Goodbye Shaun and thanks for all the memories

AWARD winning radio host Shaun Doherty will step down from his post on Highland Radio this afternoon, Friday, after almost twenty-seven years in the slot. Doherty, whose show won a PPI Radio Award in 2001 while he was nominated for broadcaster of the year in 2006, has been a defining voice for Highland Radio since the station first went on air in March 1990.
A native of Stoke-on-Trent, Shaun (52) was also Sales and Marketing manager at the station while he worked as its Promotions Manager for many years too. He has indicated that he will travel a bit before looking into ‘other areas’.
One of his work colleagues said this week that Shaun has been a bastion of all the things community radio stands for – supporting local arts, culture and music as well as providing a look at what is going on across Donegal each day with his own inimitable style.
“Twenty-seven years is a long time to dedicate to presenting radio and the whole station wishes Shaun the best for his future career. Since he announced his decision to leave us listeners have taken the time to thank him for being there every morning and for being instrumental in making Highland Radio what it is today,” she said.
Looking back over the 6,000 plus shows over those years, the memories come tumbling out. He’s interviewed Presidents, Heads of State, Olympic champions, stars of film and soap opera as well as many, many ‘ordinary’ people.
Indeed, it was Shaun’s reassurance, that collected, compassionate voice that got so many of those people through the interview.
There have been so many highlights over those years, times when Shaun Doherty carefully guided us through the most terrible of atrocities to others when he giggled with young school children during a Christmas Show when Santa came calling.
It was a voice we all got to know very well over the years as listeners.
“Shaun loved nothing better that doing one on one interviews. He enjoyed people telling their stories – local people,” his colleague said.
“His voice guided us through the news, even the most awful stories, by reminding us through his soft tone and sensibility that we’re all in this together,” she added.
It was Shaun who managed to get an eighty-year-old lady to open up about being sexually abused by a neighbour at a young age. It was on Highland Radio that she felt comfortable enough to speak publicly about the ordeal for the first time.
As recently as this week, he spoke live on air to a young man who risked his life by saving a girl from a burning house in Newtowncunningham. At the time of the Omagh Bomb atrocity in August 1998, the Shaun Doherty Show came live from Cockhill Chapel as three Buncrana boys, Oran Doherty (8), Sean McLaughlin (12) and James Barker (12), who were killed in the blast, were laid to rest.
On Friday, October 30, 2015 Kathleen Ruddy and her daughter Mary joined Shaun in studio to discuss palliative care in the Donegal Hospice. Less than a month later the Letterkenny mother passed away. Even in illness, Kathleen did her utmost to encourage others.
In May 1996, there was uproar over the decision to move the Little Angels Plot, which contained the remains of premature babies, from the grounds of Letterkenny Hospital to Leck Cemetery – a very delicate story which Shaun and his team handled with due care and consideration.
Road Safety was another important issue which raised its head on his show over the years.
In July 2010, eight men were killed outside Buncrana in one of the worst road accidents in the history of the state. Seven of the dead, from three parishes across Inishowen, were in a car which collided with another vehicle on a notorious stretch of road before ploughing into a third.
On another occasion, a young girl who had heard about the importance of wearing seat-belts on Highland, nagged her father into wearing his seat-belt one morning before they left home. Shortly afterwards, their vehicle was involved in a collision – one which could have been much worse had they not been wearing seat-belts.
They were on Highland talking about the accident a few days later, a conversation which ultimately led to a National Road Safety Campaign.
The Shaun Doherty Show didn’t always come live from the studio at Pinehill Industrial Estate. He broadcast from places as far part as London, Boston and Philadelphia while also did a show from Riva as Latvia hosted the 2003 Eurovision Song Concert. Ireland’s entry that year was Lifford man Mickey Joe Harte.
The Christmas Show and its big giveaways was another highlight as was Santa’s visit to children in Letterkenny University Hospital.
Famous guests included Peter Mandelson, Mo Mowlem, Mary McAleese and Michael D Higgins.
Another interview, with the wife of the late broadcaster Derek Davis, led to Shaun travelling to Africa as a volunteer with the Ray of Sunshine group, a project which he is very passionate about. He was back in Africa over the New Year on a personal visit while he is committed to returning to the continent with the Ray of Sunshine group in 2018.
He’s also done a lot of charity work closer to home. On one day alone the Shaun Doherty show raised in excess of €30,000 for a wheelchair and a mobility vehicle for one young man with a disability.
As promotions manager, he was ‘front and centre’ for the Highland Radio Concerts which were held between the Mount Errigal and the Clanree Hotels in Letterkenny while he also led trips abroad to Las Vegas and California.
Shaun Doherty will step away from the host chair on the Shaun Doherty Show for the last time at 1pm this afternoon. Tune in you never know what special guests might join the show.

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The award winning Shaun Doherty Show has been Highland Radio’s flagship programme ever since he took over the mid-morning...


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