i102-104, the new youth regional station for the north-west, have finally announced a launch date of January 14th. Broadcasting to a potential audience of 185,000, the station will offer an alternative to the existing local stations in Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon and Galway.
A UK radio station has fallen foul of the authorities after running a competition last May in which they gave away 100 prizes ‘to go to Athens and watch the Champions League final’.
What BRMB, who are based in England’s midlands, failed to mention was that the ‘Athens’ in question was a Greek restaurant in Birmingham rather than the city where the match was taking place.
This led to complaints from three of the winners who felt they were unfairly misled. Ofcom ruled that the competition had breached rules on fairness and had been executed “in a manner designed to obscure the true nature of the prize”.
BRMB’s owners, GCap Radio, claim that they had given clues to listeners to indicate that the prize was not a trip to Greece.
“The fact the radio station advised people to arrive at BRMB for 1500 BST on the day of the match (taking into account the time difference and flight time to Greece from the UK) should have alerted participants to the fact something was amiss.”
However, the first of these ‘clues’ was not given until a full week after listeners had been encouraged to enter the competition.
The watchdog said it would not take action against the station as it was the first breach recorded against them. The cost of entry to the competition – ran by SMS – was refunded to the complainants.
The competition was broadcast on the station’s Drivetime show.
In preparation for Jack FM’s launch on October 18th, Oxfordshire’s newest radio station has started carrying out test transmissions. From last Monday the people of Oxfordshire have been getting a taste of what to expect when the station launches.
Ian Walker, Jack FM’s General Manager, says: “We’re on the brink of a radio revolution in Oxfordshire. We’ve been incredibly busy building Jack’s playlist over the past few months and now we finally get to play a few of our favourite records to make sure there’s no scratches on our best vinyl.”
Jack FM has called upon the services of many local Oxfordshire businesses in getting their North Oxford Broadcast Centre refitted and ready for broadcasting. Absolute Radio International (ARI), Jack’s owner, has invested a significant sum in new facilities there, including studios, office space and the latest broadcast and IT technology.
Radio Orla, the internet-based Anglo-Polish radio station, and Hayes FM, a brand-new multi-lingual FM broadcaster in west London which launched on Saturday, have teamed up to reach the Polish community in the FM station’s catchment area. It marks the first time that a Polish-language commercial broadcaster has gone FM in the United Kingdom and underlines the interest not only from the large Polish community in the UK for such content but also the appetite from a British audience to learn about Polish culture. Radio Orla will be providing Lukasz Foster’s bi-lingual shows to listeners of Hayes FM 91.8.
Hayes FM 91.8 will broadcast a range of local radio programmes for the whole area, including targeted music and community programmes for the Irish, Polish, South Asian, African and Caribbean populations in West London.
George Matlock, managing director of Radio Orla, says: “Radio Orla is very pleased to have been approached with this proposal as it is an endorsement of our content and established position in the market for Polish programming. We are especially keen to foster stronger and positive ties with other communities. In fact, we already provide knowledge to other East European communities about how to broadcast online. I know Lukasz will be a fine bi-lingual entertainer for the Hayes-based community.”
Sutish Sharma, managing editor of Hayes FM, says: “Hayes FM offers a format that cannot be found anywhere in the world, and the partnership with Radio Orla not only adds great value to our output, but continues our commitment to bring communities together and bring about positive change for our area through solidarity.”
Flirt FM, Galway’s student radio station since 1995, are now broadcasting on 101.3MHz FM. The station previously broadcast on 105.6MHz.
Encompassing the campuses of NUI, Galway and GMIT Flirt FM broadcasts weekdays year round, with an abridged summer schedule outside of term-time. The station is operated by two full-time staff and up to 120 student volunteers.
A new station website will be launched next week at flirtfm.ie and a freshly designed logo (below) has been released.
Home up for grabs
Keith turns down juicy offer
Male issues to be aired on Radio Pirate Woman
WLR fm to leap into springtime with new weekday schedule
Radio enters a new golden age as digital use takes off
Sponsor for 2FM breakfast show wanted
Men finally get a say
Liffey FM hits weekly target
An audacious plan to fill the void left following the pre-Christmas raid and closedown of pirate station Radio Limerick One has been denied by ComReg. The idea was to broadcast a new station, Serenity Radio, using multiple ‘readily-available’ WPAS licenses to provide a non-commercial community-based service. These licenses are issued by ComReg for €100 each under a licensing scheme planned to allow the retransmission of religious services and other community events for the benefit of people in local communities throughout the country.
