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Sandy Harsch RTÉ
sandy harsch

'She was much loved': RTÉ Radio One presenter Sandy Harsch dies aged 76

Since 1996, she had presented Country Time on RTÉ Radio One.

RTÉ RADIO ONE music presenter Sandy Harsch has died aged 76 following a short illness.

Born in Rhode Island in the US, Harsch spent more than half a century living in Ireland. Since 1996, she had presented Country Time on RTÉ Radio One.

Harsch also co-presented Sisters Doing It For Themselves, along with Lilian Smith, and had been a contributor to both Arena and Lest we Forget.

After moving to Ireland from the US in 1960, Harsch worked as a freelance photojournalist in music retail and wholesale, and then as the chief photographer, record reviewer and interviewer for Hot Press magazine.

She got her start in radio at RTÉ as a guest critic with Pat Kenny on Outside Track and worked regularly as a panellist, critic, and producing feature items.

She moved onto the independent nationwide station Century Radio presenting The Country Store in 1989 and then presented a syndicated show on nine local stations.

In 1996, she rejoined RTÉ and started presenting Country Time.

In her lifetime, Sandy interviewed many of the top country artists including Dierks Bentley, Merle Haggard, Martina McBride, and Sugarland.

Harsch was also a recipient of the CMA International Broadcaster Award which recognises outstanding achievement by radio broadcasters outside the US who have made important contributions toward the development of country music in their country.

Following the news of her death, head of RTÉ Radio One Tom McGuire expressed his sympathies. 

“Sandy Harsch had an encyclopedic knowledge and a tremendous love of American country music,” McGuire said. 

This knowledge and love permeated Country Time on RTÉ Radio One and Sandy’s unique broadcasting style created a wonderful welcome mat for a most appreciative audience on a Saturday night. 

“She had met and played with many of the stars of country music and her anecdotes and stories gave new life to the playlists she chose for every show. As a colleague, Sandy was much loved in the radio centre and staff here are heartbroken at her sudden passing.”

Harsch is survived by her two daughters and a sister. 

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