“Radio really is such a wonderful and powerful medium of communication.”
– Carol Dooley
Introducing #OtherSideOfTheMic, a must-listen series of interviews with our local radio presenters that allow us to learn more about the unique voices behind each station.
Carol Dooley presents Sunshine 106.8‘s More Music Drive every weekday from 2-7pm. Carol has decades of radio and TV experience and has presented the show since 2014. Carol has previously worked on radio in the UK, Europe and the USA, but is happiest when at home in Dublin broadcasting to a Dublin audience. Carol’s relaxed and friendly broadcasting style has helped her show to be regularly the most listened to music based afternoon show in the Dublin market.
Click below to listen to the interview or scroll down to read.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Carol Dooley. I am the presenter of the More Music Drive here on Sunshine. 106.8 – Dublin’s easy place to relax. I’ve been working in the radio industry for well over 40 years, longer than 40 years now in Ireland, the UK, the United States.
How did you end up working in the world of radio?
I’ve worked for BBC Radio One in England, Classic FM in London and Holland. And for ten years I worked for a classic rock station in Washington State as programme director and on-air as well, and I’ve been back in Dublin since 2010. I started in radio when I was twelve! When I went into secondary school, my very first year, we were asked to put together a project on five different careers.
And this was in the days of pirate radio, 1979 it was, and I had four careers and I didn’t know what to do for the fifth. And this pirate radio station had just opened up and I decided I’ll go out there and I’ll ask them about working in radio. I’ll never forget it because I walked in and as soon as I walked into the studio I was like, you know, I think I like this. My first job was in the record library, re cataloguing all the records, and then I got a job reading the horoscopes on the air and then I got my own show. And the rest, as they say, is history.
What is a general day in the life of your role?
General day in the life of working at Sunshine is busy. Even though we are a very relaxing station and we promote relaxation and stress free listening behind the scenes. There’s a lot in putting a show together. We get a lot of texts, we get a lot of WhatsApp messages, so it’s interacting with the listeners on that. It’s working out what you’re going to talk about, what the topics of the day are, because you need to be relevant, you need to relate to listeners.
There’s the travel news, there’s all the rest of it. Keeping an eye on social media, on Twitter, on Instagram, see what people are talking about, if it’s worth reflecting that on air. Doing some research on the music that we play, the artists that we play, find out what they’re getting up to the listeners might be interested to know about. There’s a lot going on. I genuinely love talking to people because radio is such a wonderful medium of communication and you can speak to people in a very intimate way and in a more connected way.
What do you like the most about your job?
And I think one of the most important things, and one of the things I love the most, is the fact that you can talk to people and you can hopefully make them feel, because we get this feedback, perhaps less alone in their day, that they feel that there is somebody who they can connect with. And of course, playing all this great music, that’s one of the highlights of the day as well. In my opinion, radio is probably the most intimate form of communication that there is and I don’t even know what to call it. I mean, it’s radio magic, isn’t it? I think that’s one of the reasons why I got into radio in the first place because I was just captivated by the magic of it and how it all works.
And I still don’t understand in all my years, I still don’t understand the whole technical thing behind how it works. But it does work and it can make such a huge difference in people’s lives. And that certainly became very apparent to us during the pandemic and the difference that we made. People texting WhatsApp in fact, we’ve even received handwritten letters from people during the pandemic just thanking us for just being there and providing an escape from the day to day stresses. And that’s what Sunshine does.
And music, I’ve said it before, but it is a proven therapy and it can make such a difference in our lives. Sunshine is a very relaxed station. Our music is very relaxing, it’s very stress free. And I think one of the reasons that Sunshine works and resonates so well with listeners is because not just my style, but all our styles here tends to reflect that we’re all very relaxed in our way of presentation. I’ve always been that way.
What’s your hosting style?
I’ve always been a very relaxed type or try to be a very relaxed type of person because I’m fairly chilled out. So, I mean, that’s who I am behind the microphone as well. I do sometimes like to give my take on things that are going on in the world or the way people behave or just to give my little ten cents on what I think about things. Because I think people like to hear that it’s important for listeners to have an idea of who you really are as an individual. That’s the way that they can connect with you and hopefully feel that they know you in some way.
Do you have any funny stories that happened to you while hosting a show?
Well, there’s been a few funny stories over the years. There is one which sticks out. When I was on Sunshine oh, this must be going back now about four or five years, but Mark Cohen was in town, he was playing Vicar Street and the night that he was playing and I’ve always been such a huge fan of Mark Cohen and I’ve always had a wild imagination. But I did go on the air because I played him and I said how much I was looking forward to going to see the show. And then I just dropped this comment about the fact that if he and I had ever met, we would probably have run off together and me and Marko could have been great kind of thing.
And then I got a text message in from a taxi driver saying that he had Marc Cohen in the back of his car and he turned everything that I said and he thought it was very funny. He didn’t actually offer to meet me or anything like that, sadly. But it was funny. It made me laugh. Made me blush, actually.
What makes Sunshine Radio different from other stations in your opinion?
So what makes Sunshine different to other stations? It’s down to music. It’s down to music therapy. That’s what it’s all about. We are the relaxed station.
We provide a place for people to go to when they want to either forget their stresses or find a way of dealing with their stresses through music, or they just want to hear great, relaxing music that will just make things seem better. And let’s face it, we all have stresses in the day. But sometimes it’s so nice just to turn on the radio, listen to some great music, all of us here, who have been here a long time on Sunshine, so people know us, so they feel that connection with us, because radio is all about connection, after all, and they feel safe listening to us locally. It comes back to connectivity in the end, doesn’t it? That you’re listening to a station that you feel can not only reflect what’s going on in your life, but reflect what’s going on in the community as well.
And if you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, one of those needs is the sense of belonging. We all want to belong, and radio, particularly local radio, provides that. It can reflect and support that sense that we are all in this together. We all do belong. And we are here as your radio station to get you through whatever is going on in your life and just provide some reassurance to help you on your way and entertain you at the same time.
Why is local radio important in your opinion?
The world now, because of technologies, becomes a much smaller place. And we have many listeners all over the world, particularly many who are originally from Dublin and who have family in Dublin, who get in touch with us to ask us to give a shout out to their family. And therefore they all connect, reconnect that way. And it’s such a lovely, lovely thing to do. To reiterate what I said earlier, radio really is such a wonderful and powerful medium of communication.
It can make such a huge difference to people’s lives, helping them to feel connected and stay connected. And it really is my genuine pleasure to be part of the Sunshine team and to be part of the radio industry to help provide that for people. I mean, really, what a lovely, lovely thing to be able to do.
Carol Dooley, Presenter, More Music Drive, Sunshine 106.8 (Dublin)