THE MIDMORNING SHOW
Presenters Paul Claffey & Gerry Glennon
Broadcast Time 11.05 – 13.00 hrs
It would be much easier to detail the programme genres Gerry Glennon hasn't actually done as opposed to the ones he has. Apart from physically ringing the Angelus bell at 12 noon and 6pm he's done it all - living testament to the 'been there, done that and worn the T-shirt' philosophy. He just 'mucks in' and gets the job done with elegance and professionalism yet the Granlahan- born presenter seems to take it all in his stride.
''It might sound cliche but but I've enjoyed every single second of it. Every day brings a fresh challenge and loads of opportunities that I know for a fact people would die for. I get to do it for a living and I thank God for the strength and health he's given me to be part of an organisation that goes beyond the actual definition of local radio. We always strive to go that extra mile and that's what makes us so different.''
Few within Midwest Radio have clocked up as many miles or indeed hours as Gerry has. He has worked in news, current affairs, light entertainment, religion, farming drama, youth programming and outside broadcasts for starters. He has anchored election counts, guided listeners through landslides, hurricanes and power outages and commentated on some of the most historic moments in the west of Ireland history over the past 25 years. His assured and personable broadcast skills have painted the picture with words with the same magic as as an artist strokes a brush on canvass and his calmness and reassurance in moments of emergency and crisis has derailed potential panic.
Apart from his 'on air' exploits he has unearthed some of the west of Ireland's best loved radio characters, put together numerous 'Night with the Stars' concerts, manned the busy Midwest switchboard, navigated technical staff up ladders and masts and even guided a donkey with a radio transmitter on it's back up Croagh Patrick. In more recent years he's taken to the camera on Ireland West Music TV and his acting exploits in the highly acclaimed play 'It's The Real McCoy' clearly illustrates that this man's talents are expansive.
''It would be virtually impossible to put the last 25 years in any sort of order because there's been thousands of events, hundreds of characters, dozens of exceptional 'one - off's' (pardon the pun!) that keeps coming down the conveyer belt all the time. It was, and still is, one adventure after another: Radio has the ability to present you with opportunities so it's really just a case of identifying which ones will relate best to our listeners and going with it.''
That ability - to decipher what will or won't work on radio - is what makes Gerry an integral part of the Midwest Radio success story. These days he continues to produce the Paul Claffey show, is part of the programming management team, researches the twice-weekly Ireland West Music TV programmes and is first in line for any other programmes or events that need attending to. So with 25 years of experience in the 'A to Z' of Midwest Radio under his belt what really stands out?
''Mother Teresa's visit to Knock in 1992 was special. It was a huge day for the West of Ireland and the fact that I got to meet her in person was the icing on the cake. Then there were the landslides in North Mayo on September 19th 2003. What a day that was! We had just officially opened our new studios in Ballyhaunis and all of a sudden we were thrown into this amazing story of bridges, houses and headstones in graveyards being washed away in Belmullet by a massive thunder shower. It was one baptism of fire for our new studio!
The other event that springs to mind was Hurricane Stephen in St. Stephen's Day, 1998. Similar to the landslides it took on a life of it's own for over a week. We were the only source of information or indeed communication for the entire region during that awful time and we really were a life - line for everyone. Our coverage resulted in a national award in recognition of our response at that time.''
Not only has Gerry a distinct turn of phrase that encapsulates perfectly whatever subject matter he's discussing. He also has quite an extraordinary ability to remember dates and actual times of events that took place years ago. Whenever such information is required Mr. Versatility quickly becomes Mr. Google! He's certainly the closest thing to the human equivalent.
Perhaps that 'string to his bow' comes from his passion for reading. He has a phenomenal collection of all sorts of books gathered over many years and it wouldn't be unusual for him to have two if not three books on the go at once! If he ever decides to write his own autobiography about his Midwest Radio experience it may well have to be categorised as fiction - only because people will never believe his experiences were humanly possible!
''I've a great memory and I thank God for it everyday. Sometimes I even surprise myself on that score. As to how many more adventures are left in me remains to be seen. I'm approaching one of the big '0's' soon and when I think about it I keep saying 'Oh Oh' to myself! I'll do the job for as long as I've the health to do it and that I know there's a meaningful role for me here. If not I've no problem saddling up and riding out of town.''
Hold off on the horse just yet. Mr. Versatility has a few more races yet to run!