That broadcaster Larry Gogan’s death was announced on the day his RTÉ colleague Marian Finucane was buried, and two months after his peer Gay Byrne died, invites inevitable if misplaced comparisons.
Where Finucane and Byrne were challenging agents for change as well as entertainers, Gogan was, during a 50-year career, particularly comforting and companionable.
His stock in trade was warmth and conviviality — sentiments he conveyed with genuine, infectious conviction.
He used his honey-glazed voice and easy laugh to turn lightness of touch into an art form. If he wanted to change the world he wanted to make it a happier, warmer, more considerate place.
He did this with a kind of humility that was, and is, exceptional in today’s world.
It is impossible to deny him the accolade offered by one of his peers who said he was “the greatest music DJ in Irish broadcasting history”.
Gogan, Finucane, and Byrne left impressive legacies and challenges for their successors. In one way Gogan leaves the greater challenge — his humanity and his warmth, his modesty and his endless interest in others, his avuncular attention that cannot be faked. He used broadcasting as a conduit to reveal the real power and the curative power of kindness.
It must add to the sense of loss provoked by his death that the core value he championed — proactive kindness — struggles to maintain a real presence in today’s social media world. What a challenging legacy he left for all of us.