The Gerry Ryan Show

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The Gerry Ryan Show
The Gerry Ryan Show - Gerry Black Shirt.jpg
Genre Chat / music
Running time 09:00 - midday
Country  Ireland
Language(s) English
Home station RTÉ 2fm
Producer(s) Siobhan Hough[1]
Recording studio Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Air dates March 1988 to 30 April 2010
Audio format FM and Digital radio
Opening theme 2fm signature tune
Website Official site
Podcast The Weekly Ryan

The Gerry Ryan Show (often referred to as The Ryan Show, The G. Ryan Show[2] or GRS) was RTÉ 2fm's mid-morning radio show. Presented by Gerry Ryan until hours before his sudden death, it was launched in March 1988[3] and ran from nine until midday on weekday mornings.

Described by the BBC as "a de facto forum for the nation, the radio equivalent of The Late Late Show on RTÉ television",[4] the show, in its later years, popularised the satire of Nob Nation, spawned the cross-media event Operation Transformation and provided a launchpad for the career of Ryan Tubridy. Siobhan Hough was resident producer of the show.[1]


At the time of his death Ryan had the largest audience on RTÉ 2fm.[5][6] He presented the station's only show which was regularly among the top twenty Irish radio shows in Ireland, a show which commanded around €4-5 million for RTÉ per annum, mainly through advertising (one thirty-second advertisement during the show cost €900).[6] This meant RTÉ would have earned €27,000 through advertising per day.[7]

In March 2008 RTÉ's difficulties in securing a sponsor for a number of their radio shows was placed under the spotlight. The Gerry Ryan Show was one of the shows given away for cheaper than the normal rates.[8]


The show consisted of topical interviews and phone-ins via the "Ryan Line".[9][10] Ryan began by discussing the headlines of that morning's newspapers. Following the news update at 10:00, he introduced that morning's Nob Nation, a satirical slot which featured impersonations of politicians and RTÉ media personnel comparable to rival station Today FM's Gift Grub. GRS was preceded by the ever-changing breakfast slot,[11] currently occupied by The Colm & Jim-Jim Breakfast Show. Stand-in presenters included Gareth O'Callaghan,[12] Rick O'Shea, Jenny Huston, Avril Hoare [13] and even axed breakfast host, Marty Whelan.[14] There were also contributions from Evelyn O'Rourke, Fiona Looney (weekly) and Jenny Huston. Looney and Ryan's fondness for one another led to Looney being dubbed Ryan's "on-air wife".[15]

Willie O'Reilly was the show's executive producer until June 1999, and was chief executive of Today FM at Ryan's death.[16]



Ryan found the time period around the start of GRS exciting - "the whole machine shook... it was like the space-shuttle engines starting up". The defining moment of the show came in 1993. When Levinia Kerwick was raped and her rapist was convicted but given a suspended sentence, she rang GRS to air her feelings.[17] For the first time it occurred to Ryan that the story was more important than the question. Following this, The Ryan Show became something of a national institution as the oldest show still running on 2fm.


In 1997, Ryan's wife Morah, from whom he later separated,[18][19] phoned her husband's show and, under the name Norah, told half a million listeners that her husband dumps his underpants on the floor before hopping into bed every night, doesn't put his clothes on hangers, had not cleaned the dog's mess from the back yard for weeks and never puts the rubbish out for the dustbin men. When she was done she asked her husband: "You would do that now, wouldn't you Gerry?" The interview was nearing its finish when he realised what was happening after hearing his crew laughing in the Montrose control room. An embarrassed Ryan informed his listeners: "This is my wife talking".[20]

“Wouldn't it be great to see Mary Harney with no clothes, running around getting a whip and being put on a bus!”

Ryan attempts to explain to an irate caller, who is upset at the withdrawal of cervical vaccinations for schoolchildren, how ridiculous the proposition of government ministers giving up their state cars would be. He was adamant that such expenses were not to blame for the current recession that grips the Irish nation. [21]

In November 1999, RTÉ broadcaster Paddy O'Gorman "outraged the medical establishment" after an appearance on The Gerry Ryan Show to discuss World AIDS Day when he said that AIDS was not a heterosexual disease, but exclusively a gay one.[22]


Broadcaster and current host of The Late Late Show Ryan Tubridy began his career with The Gerry Ryan Show, working as a teaboy before obtaining his own breakfast show, The Full Irish, a programme which Gerry Ryan once claimed was "the most exciting broadcast at that hour of the morning since Ian Dempsey started on Today FM". Ryan has since stated his belief that it was "a giant act of folly" for Ryan Tubridy to move to RTÉ Radio 1. Ryan viewed Tubridy as "kind of like a son" whom he used to (and still does) lecture frequently. He said he begged him "on bended knees" and "over whiskey" to stay with 2fm but at the same time Ryan was impressed that Tubridy was willing to compete with him directly.[17]

Tubridy has credited Ryan with being "one of the few gentlemen in [RTÉ]", saying he had been "very kind to me when I started out in RTÉ making tea and coffee and right all the way up to the very day I got The Late Late Show job".[23]

In 2004, Ryan was the subject of controversy when he cancelled an interview with the Taoiseach of the time, Bertie Ahern. Ahern had agreed to appear on The Gerry Ryan Show after the delivery of that year's government budget but moments before he set off for RTÉ's Donnybrook headquarters, the show's producers rang his office and informed aides that they no longer wished to interview him. Associates of the Taoiseach were said to be "fuming" over the affair, saying "you can't just ask for an interview with the most powerful man in the country and then ditch him as if he was some stand-in celebrity." [24] Ahern was replaced by RTÉ's economics reporter George Lee.


A complaint against a July 2008 programme which featured an author reading about life as a homosexual prostitute was upheld by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.[25]

On 12 September 2008, Ryan invited listeners to text in their reasons for loving Ireland in an attempt to dispel all the bad-weathered, financially troubling and futuristically worrying news that was dominating the headlines at the time. 50 of these reasons were later published on the show's website. These included the scenery, Guinness, potatoes, the seas and coastline, whiskey, Barry's and Lyon's tea, Kimberley and Mikado biscuits, the smell of turf, red hair, homemade brown bread, oysters, Baileys coffee, hurling, Irish comedians, Irish history, the River Shannon, Podge and Rodge, Irish literature, bacon and cabbage, Irish stew and the GAA.[26] Some of the choices had connections to the show such as the show itself, Riverdance (first introduced to the world by the presenter) and, although not the case at the time, The Late Late Show, which Ryan presented the following month.[27][28]

Despite repeated reshuffles which have seen all other presenters shifted around, RTÉ never moved The Ryan Show from its traditional slot.[29] After a brief period of decline in his audience, all of the recent JNLR figures showed a consistent and significant increase in his listenership - with his audience growing by almost 15% in the course of the past year (The Irish Times, 16 May 2008). The Green Day single "Know Your Enemy" received its first play on Irish radio on The Gerry Ryan Show on 16 April 2009.[30]

During the February 2009 snowfall Ryan reminded his listeners of a similar snowfall in 1982, when the Government even appointed Tánaiste and Labour party leader Michael O'Leary as the Minister for Snow.

". . .the nation seemed to go into collective shock when the biggest snow fall in 40 years hit this country", read Ryan from a report of the chaos caused. "Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald even cut short his sun holiday in the Canary Islands as the country came to a standstill. The snow was up to 1.5 meters deep in some areas and temperatures dropped as low as minus 7 degrees. Gale force easterly winds caused electricity to be knocked out in many areas and businesses and schools closed all across the country."[10]

Ryan attracted a complaint for using "coarse language" whilst debating on blasphemy on 29 April 2009. The presenter asked: "Would it be considered blasphemous if someone said on air that "God is a bollocks?" but the complaint was later rejected.[31]

A 45-year-old caller from Dublin gave an interview in November 2009 about urges he had to stalk, rape and murder women, including air hostesses at Dublin Airport. The interview led to a garda investigation.[32]

Ryan was reported to be upset in March 2010 when his long-serving producer Siobhan Hough was moved to The Colm & Jim-Jim Breakfast Show.[1]

His death on 30 April 2010 brought about the end of The Gerry Ryan Show. Fiona Looney presented the show that day prior to the discovery of his corpse in his Leeson Street apartment.[33][34] Two tribute shows were presented by Evelyn O'Rourke and Brenda Donohue on 1 May and 4 May.[35][36][37][38] Ruth Scott presented the three-hour slot from 5 May until 7 May, described by RTÉ as "an appropriate music programme".[38] The Colm and Lucy Show then began for one month on 10 May.[39][40]

The final JNLR figures for The Gerry Ryan Show, released less than a month after Ryan's death, showed the radio programme was Ireland's most listened to among the 20-44 market at this time.[41] This led to Siobhan O'Connell, writing in The Irish Times‍ '​s financial section, to call any new show in that slot "the biggest prize right now in radio".[42]

Operation Transformation[edit]

The now cross-media event Operation Transformation originated on The Gerry Ryan Show.[43]


In 2010, Ryan launched Undercurrents, a Friday slot airing unsigned unplaylisted Irish acts who then had their details published on his website.[44] The Irish Independent‍ '​s John Meagher disagreed that this was typical of RTÉ 2fm and Gerry Ryan.[45]

A spin-off show of the demoed songs premiered on RTÉ 2XM on 5 March 2010, presented by GRS researcher John Bela Reilly.[46]

Following Ryan's untimely death on 30 April 2010, Meagher hoped Undercurrents would be continued by his replacement as "it was a most worthwhile initiative to help young bands garner significant airplay".[47]


  1. ^ a b c Nolan, Lorna (3 March 2010). "Gerry's shock as right-hand woman moves in reshuffle". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Gerry RYAN a perfect 10". Hot Press. 13 May 1998. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  3. ^ About the Show
  4. ^ "Gerry Ryan 1956-2010". BBC News (BBC). 30 April 2010. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Hundreds attend funeral of Irish radio star Gerry Ryan". BBC News (BBC). 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  6. ^ a b McGreevy, Ronan (8 May 2010). "How do you replace the irreplaceable?". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Sweeney, Ken (1 May 2010). "Radio show was €5m cash cow for RTÉ". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  8. ^ O'Connor, Lisa (9 March 2008). "RTÉ offer discount Ad slots". BNET (originally published in the Sunday Mirror). Retrieved 17 October 2008. 
  9. ^ The Ryan Line was open Mon-Fri 9am-12
  10. ^ a b "Why can't we cope with a little snow?". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). 6 February 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  11. ^ "'Alarmed' RTÉ radio axes Marty's show". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 13 January 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2008. 
  12. ^ Nolan, Larissa (19 December 2010). "So how do I know Gerry Ryan had let cocaine take over his life? Because he offered it to me at his own Christmas party". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2010. What has been conveniently forgotten is that, for many years, Gareth was Gerry’s closest colleague, with the possible exception of Dave Fanning. Gareth was the man he trusted as his deputy, to run the show when he was off. He did this up until 2005, the height of the high-life in Ireland. He knew him very well. 
  13. ^ Avril Hoare's profile on
  14. ^ "RTÉ's top radio stars are told to stagger their summer holidays". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 2 July 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2008. 
  15. ^ Nolan, Lorna (10 May 2010). "Ryans 'will not pick on-air successor'". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 10 May 2010. 
  16. ^ Monaghan, Gabrielle (2 May 2010). "Gerry Ryan: 'Ireland’s cleverest interviewer’". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Ryan, Gerry. Would the Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up (Penguin Ireland, 2008). First published in the The Irish Mail on Sunday, 12 October 2008, p.37
  18. ^ "Ryans go their separate (sic) ways". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 8 March 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  19. ^ "Gerry & Morah Ryan end 26-year marriage". RTÉ. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  20. ^ White, Declan (14 December 2007). "Real shocker for shock jock Gerry!". BNET. Retrieved 12 October 2008.  originally published in the Sunday Mirror
  21. ^ GRS. 6 November 2008.
  22. ^ Robinson, Stephen (2 March 2000). "Homosexual AIDS A Hoax And A Fraud". Hot Press. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2009. In November of last year, O Gorman guested on The Gerry Ryan Show on RTÉ 2FM, the subject of which was World Aids Day, an event designed to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS issues. In the course of the broadcast, O Gorman claimed that AIDS was not a heterosexual disease, and that barring intravenous drug users and heterosexuals who had contracted the virus through blood product transfusions, the disease was exclusively the province of gay men. 
  23. ^ "Tubridy breaks silence on jabs from rival Kenny". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 24 May 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2009. 
  24. ^ Quigley, Maeve (5 December 2005). "DJ GERRY'S BERTIE SNUB". BNET. Retrieved 12 October 2008.  originally published in the Sunday Mirror
  25. ^ "BCC upholds complaint against Gerry Ryan show". The Sunday Business Post. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  26. ^ "50 Reasons To Love Ireland". GRS. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
  27. ^ "Gerry's love of chaos may be a ratings winner for the Late Late Show stand-in". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). 23 October 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  28. ^ "Ryan takes on 'Late, Late' as Kenny mourns mother". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 23 October 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  29. ^ "Saving Gerry Ryan". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 10 March 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2008. 
  30. ^ "Green Day release new single". Hot Press. 16 April 2009. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2009. 
  31. ^ "Watchdog throws out Ryan radio complaint". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 24 July 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  32. ^ Hilliard, Mark (29 November 2009). "Gerry Ryan caller tells of urge to rape women". Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 6 December 2009. 
  33. ^ "Friday 30th April 2010". RTÉ 2fm. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010. [dead link]
  34. ^ O'Brien, Jason; Sweeney, Ken (1 May 2010). "Pulling out of play gave first sign of illness". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  35. ^ McGreevy, Ronan (3 May 2010). "Public pay tribute to the man they saw as a friend". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  36. ^ Healy, Alison (4 May 2010). "Gerry Ryan tribute show to air on 2FM". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  37. ^ Fottrell, Quentin (8 May 2010). "Keeping the Ryan Line open and feeling the full power of radio". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  38. ^ a b Sweeney, Ken (4 May 2010). "Station reveals plans for series of tributes". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  39. ^ "Colm and Lucy set for morning show". RTÉ Entertainment (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  40. ^ Sweeney, Ken (8 May 2010). "Colm and Lucy lined up to replace Ryan". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  41. ^ Finn, Melanie (19 May 2010). "Lucy brushes off the criticism of 2fm slot". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  42. ^ O'Connell, Siobhan (20 May 2010). "Paddy Power sees an edgy and different brand as its best bet". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  43. ^ "OPERATION TRANSFORMATION". GRS. Retrieved 18 October 2008.
  44. ^ "Gerry Ryan to feature unsigned acts". Hot Press. 19 February 2010. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  45. ^ Meagher, John (26 February 2010). "Loaded: Whose choice is right?". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 3 March 2010. "This is exactly what RTÉ 2fm is good at doing," Ryan gushes. "It's what we have been doing since the early days of the Dave Fanning Show and we are continuing to do it." Er, well actually, Gerry, 2fm have not been doing it. Just ask any number of bands out there who have struggled to get their music played on RTÉ's so-called "youth" station. 
  46. ^ "Gerry Ryan demo spin-off debuts tomorrow on 2xm". Hot Press. 4 March 2010. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  47. ^ Meagher, John (7 May 2010). "Loaded: Blog licence fee rumpus rages on". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 7 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
RTÉ 2fm's mid-morning show
1988 – 2010
Succeeded by
The Colm and Lucy Show