DUDJ in association with Trinity TV hosted broadcaster Ryan Tubridy Wednesday in the GMB. The discussion based event was aimed at those with keen interests in pursuing a career in the media, both radio and television. It also marked the opening of DUDJ’s ‘DJ Summit’, a three-day long event involving talks, demos and parties, which runs next week.
Tubridy entered the Irish broadcasting circuit around at age 12, when he began reviewing films for the RTÉ 2FM show ‘Poparama’. When he was asked about how he managed to get such an impressive position at his young age, he explained that he was passionate about cinema. This led him to write to the Irish Times, complaining that thee “weren’t enough films being reviewed on RTÉ.” Coincidentally, RTÉ gave him the opportunity to review two movies for which he received £25. This turned into a two-year contract and gave him his first real job on television.
Tubridy spoke about the dilemma he faced regarding whether to pursue law or media after he graduated with a B.A. in history, Greek, Roman civilisation and art from UCD. He almost immediately set-foot in the door of RTÉ, working as a runner for The Gerry Ryan Show making tea and coffee. He stated that it was all down to him being “a good talker.”
When asked more about this he advised you must “tread carefully” as the world of media isn’t all “bright lights and glamour (…) it is in fact a little fella behind a curtain doing stuff.”
“For every miserable cup of tea I made and soggy biscuit I ate, [I now have] the best job in the world,” he said. He cautioned the audience to make their careers “start happening now because when you’re twenty-seven it’s over.”
He was repeatedly questioned about how this own career evolved into the one he has today, insisting he “blagged” his way in. Tubridy admitted being an avid reader; “I read loads of books. It doesn’t matter what it’s about”. He stressed the value reading can have to the skill of interviewing, expressing that no matter what, you can always use the information you read somewhere in a book.
From 2002 to 2005 Tubridy presented The Full Irish on RTÉ 2FM. The move was seen as a perilous one, with Hot Press printing a two-page special editorial stating that 2FM was “in turmoil”. During this time Tubridy stated that he constantly reviewed his presenting skill and style by reading books by chat shows hosts such as David Frost and “watching their interviews on YouTube and seeing their style.”
Concurrently to the radio success, Tubridy embarked on one of the projects that he is most well-known for; Tubridy Tonight on RTÉ. He was initially supposed to take over as the host of The Late Late Show but this never materialised until 2009 when “his childhood dreams (came) true” and he was given the opportunity to present the national institution known as The Late Late Toy Show. He is now in preparations for this year’s show which he seemed particularly excited for, stating that working with children made it “much more authentic.”
Finally, Tubridy reflected on some of his more emotive experiences in broadcasting. He mentioned the infamous interview with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum last year, admitting it was “the most nervous” he had ever been for an interview as he “wasn’t feeling on top of it”. He said the key to interviewing was accepting that “confidence comes and goes regardless of how you’re perceived.”
He closed the interactive discussion on a positive note, stating that the power of radio and of the Irish people at story-telling can make an interview “so engaging that you can actually change people’s lives.”
Photo by Claire Varini