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On your bike!
That’s the routine for the incredibly busy Galway Bay Fm DJ Jon Richards, who also handles on the spot traffic reports from his spanking new Honda. And he’s up for a Meteor Award this year too!
John Donellan, 06 Mar 2009
Pirate radio was a big deal in 1986. Back then, for the musically obsessed Jon Richards, landing a presenting job on a pre-legal local station meant he was living the dream. Only two problems though: his lift to work didn’t turn up and the station was twenty-two miles away. So what did he do? “I cycled,” he tells me. “I hopped up on the push bike and cycled in freezing fog to Tuam, made it with a minute to spare, did my two hour show and couldn’t sit down for a week, my arse was that sore.”
Jon’s on a slightly better class of a bike now: to be precise, a magenta Honda Goldwing, purchased for him by Galway Bay FM to provide live traffic reports from around the city every morning and evening. In fact, GBFM are the only station in the country providing this service. Today, I’m along for the ride.
Jon is on-air, wrapping up 3-5 Live!. He completes the last link, plugs his Meteor nomination – he’s been nominated for the second year running in the Best Regional DJ category – and we’re off.
It’s Gridlock 101 for me as I gradually realise how it all connects up. One idiot blocking a roundabout can cause trouble a mile further back. When I see the impending chaos, I ask if there is a hushed booth somewhere with quietly efficient people directing the ebb and flow of humanity. Does Galway have a traffic management system? “I’m it,” he roars with a laugh as we weave through another snarl up. “This is the only accurate information. It’s a great service for the city.”
We’re having the craic, when we have a complete Father Ted moment – you know the one where Jon Kenny is the host at Eurosong? When he walks on stage and becomes the consummate professional? Without even telling me to shut up, Jon goes live on air, rounds up everything we’ve seen, offers alternative routes, mentions a crash on the Tuam Road and lets people know when they’ll be moving again. How does he do it? He’s not sure. “My partner tells me, I’m like a woman because I can multi-task.”