Ewe say it best when you say nothing
RADIO REVIEW:LAST WEEK CAME with a stark reminder of how far we have come in 20 years. Moncrieff (Newstalk, weekdays) carried an item that harked back to the horrors of yesteryear, now thankfully consigned to history. Sean Moncrieff’s weekly natter with Mairead Lavery of the Irish Farmers Journal evoked unpleasant memories of a bygone Ireland, when radio audiences lived in constant fear of graphic advertisements purveying treatments for livestock maladies.
Many’s the listener in the 1980s who lost their appetite as the breakfast-time airwaves were filled with messages about the symptoms of liver fluke and the menace of bovine mastitis. One of the few positive legacies of the boom years is that we are spared such aural emetics these days.
Or so it seemed. As Lavery spoke to Moncrieff about the Sheep 2012 open day in Athenry, in Co Kildare, the ghosts of agri-terrors past came flooding back. She began by giving an upbeat assessment of the sheep-farming sector. “The good news is that people are eating more lamb.” So far, so inoffensive, though presumably lambs do not view this development in such a positive light.
Then Moncrieff asked about the ovine affliction of blowfly. His guest explained how this insect lays eggs on the sheep, with grim consequences for the animal and, indeed, the listener. She cheerfully described how the eggs turn into maggots that bore under the ewe’s skin. By the time Lavery cautioned, “If you’re eating your tea, don’t listen,” it was too late.
Lavery then outlined the way that unshorn fleeces can cause sheep to roll helplessly on to their backs, causing crows to “pull out their intestines and take out their eyes”.
For those enjoying their postprandial afternoon slump, this was gamey fare indeed.
Leaving aside the perils of nausea, however, Lavery’s jovially visceral slot was one of those unexpectedly engaging items that make Moncrieff’s show worth tuning into, providing a glimpse into a world otherwise overlooked by daytime radio.
In contrast, it was hard to escape the subject of soccer, even after the Republic had long returned from Euro 2012. The appearance of John Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, on Tubridy (2FM, weekdays) was more revealing about Ryan Tubridy’s interview technique than it was about the Irish team’s campaign, however.
As he gently lobbed one softball query after another in Delaney’s direction, Tubridy sounded desperate to avoid anything that might offend rather than to get answers about Ireland’s dismal performance. “You know I’m not great at the [soccer] lingo; I’m a supporter in the best sense of the word,” the presenter said. “But what I was hearing was that Trap should have taken a chance with some of the younger lads.”