DJ Ray Mac and Jorma Kirkko in action recording their ‘pubcast’.

‘Pubcast’ with Mayo native taking off across the world

FORMER Mayo DJ Ray Mac and UK author and journalist Jorma Kirkko and friends have seen their unique podcast on Apple Podcasts and Acast go worldwide.

Broadcast from James Joyce’s Irish Pub in Istanbul, Turkey, Blackmilkshake: The Pubcast has attracted listeners in 33 countries in just four episodes since starting earlier this summer.

The lads met five years ago in an Istanbul pub when Ray, born and bred in Ballina, stole Jorma’s wife’s seat. A friendship developed and with their shared love of radio they started a Pubcast (podcast in a pub) based loosely on Ray and his cousin Eamon McAndrew’s Facebook comedy page, Blackmilkshake (a euphemism for Guinness), and record it from the upstairs room at the Irish pub.

Ray, who leads the banter segments, started his DJ career in Ballina where he was a driving force in the 1980s and ‘90s before moving to several Dublin clubs, including Break For The Border, before relocating to Turkey in the late ‘90s where he worked the resorts before settling in Istanbul with his Turkish wife and son.

“It was just one of those silly things really,” said Jorma, who writes the sketches and produces the show.

“My wife had gone to sleep; I was staying up having a couple of late night beers and I was listening to a podcast that amused me.

“I woke up the next morning and I couldn’t work out if I was extremely hungover or really, really excited. I just got the idea that we could convert it into a podcast.

“I said to Ray ‘Let’s give it a go’ and I came up with a rough format. We decided to keep some features of the Facebook page and I started to write some of the sketches.”

Jorma, who has worked professionally in radio as well as writing comedy, believed that with the Facebook group having over 3,000 followers, it could take off quickly. So did it?

“Not at all!” he laughed. “I realised there’s a huge difference between copying and pasting a joke, and listening to something for 35 minutes.”

There have been four episodes to date – the episodes are out monthly – and friends of the show include Ballina comics Bob Hennigan and Christina McMahon, who have worked on sketches for the show.

“One of the biggest things you realise when you’re abroad is the way people speak to each other at home, in buses or pubs,” offered Jorma. “I used to walk around with a notebook in hand and write down what people were saying. I think this was mine and Ray’s opportunity to recreate this for ourselves a bit and if we could entertain people, all the better.”

As a result, they’ve had encounters with expats who miss the Irish and British humour and pub and tell them the podcast can remind them of home.

“An English guy from Brighton left a message saying it just reminded him of being in the pub but without leaving his home. It’s just a bit of light-heartedness. I haven’t heard anything like our podcast.”

You can listen to their podcasts at: