Just a minute - when will Larry get his due?

Larry Gogan

Larry Gogan

 

Listen to his show. You won't hear him using the "I" or "me" pronouns unless he really has to. You won't hear him talking about some glam party he was at the other night. You won't hear him boasting about hanging out with his so-called celebrity mates.

Instead, you'll just hear music, topped and tailed by word-perfect, effortless links. No wonder his show continues to pull in the listeners and is omnipresent in the Top 10 most popular Irish radio programmes. When we talk about a master at work, we mean someone like Gogan.

In 2004, despite the efforts of the 2FM manage- ment to marginalise him, Gogan continues to show up the majority of his 2FM workmates for the bland, egotistical and careless wireless jockeys they are. On a station which can't decide if it's a commercial pop station, a frat house for the likes of Gerry Ryan or a would-be cutting-edge indie groove machine, Gogan remains a shining light.

If I were the Phantom FM people, I'd give Larry a call and bring him onboard. People may talk about what other radio people have done for Irish rock, but Gogan championed new Irish music on daytime schedules when it was neither popular nor profitable.

Chart-topping Irish acts on your radio may be the norm today, yet there was a time when your Bell X1s, your Ashs, your Frames and your Snow Patrols were not even allowed inside the door of a national station during daylight hours for fear they would unsettle moustache-waxing disco-jockeys.

Larry Gogan: A life in pictures

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While Gogan may be associated by many with the Just A Minute quiz, his ears have always been open to new music. Down the years, his shows have featured the good, the bad and, naturally, the downright ugly of new Irish releases.

But, of course, when it came to handing out plaudits and kudos and plaques for playing Irish music, none came Gogan's way. He probably just shrugged and got on with the job, but some recognition of what he was doing would have been nice.

During an interview a few years ago, he talked about how he happily listened to the dozens of new releases which came his way every week. Like all true music fans, Gogan is helplessly, hopelessly, blissfully addicted to new sounds. "Without new music, it all just becomes pap," he said. It's hard to imagine Ryan "Lounge Boy" Tubridy or Gareth "Dear God in heaven, what is he talking about now?" O'Callaghan sharing such sentiments.

Yet, as with the late John Peel, the presence of Gogan on the airwaves allows radio people and music industry folk to pay lip service to certain ideas. Many who eulogised Peel hadn't listened to his show in years, a fact you could tell by how they were namechecking acts he hadn't played in decades. Peel was about new music, and those who had stopped listening to new music a long time ago felt little real empathy with Peel beyond some sentimental, nostalgic connection to their youth.

Many commentators said they felt a little better knowing that Peel was out there playing new music. Peel himself would probably have felt better if they'd bothered to tune in and try to get their heads around the music he had chosen to play.

Gogan would be the first to admit that he's not from the John Peel school and we're certainly not comparing the two. However, there's no escaping the sense that his continued presence on the 2FM schedules is a sop on the part of the station controllers. The chiefs know that there would be blue murder from all quarters if Gogan was simply removed from his post so, having savagely scalped his slot, they can still proclaim "we love Larry!" because he's still on air.

If they really thought that highly of him, they'd give him more time to work his magic, but that's not going to happen. Their loss and some other cute radio station's possible gain.