest legacies, The Hotline, a show he presented on 2FM in the nineties, taking over the mantle from Barry Lang.

A list of songs would be printed in one of the daily papers (The Evening Herald and The Star, among others) and listeners could ring the station to try to get their requests played on air, and get their hands on a prize.

call2 Source: Callcards.ie

Listening to The Hotline surreptitiously while supposed to be doing your homework is a common theme among the memories being shared today.

Donegal woman Helen Francis remembers not only listening when she was supposed to be studying, but also winning!

In fact, she featured quite regularly on The Hotline.

 I won on Tony Fenton’s Hotline TWICE and they used my scream as he said “you’re the winner!” on the ads.

Francis told DailyEdge.ie that living in Donegal meant she didn’t have easy access to the Evening Herald, but used to just keep up with the charts and guess the songs on the Hitlist. She remembers getting a call from Tony after choosing a Lemonheads song in 1993 (“probably Shame About Ray or Mrs Robinson”).

When he shouted “YOU’RE THE WINNER” I of course screamed the house down and they used it in the ads for about two months.

Helen won a Sinéad O’Connor DVD and CD boxset, which was unfortunate because she owned neither a DVD player nor a CD player.

When her friend Noelle Fox text her today to simply say “Tony Fenton, RIP” she said she felt saddened because he was a big part of their lives.

We would go to a lot of gigs when we got a bit older and would also see Fento there. It was very exciting. He was a proper celebrity. He was better than Robbie Williams.

Jenny Greene Women Disk Jockeys

2FM’s  Jenny Greene told DailyEdge.ie that not only did she listen to The Hotline “down low” when she was supposed to be doing her homework, she actually met Fenton as a 16 year old finalist in the Hotline’s DJ For A Day competition.

Dusty Rhodes was presenting it at that stage, but Tony was one of the judges. There was about six of us I think and we had to go into RTE on a Saturday and do a fake show with John Clarke and Tony Fenton judging.

She remembers how encouraging Fenton was towards younger DJs and recalled being invited to his 40th birthday party.

It went on until about 9am. I remember Tom Dunne singing Parachute beside the fire.

8Radio and Phantom FM’s Simon Meagher says he learned a lot from the master:

Like so many others, my abiding memory of Tony is from the Hotline days.  At the time, I was trying my best to develop my DJ persona as Pete Reed.  Truth be known, I was rubbish at it but I used to tune into Tony to try to pick up some of his craft.  He made me realise that I was never destined for superstar jockdom but there was no shame in that!
Many years later, I met him at some radio event or other and introduced myself.  He said “Dude, great to meet you” with a big smile and you felt like he meant it.  RIP Tony.

tony1 Source: RTÉ

Today FM’s Ed Smith told DailyEdge.ie:

If there was a voice over for my teenage years it was Tony Fenton’s. His rare warmth and genuine, sincere sense of enthusiasm made radio sound like a magical land of fun and tunes and as a teenager that summed up our ultimate ambitions at the time.
He got me through bad results in school and even worse results with girls and you knew that whatever happened that at 7pm that everything was going to be ok and that Tony would be bellowing that somebody was a ‘WINNERRRR’…we all were with Tony.

Will Leahy has today recalled  working with Fenton as a young DJ:

And I hope someone in RTE archives digs out an old “Hotline” so we can hear “The Hitlist is in tonight’s Evening Herald” & “You’re the winner !” one last time.

And someone in RTÉ has done just that. Radio producer Alan Swan uploaded this short clip of the Hotline. Enjoy. 

RIP Tony.

Share your own memories of The Hotline in the comments section…

Tributes are already pouring in for much-loved DJ Tony Fenton

“Never saw him in bad humour” – Larry Gogan remembers old friend Tony Fenton

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

Read next: