Gracing the national airwaves with a late date

His soothing dulcet tones familiar to many, the soulful words of Athlone native, Cathal Murray, grace the national airwaves with popular regularity as he occupies the ‘Late Date’ chair nightly, from Sunday to Thursday, each week.

A doyen of the broadcasting industry, the former Marist College student, “changed plummage” three years ago, when he departed his early morning weekend airwaves slot for the three hour late night radio role (11pm-2am ).

“You could say I went from early bird to night owl,” Cathal reflected, following the decision taken to leave his weekend radio programme of six years and become presenter of ‘Late Date’, the perennially popular music show which has graced the national airwaves for nigh on two decades.

Now comfortable and confident within his present role with the national broadcaster, Cathal found the time transition an “adjustment” initially, but was soon reaching a vast new radio audience with his late night playlists.

“The ‘Late Date’ has a dedicated audience, which I have noticed during my time presenting the programme. Listening to the radio is more passive experience in the mornings as parents bring their children to school and workers commute, but as the dark of night falls, the audience becomes more active and attentive as they turn the dial and tune in,” Cathal remarked.

Within the studio, Cathal strives to create a nightly pre-show ambience and his compiled playlists touch a chord with his listeners as the music, which spans many genres, is of an atmospheric late night style.

“Numerous hours are spent in my home office choosing the songs which will grace the airwaves on each night. Over the duration of the three hour programme, I may play up to 35 songs and have the privilege and pleasure of choosing each tune - such is the benefit of working with RTE Radio One as they place utmost trust in their presenters,” Cathal enthused.

Such is the nightly popularity of ‘Late Date’, listener requests dot the studio landscape with Cathal always willing to appease his audience.

“Although the playlist is solely the result of my song choosing, such is the programme’s popularity that listener requests are a regular occurence, particularly for those seeking airwave acknowledgement for special occasions,” Cathal continued.

His love for the world of broadcast journalism stemmed from his third level education years in University College Cork (UCC ), a time during which he befriended both actor, Cillian Murphy and comedian, Des Bishop.

“Although I studied Accounting in UCC, I was a member of the university’s Arts Society who contributed to the college’s radio station. I had the opportunity to present on the local airwaves and can recall being commended as having ‘a very good voice for radio’ - a statement which resonated with me at the time,” Cathal added.

Upon his return to Athlone in 2000, Cathal acted upon the positive remark and is forever grateful to Midlands 103 for offering him his breakthrough role in broadcast journalism.

Now residing in Glasthule, Cathal, who will wed his fiancé Siobhan in December, “embraces relaxation” when not in radio mode and looks forward to a broadcasting future which has been one of immense reward to date.

Tune into ‘Late Date’, the perfect musical end to the day, with Cathal Murray, from 11pm-2am, Sunday-Thursday.


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