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Monday, 20 January 2014


This blog has covered all sorts of things in its young life - three-years or so.  Specifically, it has enjoyed occasional appraisals of success, not just about business but further afield too.  

I take the Mick out of many things - my blog, my rules - but I do enjoy reading about, listening to and watching successful people in their chosen careers.  Even if I don't like their genres or public profiles, there is something wondrous, charming and uplifting about certain successes.

Z-list celebrities seem to be with us like death and taxes, but as with death and taxes, we thumb our noses.  I enjoy the cream of the crop.  The ones who get there because they truly deserve it and because they are genuine in their approaches to the work they do.

I listen to a lot of radio stations, programmes and presenters.  After 40 years or more, I think I have an idea of the real deal and today - 20 January 2014 - I was delighted to listen to a success that warms the cockles.

Kerry McLean started her new Monday to Thursday afternoon show on BBC Radio Ulster.  So what, I hear some cry.  Well, let me explain.

I was born in Belfast, I grew up there, I worked there and it has shaped my personality, humour and emotions.  I love all that is good about the city - my family, my friends, the arts, the decency of the people who want a good life for themselves and their kids. (I despise the other stuff - but that's for another time.)

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I have listened to Radio Ulster for years, enjoying the Black and Decker interview style of Stephen Nolan, the (missed) anarchic genius of Gerry Anderson, the intelligent growl of David Dunseith (RIP), the incisiveness of Wendy Austin, the bundle of energy that is Hugo Duncan, the effortless Gerry Kelly, the encyclopedic and enthusiastic music maestro Ralph McLean (heard that name earlier), the artistic expertise and charm of Marie-Louise Muir, the smokey, late-night Cherrie McIlwaine, the easy listening guru John Bennett, and on it goes. It is an exceptional radio station with an exceptional cast. Oh, I forgot Walter Love and Lynette Fay and probably many more.

I have been fortunate enough to have experienced the station a little bit as interviewee on programmes presented by the cool, calm, collected John Toal, as well as by Wendy Austin and Gerry Kelly.
A couple of years ago, I latched on to Kerry McLean who presented the early morning Saturday show, Weekend Extra.  She had the friendliest, warmest presenting style and, in this age of Twitter et al, she had the grace not only to read most messages on the air but also to send a little message back to the senders after her show had finished.

Now, Kerry’s talent, skills and potential have been realised with a primetime afternoon show on the station.  She has succeeded the excellent Alan Simpson (a champion of my wee poetry books) and, on this first day, has shown why she is a wonderful broadcaster.
In a trail interview with Hugo Duncan prior to her show, he used the word “warmth” and that is almost it in a nutshell. 

Radio exposes pretentiousness because the ears can pick up an ego or a fraud.  Kerry McLean’s warmth of personality and down-to-earth-feet-on-the-ground style will win her more and more listeners as time goes on. 

I only know Kerry through Twitter and her radio work.  But, on the basis of what I hear and the occasional responses to my witterings on Twitter, I know her enough to believe that she will be a huge success in her new show.

I congratulate her on day one and I look forward to listening when I can.  A great success. Well done Kerry. The real deal.

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