Waterford broadcaster Billy McCarthy dies at age of 62

Billy McCarthy presented the most listened to radio show in Waterford for the past 27 years

The death has occurred of popular Waterford broadcaster Billy McCarthy following a short illness.

WLR FM Managing Director Des Whelan expressed his profound sorrow at the passing of the 62 year old.

“Billy was a much loved friend and colleague of all of us here at WLR FM. His untimely death is a huge loss not just to our listeners but to all of us who had the fortune to work with him for many years”.

Billy McCarthy first presented The Good News Programme on Saturday mornings on the then WLR pirate station from 1983 to 1988. On obtaining a licence, Billy took over Deise AM from 10am-midday in December 1989. Billy was also programme director of WLR from 1989 to 2014.


Deise AM has consistently been the most listened to radio show in Waterford for the last 27 years. In 2003 Billy McCarthy won a much coveted national PPI Radio Award for Best Current Affairs Programme.

Mr Whelan said he first met Billy when they were just teenagers with a passion for music.

"Even at that young age he was always listening to music and practising how to be a radio presenter. He was very proud to have the opportunity to be a part of RTÉ's schedule when the national station's community service first started broadcasting in Waterford in the 1970s. Billy's friends and colleagues at WLR FM and everyone at the Broadcast Centre are all shocked & deeply saddened by his passing and extend their sincere sympathies to his partner Des O'Keeffe, his mother Kay, his sister Celine, brothers Declan and Ronan and his extended family, relatives and many friends. To his listenership, for whom to many, Billy was an integral part of their daily lives".

Programme Director Michael Byrne who worked closely with Billy said "this is a huge loss for his partner Des, his family and all his friends at the station; he was a brilliant colleague and an even better friend".

He had great passion for radio, he loved Waterford and most of all loved broadcasting to Waterford and beyond every morning. I’ll miss him very much.”

A special programme to remember Billy McCarthy will be broadcast on WLR FM on Monday from 10am to midday and online via www.wlrfm.com

Meanwhile, management at Beat FM in Waterford have also paid tribute to the late broadcaster. Beat shares the Broadcast Centre with WLR FM. CEO of Beat Gabrielle Cummins said there was a sense of shock at the station.

"Billy was a mentor to many of us and happily shared his vast expertise with all of us at Beat when we were starting out in 2003. He loved the excitement of getting to know lots of new young radio talent. He is a huge loss not just to our sister station WLR FM but to broadcasting in general in Ireland. Our thoughts are also very much with his broadcasting family; Managing Director of WLR FM Des Whelan, Programme Director Michael Byrne, Billy's producer Jennifer Long and all the team at the station.

“I know there are also thousands of listeners across Waterford and beyond who are absolutely devastated by this news. There was, without doubt, only one Billy McCarthy. RIP.”