Editor's Note: A BIG Congrats to our great friend and Rodeo Country Radio supporter, Gerry Forbes on signing on for two more years morning entertainment on CJAY 92 Calgary.
Gerry Forbes has been a staple of Calgary radio since the early 90s, with his irreverent on-air persona and his involvement in the community. MATHEW SILVER / FOR METRO
Radio host will wait to ride off into the sunset
By: Mathew Silver For Metro Published on Mon Sep 26 2016
Gerry Forbes just couldn’t do it.
He was expected to retire last week on his 60th birthday, but decided to renew his contract with CJAY 92 for another two years. That means that listeners will hear from the de facto mayor of Calgary for at least a little while longer.
As the star of The Gerry Forbes Show, which airs weekday mornings, he has leveraged his considerable celebrity to give back to the community since arriving on the airwaves in the early 90s. Oddly enough, his on-air irreverence both belies and fuels his philanthropic efforts.
“I’ve got a really sick mind,” said Gerry unabashedly, in reference to his proclivity for thinking up outrageous stunts.
He recently said that his all-time favourite radio gag was giving a baby a Metallica tattoo. The tattoo was fake, but that didn’t stop child services from arriving at the CJAY 92 studio to try and take the child away.
This is the same guy that helped to raise about $27,000 in funds for the family of two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette, who were tragically murdered in 2015.
Listeners came out in droves when Forbes announced that the Eagles would be having a concert in the CJAY 92 parking lot. They weren’t. And apparently the band wasn’t pleased to find out about the stunt.
Yet it’s the Gerry Forbes Secret Wish charity that gives nominated families the resources to navigate tough times. Along with the CJAY 92 Kid’s Fund, he’s helped pay for playgrounds, school busses, and medical bills.
“Some guys will do things to promote themselves. I’ve seen him crying like a baby handing over a cheque,” said his brother, Marty Forbes.
Marty said that philanthropy was learned early in the Forbes family. Their father, Jerry Forbes, who ran 630 CHED radio in Edmonton, taught his kids that the power of radio was twofold – they had a responsibility to give back to the community.
It was in those formative years that that Marty noticed Gerry’s aptitude for entertaining an audience.
“I think our favourite memory is that we used to have these massive Christmas parties. Gerry used to sneak the Drambuie and liqueurs, throw a couple back and entertain,” said Marty.
Gerry got his start in radio early, cutting tapes and sending them to his father to critique. Then, after stints in Kamloops, Hamilton, and Toronto, he landed at the The Bear in Edmonton, where he was allowed to bring his ideas to life.
Now entering the twilight of his career, Forbes looks back with no regrets. He said he owes his success to taking chances when nobody else would, and giving back is the most important thing you can do along the way.