The BCI today announced the decisions relating to licences for the Carlow/Kilkenny and County Kildare franchise areas. The licences have been awarded in principle subject to the successful conclusion of contract negotiations.
CK Broadcasting Ltd, who will operate KCLR – the Heart of The Two Counties, have been awarded the licence for the Carlow/Kilkenny franchise.
County Kildare FM Radio Ltd have been awarded the Kildare franchise. Their station will be known as Kfm.
The BCI’s chairman Conor J. Maguire explains: “The contracts were awarded in principle subject to the relevant clarifications/responses pertaining to the applications being addressed to the satisfaction of the Commission. Once the contract negotiations have been completed with the successful applicants further details will be announced.”
The fallout from today’s BCI’s announcement of new licensees for the Carlow/Kilkenny and Kildare franchises is that two long-serving stations will stop broadcasting next year. Radio Kilkenny and CKR FM will become memories once the new licence-holders – KCLR in Carlow/Kilkenny & Kfm in Kildare – take to the air.
Radio Kilkenny’s franchise has been revamped to include the Carlow area, and although the station were shortlisted to be reawarded the new licence, they were ultimately unsuccessful. They will cease broadcasting next October after twelve years on air.
CKR FM served the old franchise of Carlow and Kildare. The BCI now feel that Co Kildare is justified in having a station serving its needs solely, resulting in CKR FM’s demise. CKR FM consistently registered bad JNLRs. They will also cease broadcasting next October.
The Board and Shareholders of CK Broadcasting Limited (including Irish Radio & Media Holdings, People Newspapers Ltd, and Setanta Media Holdings) are delighted with the decision of the BCI to accept their application for a licence to operate a radio station for the new Carlow/Kilkenny franchise. The new station, which will commence broadcasting in October 2003, will be known as KCLR – the Heart of The Two Counties and will be a broad-based local service with special emphasis on covering news, current affairs, sport, special interest and community access programming from the two counties.
In a statement issued this afternoon to Radiowaves News, the company say they would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the public and the many voluntary, community, statutory and commercial organisations in both Carlow and Kilkenny who have assisted in the development of the project to this stage.
“CK Broadcasting looks forward to continuing to work with these people and to developing further close links with individuals and organisations in Carlow and Kilkenny in the years ahead. Work has already commenced on the establishment of the station’s Community Forum – a consultative structure in which community, voluntary and sporting organisations in Carlow and Kilkenny will be invited to participate and which will be given Board representation in the new company,” the statement continues.
Speaking to Radiowaves News today, the station’s chairman John Purcell said: “We would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the other two consortia – namely KCR FM and CKR FM – who were competing for the new licence. We look forward to working with them both in the transition to the new service and to exploring opportunities with the many fine broadcasters and staff in each station.” John is a former Radio Kilkenny general manager.
Realising the responsibilities that goes with the licence, John continues: “We are deeply grateful to have been given this opportunity by the BCI and we would like to assure the Commission and the people of Kilkenny and Carlow of our total and unswerving commitment to providing quality local radio and to creating a service which will be a cornerstone of community life in the years ahead.”
The company hope to offer a true local service. John Purcell was born and reared in the area and he has been deeply involved in the radio industry since the early 1990s. For him, today is an immensely proud day. “It has been my privilege to lead a consortium of people who have a tremendous track record of success in broadcasting and other industries and who are now 100% committed to the success of this new project,” he said. “Today marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in local broadcasting in Carlow and Kilkenny”.
KCLR 96FM, the new radio service for Carlow & Kilkenny, went live on-air for the first time at 11am today. The first presenter to be heard on the broadcast was Alan Swan, who presented a special two-hour introduction to the new station.
KCLR 96FM Chief Executive John Purcell expressed his delight that the station had finally hit the airwaves: “We applied for this new licence two years ago and it has been a long road to reach this point. The setup of the station was very challenging with preparations delayed by the legal challenges to the decision to award the licence to us. However, we are delighted to at last be on-air and are looking forward to a very positive future.”
According to Purcell, KCLR 96FM will be a fresh, local, and contemporary voice that connects with listeners across the two counties.
He said: “We are placing a huge emphasis on local events with news and sport seven days a week to ensure our listeners receive the best possible coverage of all that is happening throughout Kilkenny and Carlow. Current affairs and community interest programming are also a priority as well as quality music and entertainment shows featuring requests, competitions, and fantastic prizes.”
Purcell acknowledged that one of the main challenges for KCLR 96FM is broadcasting to two counties and said that county-specific programming is being delivered where appropriate. “We are very mindful of the fact that we are catering for two counties with diverse needs and interests and KCLR 96FM will be providing dedicated news and sports services for Carlow and Kilkenny,” he promises.
A huge amount of work had gone in to putting the station on-air and Purcell was feeling very positive about how the new service would be received.
“There has been a huge amount of interest in the new station from people throughout Carlow Kilkenny. We are determined that KCLR 96FM will be a station local people can be proud of and I am confident listeners are going to like what they hear,” he concluded.
KCLR 96FM is available in Kilkenny on 96.6MHz FM, 96.0MHz FM and 96.2MHz FM and in Carlow on 96.9MHz FM and 94.6MHz FM.