Today, we lose a genuine Sheffielder and a ‘survivor’ on the city’s radio airwaves. I’m referring to Gerry Kersey, the BBC Radio Sheffield presenter, who presents his last show today (at least for the time being that is).
For a generation, here’s a guy whose voice has been with us since childhood.
Born and brought up on Bellhouse Road, Shiregreen, his first job was at Hadfields, working in the wages department. By his own admission, going around the various departments collecting clock cards helped him develop communication skills. At 18, he was called up for National Service and recruited into the RAF as a telephonist.
He later handled advertising for Stanley Tools, and used amateur dramatics as a side-line, first playing with Shiregreen and District Community Players, followed by Sheffield Playgoers and finally South Yorkshire Operatic Society.
From 1968 he was called in by Radio Sheffield to read stories which led to him getting his own show in the early 1970s.
In 1980, Gerry made the switch to Radio Hallam, taking over Bill Crozier’s request programme, and a year later was the obvious replacement for broadcasting legend Roger Moffat on the weekday mid-morning show.
We should also remember his Sunday offering of Music of the Masters, a weekly classical music programme, a far cry from today’s output at Hallam FM, which the station morphed into.
With split frequencies between AM and FM, Gerry presented Classic Gold’s breakfast show from Sheffield, switching to other slots as it underwent a series of name changes – Great Yorkshire Gold, Great Yorkshire Radio – and finally Magic AM.
Like many ‘old timers,’ Gerry’s time in commercial radio was at an end, and in 1997 he switched back to Radio Sheffield, latterly presenting the Sunday afternoon nostalgia programme, with a generous response from listeners. Indeed, he is of the old school, choosing to acknowledge everybody who writes in.
Gerry is also a talented painter and veteran member of Hallam Art Group and for years has combined stories of his long radio career and artwork with talks to community groups across the city.
This afternoon Gerry, now into his eighties, signs off while BBC local radio stations switches to standardised schedules, making it easier to share output if necessary, during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“It’s not been said to me that it’s my last show,” Gerry told the Sheffield Star. “As far as I’m aware it’s a temporary arrangement. They’ve got to cut down, inevitably brought about by the coronavirus. They’ve changed the system just for now.”
And finally, as somebody who once worked alongside him, I can confirm that off-air he is the same person that we have heard on the radio for the past 52 years. Nice guy, charming, friendly and incredibly humble.
Come back soon.