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The Breakfast Show with Gerry D.
By Charles Conn
The Breakfast Show began to fill the vacuum in English-language programming that resulted with the American withdrawal from Panama in the year 2000. At the time, SCN was the only English-language TV and radio network that broadcast in the country. So with a friend, Richard Vizor, Gerry Dowden, better known by his radio moniker Gerry D., formed the Panama Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) in May of 2006.
“We had the idea of finding a radio station that would take our programing. At first, no one was interested,” he said, laughing in his signature manner listeners of his show have come to know. PBC finally got its start on Radio Metropolis, beginning with a two-hour program that played easy listening music on Sunday evenings. “It was quite an expensive way of starting out. We had no advertisers but we started to get a little bit of a following,” he said.
Soon after, Gerry was introduced to Alessio Gronchi, the manager of four popular radio stations. It was decided that one of the stations, COOL FM, would slot Gerry’s new show two nights a week, a program called “Cool Nights.” At the time, Gerry was in the process of becoming a Panamanian citizen.
After obtaining his broadcasting license (licencia de locutor) required by law in order to do live broadcasting with commentary, Gerry found himself in the position “to do something a little bit more seriously, and of course, do something live.” Gerry’s home studio was set up by then, and COOL FM agreed to link up to it for a two-hour live show in the mornings. That was in 2010. “Within a year we needed to knock it up to three hours which we´ve been doing it for four years now,” Gerry explained.
“We have a good team,” he said. Yazmin Quiroz, who answers the phone lines and takes care of the scheduling of guests, has been there from the beginning. Sandra Snyder, co-host on Mondays and Fridays, has been with Gerry since the days of Radio Metropolis as has the show’s co-producer, Neil Danby.
“The program has matured. We´ve got our regulars on now, like Alex Neuman who talks about technology and Carlos Mata who comes in and talks about wines.” Guests on the show include ambassadors, civic leaders and cultural experts. And now, one of the Breakfast Show’s newest regulars is Charles Conn, Assistant Editor of the The Visitor who talks about events happening in country.
“All this took two to three years to get established and recognized. And it all happened through word of mouth. We do it because we enjoy it and I think it’s something that we, the country, need.”
The Breakfast Show with Gerry D. airs Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. on 89.3 COOL FM. You can listen to and watch the broadcast online at PBCPanama.com.