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'Girard At Large' radio show to end this week

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

November 12. 2017 9:16PM




RICH GIRARD

MANCHESTER — Saying he wants to “focus more on family,” local radio host and Manchester school board member Rich Girard has announced this Friday will mark the final broadcast of his “Girard At Large” morning talk show.

Girard, who has hosted the show since it launched on Sept. 26, 2011, confirmed to a New Hampshire Union Leader reporter Sunday night that Friday will be the show’s final broadcast. He expects to inform listeners of his decision during today’s broadcast from 6-9 a.m. on WLMW, 90.7 FM.

Girard, 48, said the death of his father, former Southside Middle School principal Richard A. Girard back in June at the age of 72 and a desire to spend more time with his wife Jennifer and five children played a major part in his decision to let the show go dark.

“I am the host, reporter, I handle marketing ... it’s difficult to sustain the show without the support of a station,” said Girard. “I have been putting in 18 hour days, and losing dad this year really caused me to take a look around and realize I want to focus more on family.”

Girard is a 1987 graduate of Manchester High School West, later graduating from Boston College with a degree in political science. In 1997 Girard was the first person elected to the new Alderman At-Large position in the city of Manchester, after serving as an assistant to long-term Manchester Mayor Ray Wieczorek.

He ran for mayor in 2001 against incumbent Mayor Bob Baines, and in 2012 was one of nine people elected to the city’s Charter Commission. In 2015, Rich was elected to an At-Large seat on the city’s Board of School Committee. He was reelected to office last week, running unopposed.

The show began airing Monday through Friday, 6-9 a.m., in 2011 on WGAM-AM 1250 and streaming from the website www.girardatlarge.com, featuring local news coverage, weather, sports, traffic, politics and Girard taking listener calls and answering blogger posts. The radio show was the first endeavor of Greater Manchester GPS, LLC, a multi-media company Girard co-founded with Will Infantine, Manchester businessman and former state representative from Ward 6 and former chairman of the Manchester City Republican Committee.

Girard said he is proud of what he feels his show has accomplished over the last six years, covering local issues in the Queen City and surrounding communities.

“We gave many listeners an avenue to tell their stories, to discuss issues affecting them and their communities that may not get attention from other news outlets,” said Girard. “I remember once a listener called in one December and said his son and his family were going thorugh a hard time. Listeners responded, and helped save Christmas for that one family.”

A good example, said Girard, will air its final installment today when he welcomes Eva Castillo-Turgeon, executive director of the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees and former Manchester police commissioner on air for her “Ins and Outs of Immigration” segment.

“How many other radio talk shows have a weekly segment focusing on immigration?” asked Girard. “Mayor Ted Gatsas has also been very giving of his time, appearing weekly to discuss issues with city residents and those in surrounding communities. We have 50,000 people a year who will click on or download our audio archives a year. There’s an audience for this.”

Girard said the workload required to operate the show, combined with long hours associated with being a city official, don’t leave many hours in the day for family time.

“I look at dad, and if I am lucky to reach the age he did ... I’m already two-thirds of the way there,” said Girard. “I want to devote more time to what’s important.”

Girard said he expects this final week on air to feature the usual segments, giving him time to discuss his decision with his guest hosts. He isn’t sure what his final show on Friday will sound like, but he promises he won’t disappear from local media completely.

“I am looking at podcasts, that’s a possibility,” said Girard. “I also may continue blogging, and I’ll be at the meetings. I’m not going away — I’ll just be getting more sleep.”


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