Living The Dream

By Gina Lu

I can remember the day I realised I wanted to work in radio like it was yesterday.  One day in Transition Year, my class were asked what we would like to do as work experience.  The minute the question was asked, panic set in!  In my younger years I went through many different professions in my head.  Some of these were: writer, artist and thanks to The X-Files, an FBI agent.  I quickly went through all these professions and then asked myself what I liked doing.  I liked listening to music, singing, watching television and listening to radio.   Then I thought to myself, “What goes on behind the scenes in radio?” That’s when it hit me that I may have found my niche.  Thankfully I had enough time to think it through as I was the last person to be asked.

Following on from that day, I got to work in RTÉ Lyric FM.  It was an amazing experience.  I learned so much about what goes on behind the scenes from editing to production to connections with newspaper.  The roles were quite varied.  I quickly came to discover that I liked the editing side of radio.

Six years and a few setbacks later I did my first college course in Radio Programme Production.  Nowadays you’ll find me in a position in radio that I am THOROUGHLY enjoying.  Since January of this year, I am co-presenting a radio show called Community Brunch with Mike O’Connor (former producer of Limerick’s Got Talent). Community Brunch is part of the schedule on Limerick City Community Radio which was set up in 2013.

Mike and I have a great laugh on-air bouncing chit-chat off each other.  Mike has great patience for me and my eccentricities i.e. my love of Celine Dion and the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast.  On the 10th March, during my ‘Daily Double’ where I play two songs of my choice, he let me bore him with my love of Celine Dion as I got to play ‘How Does A Moment Last Forever’ from the 2017 live-action version of ‘Beauty and The Beast’.  The following week we were playing music from Irish artists and bands – as it was the week of Paddy’s Day.  So for my ‘Daily Double’ I played music from the ‘Beauty and The Beast’ original soundtrack in preparation for the release of the live-action film on Paddy’s Day.  These were not the only times Mike left me off to display my madness as on the 30th March…. on what I always call ‘Celine Day’, we played MANY songs by Celine Dion for her birthday!

On Community Brunch, Mike and I chat about current affairs, news, weather, traffic reports and horoscopes. We play music and we have special guests. Some of the guests that made a real impression on me are:

Singer-songwriter Barry Jay Hughes who hails from Monaghan.  Barry gave me a copy of his promotional CD ‘Tried and Treasured’ which I listened to and was totally blown away by.  I hope I can work with this very talented guy one day.

Lesley Anne Liddane who is a part of Chez Le Fab which is a dog friendly Wine Bar and Arts Café located in the heart of Limerick City.  Lesley Anne is also the daughter of Jim Liddane.  Jim played a big part in the start-up of RLO (Radio Limerick One) back in the day.

Make-up artist Louise Griffin who popped in for a chat about all things beauty.  Louise can be contacted through: Facebook (Louise Makeup – Blog), Instagram (louloubell8_mua) and Snapchat (LouiseMakeup1).  She is also in the process of setting up a website so keep an eye out for that! 😉

Eddie McNamara and Joe Hayes, two former butchers who were involved in the research for ‘Pigtown’, a book released in 2015 about the famous history of Limerick’s bacon industry.  The book was published by Limerick City Council, written by Ruth Geary and edited by Maura Cronin and Jackie Hayes.  It was produced in association with Mary Immaculate College.  It is well worth a read.

Genealogist, Ursula Callaghan came onto the show to talk about all things historical including a walking tour she was planning with a group of people through Limerick city.   After the interview, I met with Ursula to talk about the level of access that was available on the route of her walking tour.  We both learned a lot from that meeting.  Ursula learned how to make her tour all-inclusive for wheelchair users.  I learned that it’s not easy for a wheelchair user to learn about the history of their city.  It has also shown me how far along we HAVE come since people with disabilities either didn’t survive or were completely shunned from society.

During the week of the Eurovision we had Mike Shinnors in studio.  Mike Shinnors is a Eurovision-Fanatic who came in to give us a lowdown on all things Eurovision.  He spoke about his trip to Athens in 2006 and Dusseldorf in 2011 to see the Eurovision and gave us feedback on the atmosphere in the cities at that time. He also spoke about the evolution of the Eurovision since it started, in regards to how songs are performed on stage, the inclusion of more countries to the competition and the fact that it seems to have become more universal from a language viewpoint.  He also spoke about why he thought Ireland were not as successful as we used to be given that we have the most Eurovision wins in its history.  Mike Shinnors is also owner and manager of ‘Mike at Holiday Experts’ which can be found on Facebook.

Rachel Prior (aka Rachy P) who has been involved in Limerick’s Got Talent over the years came in to chat about her experience in the British and Irish Modern Music Institute.  If you want to get connections in the music industry, this is one of the places to be.  She also spoke about the Open Day for buskers, which was held on 10th June in aid of Enable Ireland.  I also took part in this event

We conducted a phone interview with Red Hurley to promote his concert in the Redemptorist Church in Limerick on the 30th June which is in aid of Clare’s Wish Foundation. We spoke to Red about his career down through the years.  A week after we spoke with him, we spoke with Kevin Clancy, founder of Clare’s Wish Foundation.  Kevin Clancy gave me a massive surprise by inviting me to the concert to sing one of my own songs.

If there was one thing I would hope you have learned from reading this article, it’s to never give up on what you want in life. It sounds like a predictable response but it really works.  Life really has a way of fulfilling dreams.

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