Formerly known as the IRTC, The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) today signed a broadcasting contract with Star Broadcasting Limited, who will operate the new special interest music station for Dublin City.
Star Broadcasting Limited were one of the recent successful applicants for two new special interest radio licences for the Dublin area and they were represented at the signing by Chairman David Harvey and Director Paul Coulson.
The station will be known as Dublin’s Country 106.8FM and will provide a special interest music service specialising in Country and Irish Music genres. Music will represent 70% of total output over the broadcast day. In addition to the overall music mix special music features will be broadcast in the evenings. Other important elements of the station’s programming will be news & current affairs and information, which will include regular local news bulletins, community notice board updates and frequent Dublin country gig guides.
Speaking at the signing, BCI chairman Conor J. Maguire said, “We are delighted to see Dublin’s Country 106.8FM join the independent radio sector. This contract signing marks the continued implementation of the Commission’s licensing policy developed in 1999, in which increasing the number of stations on-air and ensuring diversity of types are integral to the development of our policy”, Conor J. Maguire concluded.
Test broadcasts on 106.8 FM in Dublin City are planned for the near future and live broadcasting is scheduled to commence in October.
Scottish Radio Holdings, who own a string of local stations in Scotland as well as Today FM in Ireland, have offered to buy struggling local station Dublin’s Country 106.8FM. The deal is expected to be completed within weeks following approval – albeit ‘in principle’ – from the BCI. They are also expected to ‘change the format’, although what this exactly means is anybody’s guess until they submit the proposed changes to the Commission.
Dublin’s Country have been on air for less than a year with disastrous listenership figures. They have proved unsuccessful at attracting advertising and have had to let staff go in their time on air. This means that the station will be sold for a very low price, once the debts have been covered.
Dublin’s Country – as Star FM – were awarded a licence under a lengthy and costly BCI process. A number of other stations also applied for the same ‘specialist music’ licence, including Dublin Alternative Rock station Phantom FM, who were disappointed for the second time in recent years. Pete Reed, Phantom FM’s general manager, reacted angrily to the news: “I am shocked that the deal has been given approval,” he said, speaking to Radiowaves News tonight. He pointed out that: “it states quite clearly in the BCI’s application form that the Commission would look ‘very unfavourably’ on any attempt to sell in the first two years of a station’s existence.”
Indeed, conscious of the costly process, the BCI’s statement says: “[We] will generally look unfavourably upon proposed changes in ownership structures within a two-year period after the granting of a licence. The Commission takes the view that such changes are likely to undermine the integrity of the licensing process itself and be unfair to unsuccessful applicants.”
Pete is not the only one who is outraged at this development. He said he has been speaking to a number of the other unsuccessful groups with a view to taking legal action against the sale. “It is outrageous that SRH can come into this country and pick up a local station for a song,” he continued. “We will definitely be pursuing this further.”
Dublin City Anna Livia FM hope to be back on air very shortly. Some equipment was lost in Saturday’s fire at the Liffey Trust Centre in the heart of Dublin, where the station’s studios are located. They have had offers of help from other radio stations which has put them in a position of a speedy return. Anna Livia broadcast specialist programming to the Dublin area on 103.2MHz.
Jazz FM listeners would be forgiven for thinking that the station is back on the air if they tuned to Dublin City’s Anna Livia FM on Saturdays. Although Jazz FM have been off the air following the recent ‘Black Tuesday’ purges against Dublin’s unlicensed community, three former presenters with the specialist station are now part of the Saturday line-up on Anna Livia – the licensed special interest station which broadcasts to Dublin on 103.2MHz.
From 3pm Chris Maher presents Soul Kitchen – his show on Jazz FM was called Sunny Side Up. And later in the day, two other former Jazz FM djs go back-to-back between 8 and 10pm. First there’s Black Echoes with John Public, which used to go out on Sunday afternoons on 89.8FM – Jazz FM’s frequency.
Then Seán Brophy, formerly of Sunrise on Sunday mornings on Jazz FM, is on air with his show Jazzorama.
Each of the three presenters are particularly interested in hearing from former listeners to their Jazz FM shows.
A Dublin City Anna Livia FM presenter was dragged out of the station’s studio live on air by Gardaí when he refused to accept a change in timeslot for his programme. Eduardo Castillo had been informed that his show had been switched from Fridays to Thursdays on the special interest station, but he still turned up on Friday February 13th. After just a few minutes on air, four Gardaí had to remove him from the studio. Castillo was protesting the decision of the management and claims that there was very little consultation with him over the change. He has now been sacked.
The special interest licence for the Dublin City area has been awarded in principle to the incumbent Dublin City Anna Livia 103.2 FM. The award is subject to the receipt of clarification on a number of matters within the application and the successful conclusion of contract negotiations.
Speaking today, the BCI’s Chief Executive Michael O’Keeffe said: “With regard to Dublin City Anna Livia FM, the Commission is delighted to offer a ten-year licence to the station and is confident that it will continue with its wide-ranging programme service over the coming years.”
Dublin’s Country are, since this morning, now identifying on-air as Dublin’s Country Mix 106.8, having finally been given the go-ahead for a name-change by the BCI. The station’s website also relaunched yesterday with a slick new look at perfectstation.com.
Aidan Cooney, the well-known tv and radio presenter, has been signed up to present ‘The Awesome ’80s Show’ on Dublin station Q102. Broadcasting weekdays for two hours from 7pm, the show aims to play the very best music from the 1980s and will also be fully interactive, with the chance for listeners to request their favourite songs. The Awesome ’80s Show will target the 35+ demographic and will also feature a variety of competitions. Aidan (pictured) has previously presented the Saturday sport show on Dublin’s Q102 but says that he is delighted to be returning to his first love, music: “Radio presenting has always been a passion of mine and I am delighted with this opportunity to present The Awesome ’80s Show on Dublin’s Q102. I hope that playing such classics as Adam and The Ants, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and The Cure will brighten up the long winter evenings and help listeners unwind after their day.”
Dublin’s Country Mix 106.8 have announced that that it will be re-branding to Dublin’s Sunshine 106.8. The re-branding of the station has been approved by the BAI and will commence this weekend through the use of on-air promos announcing the change.
From early next week the new brand will be introduced in on-air programming (initially alongside the existing identification). The re-branding will be complete by year-end. No programming changes are planned by the station as the re-branding process gets underway.
Seán Ashmore, the station’s CEO, says: “We’ve decided on a re-brand because our research has confirmed that the phrase ‘Country’ means different things to different people. People’s perception about what the station has to offer was not in line with the scope of the music played on-air. Today our playlist covers a wide range of artists from The Eagles to Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum to Ronan Keating and classics from the likes of Glen Campbell to Dolly Parton.”
A completely new logo and brand mark to reflect the station’s new name has been developed by Pat Kinsley of Neworld Design in Dublin (see below).
Robbie Robinson, the founder of the original Sunshine Radio in Dublin in 1980, is happy to see the name back in use in Dublin and wishes the station the best of luck with the re-brand.
Country Mix 106.8 was launched in 2001 and currently has a daily reach of 4% of all adults in the Dublin market and a market share of 3.3%.