Ireland lost one of its best know media personalities yesterday. Gerry Ryan was larger than life. He was the kind of radio presenter that you either loved or hated.
Being honest, I prefered Ryan when he was on his late night shows in the late eighties. On these shows, he introduced me to Deacon Blue, Prefab Sprout, lots of Irish bands too I didn’t know. I remember fondly as he played Aidan Walsh’s ‘Community Games’, the song was so bad it was good.
I remember not being happy when Ryan was moved from his night time slot to the 9am slot. Within weeks, he turned the show into his own and became one of Ireland’s biggest radio stars.
He did some television too, most recently Ryan Confidential. I always thought though, he never got a real break with TV, he never got a real cracker of a TV show. I remember though Gerry Ryan and Dave Fanning were team captains on the eighties music show ‘Number One’. RTE One, Monday (I think) at 7. I always watched.
I met Gerry a few times, seemed like a nice guy. I remember when I was 18 doing work experience in RTE, being sent to look for something in the video library. Gerry, producer Philip Kampf (who was producer on the show I was working on) and a group of others were in Connemara for a week, without supplies. This lead to the infamous “Lambo’ controversy where a lamb was killed for food.
At 53, Gerry’s gone way too soon and is a major loss to RTE, the media and really to Ireland. My sympathies go out to his kids, Moira, family and partner.