A MICHIGAN radio show that focused on East Clare and was produced by local man, Eoin O’Hagan has been chosen for an award at the Michigan Association of Broadcasters’ upcoming Broadcast Excellence Awards.
The Wild Michigan Outdoors radio show did a programme on Lough Derg, entitled Wild Ireland and it was submitted for review by an out-of-state broadcast association to the awards.
The programme has been selected out of all entries in the Special Weekend Programme category for the Broadcast Excellence Awards, which take place on May 3.
Eoin O’Hagan explained that efforts to produce this programme began two and a half years ago, when he met a producer of the Wild Michigan Outdoors show in Doonbeg, who put him in touch with the presenter, Duran Martinez. Eoin’s pitch was to highlight East Clare as a tourism destination for anglers in America.
“I sent Duran emails, photographs and videos, teasing him about Lough Derg and I told him how empty it was in the summer, when the lakes in America would be jam-packed with boats and jet skis,” he said. His tactic worked and Eoin and Padraig Giblin of Derg Isle organised for Duran Martinez to come to East Clare.
“I produced a two-hour live recording in Padraig Giblin’s Celtic Hut in Derg Isle. It was recorded there over several hours in front of an enthusiastic and interested audience of locals, who were fed smoked salmon and eel with brown bread, washed down with pints of Guinness. We had about a dozen guests who came and did interviews, we had singing, we had storytelling. It went down really well,” he said.
The programme was broadcast on May 16, 2015 over 13 stations on the Michigan Talk Network to over one million listeners. It featured music from Seamus Bugler, Kate Purcell, Clíodhna Donnellan and Denise Glass, all East Clare musicians.
“Duran made a really good radio show out of it. He put in the show to the Michigan Radio Awards and we heard on Friday that it won a merit award,” Eoin said.
This merit award means it is in contention for the overall Best In Category award at a ceremony on May 3 and Eoin hopes he will be bringing back the “piece of glass”.
Speaking to The Clare Champion from Michigan, Duran Martinez said, “We hope to win Best In Category but will receive at the very least the merit award.”
Either way, he said, they are very excited to be recognised for this special edition of the show. Wild Michigan Outdoors has won two such merit awards in the past, as well as two of the Best in Category for best show personality/team.
“This, however, is what I feel to be the best show we have ever aired. The kind people of County Clare and all of Ireland were amazing. Not a day goes by that we do not think of hoisting a pint with friends at Jakko’s or fishing the waters of Lough Derg. It has left such a mark on Sara Marie (producer/researcher) and I that we speak of our return trip often,” Duran said.
He added that Eoin will be the one accepting the award on behalf of County Clare and the Wild Michigan Outdoors radio show.
“When Duran came over on the Friday morning and went home on the Tuesday, his feet never touched the ground. We had him moving all the time, between eating and drinking and fishing and cycling. We did pike fishing with Richard McDermott, who is a former European pike fishing champion, and Nicolai Rotari,” Eoin said.
He said he feels the programme helped to break Ireland down for American tourists and helped them to discover East Clare and all its tourism potential.
“We talked about the scenery and people’s heartfelt descriptions of fishing and walking and we had so many people on the show who talked about East Clare in a natural way. It was not scripted; they just talked about the place they love,” he concluded.