“They always say, ‘you know, jeez, you’re a way nicer guy than you are on the show,'” Gormley said. “I always laugh because I’m not sure what that means.”
Listeners tend to judge radio host John Gormley based on his on-air persona and often leave comments on his social media.
A listener from Emerald Lake posted, “I compare him to Fox News. No compassion for people, no generosity, no tolerance.” Another from Regina wrote, “Although I don’t always agree with you, I do enjoy arguing with my radio on a regular basis. Love your show!”
Gormley acknowledges on-air that he engages in brisk debates, but his approach in real life is different.
“I’ve always really believed in the value of hard work and in my personal life, this is funny because sometimes it’s distinct from my show persona, being kind is important,” Gormley said. “Kindness will get you everywhere that hard work will.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re a liberal or a conservative if you live in Saskatchewan you’ve probably heard of John Gormley.
Gormley is one of the loudest voices in Saskatchewan because of his four-hour weekday radio show. This fall will mark his 20th anniversary as the host of John Gormley Live on Rawlco Radio. He covers the big topics of the day and never shies away from a conversation, challenging everyone from his audience to his producer on the subjects that make Saskatchewan tick.
“I’m hoping (the show is) a place where people can speak and communicate openly and with diverse opinions and share a perspective on Saskatchewan, on Canadian life,” Gormley said.
When Gormley was young he did not think John Gormley Live would be wildly popular or that he would ever be making waves in the prairies. He wanted to be either a dentist or a lawyer. After a short period in broadcasting, he pursued a career in law. He was a member of parliament for the Battlefords and Meadow Lake area for one term in 1984.
But, it was in radio that he found love. “I think of all the media, (radio) still, as it was decades and decades ago, the ultimate theater of the mind,” Gormley said. “In radio, you can’t see things. In radio, you can only contextualize with the power of words and the intonation in the voice.”
He’s interviewed a variety of people in all sorts of positions, from politicians like Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and President George W. Bush to celebrities like Bill Cosby and Bob Newhart.
Gormley thinks the most memorable interviews he’s done are the ones that resonate emotionally.
A few years ago he interviewed an advocate for organ donation.
“She told the story, moment by moment, what happened when her teenage daughter was hit and killed on a highway,” Gormley said. “She explains sitting with her daughter who would never regain consciousness.” He said her decision to donate the organs hit home.
“As this woman told her story there wasn’t a dry eye, I know, in the listening audience. Least of all mine,” Gormley said.
Mike Couros joins him on the show for a segment called ‘What The Friday’.
“We love politics and we love playing out scenarios,” Couros said. The two men meet up almost three times a week sharing theories with each other about political topics. Currently, they are trying to figure out what will happen in the two provincial leadership races.
The political junkie is also an avid golfer.
Golfing, he says, is an ‘existential’ experience.
“You keep thinking that you can get better and you’re not competing against the world but you’re competing against yourself,” Gormley said. “And every so often you get a glimmer of hope and you see what you could be and then you fall back to what you are.”
But he said the worse he golfs, the more relaxed he feels.
“I believe golf is a good walk enhanced,” Gormley said.
Gormley was born in Singapore sixty years ago. His parents were both serving their countries (Britain and Australia) during the Malaysian Emergency. Back in August, he was glad somebody forgot about his birthday because he is in “complete denial” about his age. “That was the Voldemort birthday, it who shall not be named,” Gormley said. His wife and he both refer to his birthday as such.
Although Gormley’s been at it for some time, he said he still wakes up every morning like it’s the first week on the job.