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Adored for his no-nonsense style and accused of shock jock tactics in equal measure, this year Victor Barry celebrates a decade at Red FM. The host of Cork Talks Back steps away from the mic for a chat with Craig Fitzpatrick. The topics? Exploding penises, indecent exposure – and planning to piss on the Blarney Stone with Russell Brand.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 13 Jun 2012
“Another mad one!” It’s a little after noon and Victor Barry is describing the Red FM show he has just finished. He’s spent the past three hours – finger on the pulse of the People’s Republic – discussing the issues that matter, lending a light touch where needed and always keen to tackle meatier matters.
This year marks a decade-long relationship with Red FM. For much of it, Barry was a nighttime man, presenting Cork Talks Back in the evening and making it compulsive after-dark listening. The decision last year to move him to mornings gave him control over one of the most crucial time-slots in broadcasting – and he has gone on to win listeners and influence people impressively. It’s been a time of change in other ways too: in 2010, Barry and his partner welcomed their first child into the world.
Victor is a product of the expansion of radio that happened during the 1990s. He began his career in college radio. A long time fan of the self-styled ‘King Of All Media’ Howard Stern (he’d listen to Stern’s show on dodgy online streams and even ran an Irish fansite), his first stint behind the mic came with a modest slot discussing video games on UCC’s Cork Campus Radio. When the presenter left, Barry got the main gig and RedFM soon came knocking. “The rest,” he chuckles, “is history.”
He’s injected a healthy dose of Stern’s often outrageous style into his own on-air persona and is not a man to dilute his views or shy away from controversial topics. From that comes the ‘shock jock’ tag but, as Barry is fully aware, those that are complaining the loudest are also the ones listening the longest. So he’s a joy to interview, waxing lyrical on illustrious past guests, and offering unique insights into what makes Corkonians tick.
So Victor, anything different on the show today?
From pregnancy cravings to Joe Rooney answering relationship questions. I don’t know if you can get much different. Joe was great actually, he came up with quirkier responses than other people that we might have in.