Dara Ó Briain goes behind the scenes to discover how the hit 2FM show 'The Hotline' is put together and meets up with presenter Tony Fenton eight minutes before the show goes on air.
Alongside Tony, ‘The Hotline’ team is made up of producer Jim Lockhart and assistant Carol McGrane. Jim explains how twice weekly Tony selects ‘The Hitlist’ and this list of songs is put onto the system by Carol and appears in newspapers, on Aertel and on Cablelink's link page as well as 2FM's website.
Listeners then ring the station to try to get their requests played on air, ever hopeful of being selected as the nightly lucky letter. How the lucky letter is selected remains a show secret.
With just 60 minutes to fill, the show is fast-paced. Jingles have have to be quick and Tony generally selects uptempo songs so he can fit as much music into the show as possible. He does not even get a chance to pre-read requests. When news and sport are taken into account
It's not even an hour, it's so fast it's 57 minutes.
Dara Ó Briain's illusions are shattered when he discovers that Tony's jingles are recorded by a man called Zeus in North Carolina and not by Tony himself. But he gamely undertakes some coaching from Tony to record a 2FM jingle.
Tony Fenton joined RTÉ as a Radio 2 DJ in 1985 before moving to work with independent radio station Today FM in 2004. Following a five-year battle with prostate cancer he died on 11 March 2015 aged 53.
This episode of 'Echo Island' was broadcast on 26 September 1996.