Northern Ireland’s newest radio station, Seven FM, will launch in Ballymena, Co Antrim at 6.30am on Tuesday, November 1st, and is set to deliver a seven-day local and province news service. The station have announced a dynamic newsteam in Colm McAlinden (formerly of Q network), Rita McNutly (ex-BBC Radio Ulster) and Sharon Jennings (ex-Downtown Radio).
Seven FM’s Managing Director Robert Walshe says: “Our emphasis is to provide a comprehensive news, sport and obituary service seven days a week”.
There will also be a major sports focus across the entire schedule with key programmes running at weekends, including ‘The Final Whistle’ on Friday nights at 7pm – Northern Irish sports heroes David Humphries and Pat Jennings will be regular guests. Seven FM will also support and broadcast full match commentaries from the world of rugby, soccer, hockey and GAA in Co. Antrim.
A number of key radio personalities from across the province are set to be part of the launch team. Neil McClelland (left), formerly of Glengormley and now living in Ballyclare, will be the station’s Head of Production and key anchor Drivetime presenter. His radio resume boasts key shows with Cool FM, Citybeat and Mid FM.
Former Q102 Drivetime presenter Maurice Taggart will be the man charged with waking the region up on weekday mornings from 6.30am with ‘Seven Sunrise’. The show, according to the Carrickfergus man, “will pick you up and make you feel good”. The music mix will be “motivational” and Seven FM News will transmit on the hour and half hour with Belfast Commuter Traffic every 20 minutes.
Seven FM will dim the lights at 11pm weeknights for ‘Seven Love’, Johnny Glover – the former Citybeat presenter from Lisburn – will become “Dr Love” and prescribe three hours of Co Antrim’s favourite love songs. Johnny will also co-ordinate Seven FM’s promotional team. He will be out-and-about with the Seven FM “Boogey Bus” attending openings, visiting schools and bringing Seven FM to the people in the streets everyday.
Seven 4 Youths
Seven FM will also have a selection of youth-focused programmes. Former Q97 presenter Natasha Miller will anchor ‘Seven NRG’ Monday to Friday from 9-11pm. The show will be text and email driven and will showcase the hottest hits of today, with regular features like the ‘Club Classic’ and ‘Teen Scene Showbiz News’. Cullybackey native Tony Rogers “Sheep T” will mix ‘Seven Sessions’ every Saturday night for two hours from 2am. The output will be hard-dance, funky house, hip-hop with two 60 minute sessions. Guest DJs from across Northern Ireland and beyond will also be regular guests in studio.
Emma Fitzpatrick presents ‘Seven Sounds’ on Saturday evenings between 6 and 7pm. The main emphasis will be on showcasing the best of talent from across the Province, the island of Ireland and beyond. The playlist will boast live interviews from the likes of Westlife to Divine Comedy and from Van Morrison to Simply Red. Emma Fitzpatrick will also freelance for UTV and the Seven FM promotions department.
Religion on Seven
Ballymena native Rev Alan Mitchell, now based in Sligo and co-ordinator of local radio station Ocean FM’s religious programming, has also been heading up Seven FM’s religious commitments. A weekly service which covers all the religious denominations will broadcast weekly at 10.30am from across the region. Ballymena man Ronnie Geary will anchor ‘Sunday Miscellany’ from 7am – 10am. The music output will be largely country, gospel and appropriate music. On Sunday nights at 7pm Evan Connolly will present ‘Sunday Reflections’ an in-profile ‘Desert Island Ddiscs’ style show featuring people of note and achievement in all walks of life in the region.
The station will also carry a number of special interest programmes ranging from ‘Check-Up’ (a health programme) on Monday nights to ‘Arts House’ on Thursdays. Ballymena Guardian journalist Damien McGinley will present ‘Agri Week’ and ‘Seven Agenda’. Ocean FM Sligo presenter Paul Scanlon presents an album track show at weekends whilst Dublin’s Q102 Movie Man Shane Smyth presents ‘Seven Movie Magic’ on Saturday mornings at 9am. A dedicated Education Show presented by former Downtown radio anchor Sharon Jennings will be on the air on Thursday nights at 7.30pm.
Robert Walshe says that he is very proud of the main launch team, adding that the entire programming schedule was a reflection of Northern Ireland’s ability to produce top broadcast talent.