Ballina will say a Big Hello to Cleveland, Ohio, this Sunday, June 19, when Quinn Irish Radio transmits its hugely popular Sunday show live from Ballina Manor Hotel in partnership with Ballina Community Radio BCFRM.
The presenter will be Gerald M. Quinn, an award-winning broadcaster and community leader born in Garracloon, a few miles from Ballina. Gerry is credited with playing a key role in keeping the Irish in the Cleveland area in touch with their heritage. A community activist, he was behind the founding of Cleveland’s Irish American Club – East Side in 1978, and the Mayo Society in 1995.
His weekly show, Gerry Quinn Irish Radio (WHK 1420), first aired in 1980, and has received the Achievement in Radio Award (A.I.R) and was named Best Ethnic Program in Northeast Ohio.
Gerry attended Garracloon NS where his father, Liam, was schoolmaster, and he is married to Nellie Stack of Irish parentage; they have one daughter, Mary Ellen, and five sons, Patrick, Sean, Kevin, Gerald and Michael.
Over the years Gerry has escorted people on tours of Ireland and, after much campaigning, has succeeded in getting CIE International to add Ballina to its itinerary for a stopover. The group of thirty will stay in Ballina Manor Hotel on this occasion. It has always been Gerry’s ambition to broadcast a show from Ballina back to Cleveland and now, with the technological assistance of Ray Forde and team at Ballina Community Radio, this ambition will be realised, and he will interview guests from the locality and feature performances from local musicians and singers. As the show is being broadcast to Greater Cleveland, it will also go out live at home on Ballina Community Radio from 3pm to 5pm.
While in Ballina, Gerry Quinn will lay a wreath at the Famine Girls Memorial on Pearse Street at 6pm on Sunday 19th June. The Cleveland Mayo Society was one of the largest contributors to the fundraising campaign.
The broadcast is being supported locally by Michael Larkin, Terry Reilly and Mayo North Tourism, and is seen locally as a major boost for the region as it recovers from the impacts of Covid -19. The Cleveland area is rich in Mayo diaspora, and the broadcast is seen as an opportunity to invite them home to experience the warm hospitality of Ballina, Belmullet and North Mayo and West Sligo, in particular for the Ballina 2023 celebrations.
Quinn Irish Radio can be heard in the US on AM 1420 The Answer Cleveland, while Ballina Community Radio (BCRFM), a non-profit community radio broadcaster, goes out on 101.9 MHz FM.