Gerry Ryan was a giant on Irish radio and there's no doubt that people here are shocked by his sudden death last week. I still find it hard to believe that he won't ever again fill three hours daily on the national airwaves.
To be honest, I wasn't a big fan. Often his show ventured from earthy to bawdy to crude. I usually bailed at earthy.
Other times he dealt with stuff I simply had no interest in - the everyday little things that are important when they happen to you. He'd take calls from people who were having trouble getting a passport or dealing with noisy neighbors or a cheating auto mechanic. I know a lot of people liked his personal approach to radio - it was like a one to one conversation with 300,000 people - but it's just that when I listen to the radio I prefer a discussion on politics or economics or sports.
Having said all that, there was one aspect of Gerry Ryan's persona - and, therefore, his radio show - that I really liked: Ryan was no anti-American. In fact, I'd say that Ryan was the most pro-American radio or television personality in Ireland. For that reason, I'm going to miss his presence.
He wasn't a ra-ra, 'Yay America' guy, but Ryan didn't take his cue from those sneering arbiters of correctness who seem to like nothing better than taking a shot at America. Sure he could be critical, but you were never in doubt that Ryan perceived America as a force for good in the world. If there's someone who can replace Ryan in that regard I haven't heard him or her yet.