Gerry Ryan's death marks end of a radio era in Ireland


It's the end of an era in Ireland with the sad news that Irish broadcaster Gerry Ryan (above) has died.

Ryan breathed new life into the staid national broadcaster RTE with his irreverent brand of humor which served him well in his early years.

Who can forget 1987's "Lambo" incident in which Ryan and his crew claimed to have been forced to kill and eat a lamb after getting stuck in the wilds of Connemara.

His morning show burst onto the national airwaves in 1988 and it shook up the usual order of things.

This was the late 1980s and the Church was still very much in charge in Ireland.

Certain things were not to be discussed on Irish radio but Ryan pursued certain
topics like a crazed terrier.

He will be remembered by many people for his sometime cringe-inducing segments on sex, bodily functions and food. Famously, he once googled images of tapeworm porn!

But he could also stop the clowning around and create a quiet stunning show.

His 1993 show which featured rape victim Lavinia Kerwick quietly describing her ordeal was classic radio. Ryan stopped asking questions and let the Kilkenny woman describe what it was like to be raped and then sit in the court room while her attacker was tried. Kerwick sacrificed her anonymity that day to highlight the way rape victims were left out of the trial process.

RTE legend Gay Byrne paid tribute to Ryan today saying he was a "terrific friend, a terrific drinker and a terrific guy to be with. He was tremendously arrogant in his views and opinions and he was very funny about it at the same time. You couldn't possibly take offense.

"He lived life to the full, he was full of fun and hilarity and pure bloody devilment. That is how I will remember him."

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