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And the four newest members of Irish radio's Hall of Fame are...

Go on, take a guess.

Updated 1.09pm

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THE PPI RADIO Awards have inducted four new members into their Hall of Fame.

Today FM’s Tony Fenton and RTÉ Radio One’s Áine Lawlor join MidWest Radio’s Paul Claffey and Walter Love from BBC Radio Ulster as the four newest inductees to Irish radio’s Hall of Fame.

The group were chosen by their peers in the industry and the organisers said they were “highly respected for their skill, passion for their jobs and their love for radio”.

“They rightfully take their place alongside the 14 other great Irish radio luminaries who have been honoured by their peers,” said Seán Murtagh, PPI Radio Awards committee chairperson.

Previously, the honours have been given to Mario Rosenstock, Joe Duffy, Marian Finucane, Gay Byrne and the late Gerry Ryan.

Paul Claffey

Claffey was the first person to secure a radio license for a local station outside of Dublin 25 years ago. And Midwest Radio was born.

“A richly deserved award for a man who has given the west of Ireland a radio station that has its finger on the pulse.  His ethos has always been ‘give people what they want – not what I think they want’,” chairman of the station Michael Hughes said of the winner.

Tony Fenton

A voice and face known to most in Ireland, Fenton has also graced the airwaves for 25 years. 

“Tony Fenton does music radio like no-one else. He’ll happily tell you it’s not work. It’s a love affair. Anyone who knows Tony has heard him mention on more than one occasion ‘I love Radio’,” says Peter McPartlin, TodayFM’s chief executive.

Áine Lawlor 

Over her 20 years as a presenter, Lawlor has featured on RTÉ’s main news programmes, including Morning Ireland and News at One and has filled in for Marian Finucane on her weekend slots.

The PPI Radio Awards praised her for the “early morning forensic interviewing style and analytical approach, coupled with good humoured asides which have made her a household name at the breakfast table or on the daily commute”.

Walter Love MBE

Love began presenting in Northern Ireland in 1946. The organisers say of him:

He is lucid, benevolent, with time to listen, qualities that have remained unchanged across the seventy years in radio broadcasting that have been Walter Love’s life.

“Throughout his lengthy career he has worked across a range of programming – often in darker days of our history – with skill and poise. Jazz Club, his long-running specialist music programme which he both presents and produces, continues to be a jewel in our weekend schedule and his passion and encyclopedic knowledge of the genre is infectious,” added the BBC NI’s head of radio, Fergus Keeling.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Fenton said he was “totally bowled over” by the award, although conceded that his trademark voice, one of the most well-known in Ireland, was “a little raspy” having not been on-air in some time.

He spoke of the number of ‘little highs’ during his career, from getting his first jobs in Sunshine and Radio Nova, to taking on a show on 2fm, and eventually getting a call to move over to Today FM, but that this “tops the lot… it’s a fantastic day”.

Fenton praised the PPI Awards, with the full ceremony taking place next month, for rewarding the people “who work day in, day out, on radio”.

When I started in 1978, there were no awards at all. This industry was not awarded or celebrated in any way. It’s fantastic that it’s happening now.

“There’s a lot of people who give their life to it.”

Áine Lawlor said the radio industry looks set to remain strong in Ireland.

“It’s a very uncertain time in the media industry, and all organisations are going through a huge amount of change and uncertainty,” she said, “but I think radio, in this fast changing environment, has a great future.”

And what tips do these Hall of Famers’ have for anyone hoping to get into the industry? Both said that passion is hugely important.

“You’ve got to get involved for the right reasons,” Fenton said.

And the only reason to get involved in radio, is because you love radio.

Lawlor said: “The people who really love it, the people who really want it, you tend to still see them around ten years later. It’s a question of sticking with it.”

Originally published 11.10am. Additional reporting by Nicky Ryan.

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