Serenity Radio, to be run by Fr. Joe Young and Gerry Hannan, was denied the licences because the submission made (a sixty page document outlining the plans) was too broad and did not fit the criteria as laid out for securing the licences.
Gerry Hannan, who intends to run in the forthcoming General Election on broadcast issues, says that the refusal came as no surprise to him: “I have been dealing with broadcasting authorities in Ireland now for over a decade and I am convinced that I may as well be talking to a stone wall.”
Fr. Joe Young has also expressed disappointment and bewilderment.
“The application was intended to do something good for the housebound, the elderly and physically and mentally challenged in the region,” he says”
Serenity Radio is no more which means that Gerry Hannon will now go to an alternative plan to restore Radio Limerick One, legally, to the airwaves and confirmed that this can be done in a matter of days.
Gerry explains: “I have washed my hands of illegal broadcasting but will not let my loyal listeners down. I have spent the last month negotiating deals to legally allow the restoration of RLO to the airwaves. I can now confirm that Radio Limerick One is already legally test broadcasting on WiFi Radio and will be relaunched as a full legal service in a few days.”
No licence is required for the service now being proposed and, according to Gerry, this guarantees the uninterrupted future of the station.
RLO have struck a deal with a UK-based company to become a main supplier of low cost WiFi Radio units in Limerick and they will be for sale from his store, Filmdrome in William Street, from this week. He has invited his listeners to call to his store to get full details as to how they can tune into Radio Limerick One.
Case of Marty and the moral cowards
Radio Gaga: The Man Behind the Mike
A new station, Serenity Radio, will be broadcasting in the Limerick area within ten days. That is the confident prediction made by Gerry Hannon, the former Radio Limerick One (RLO) presenter and owner, when speaking to Radiowaves News this morning.
RLO was raided by Comeg just before Christmas, a blow that has put the final nail in the coffin of the infamous pirate station which was renowned for its very public stance against radio regulation.
Gerry insists that RLO should have been allowed to continue. “It was not competing with the county’s only commercial station, in fact RLO’s average listener would be everything that Live 95’s wasn’t,” he says defiantly.
According to Hannon, Serenity Radio will effectively operate on a five year community licence, likely to broadcast in the lower end of the FM band.
He says: “We will be using a series of the new low-power ‘church licences’ to cover the Limerick area, with the construction and erection of transmitters and aerials in six different locations. Although these licences were not intended for the FM band, there is a clause that allows the Minister of Communications to change the details ‘at his discretion’. These are the details we are presently ironing out but I am confident we will be on air very shortly.”
None of the transmitters will be allowed to operate at higher than 4 watts but their planned locations should allow for full coverage of the Limerick area.
Meanwhile Gerry confirmed that he will be running in the upcoming election with the primary objective of “opening up Limerick’s airwaves & advocating greater freedom of expression”.
Gerry contends that: “…for far too long the people of Ireland have been deceived by the lies, misinformation, dishonesty and lack of information from our so-called leading politicians.”
He doesn’t mince his words and his distaste for the controlling excesses of authority continues unabated: “The purpose of my candidacy is to highlight the frightening new trend of reallocation of decision-making power to independent authorities such as the BCI and ComReg. Elected representatives have run for cover from issues such as this and protected themselves by blaming the unpopular decisions on these quasi non-governmental organizations; such organizations are financed by the government yet act independently of the government. Meanwhile, the politicians pay themselves exaggerated salaries for merely reassigning their power over to non-elected bureaucrats. The time has come for a change in Irish politics and for the reintroduction of truth, decency and justice. The only way to really achieve this is by permanently replacing the corruption and arrogance, which seems to have become the norm of Irish political life, with new, younger and less traditional politicians with new fresh approaches and attitudes toward contemporary issues.”
Strong words, and anybody who would treat his election campaign lightly should be warned that in his last Euro election campaign he gained enough votes to represent Limerick if the numbers were transferred across.
With just one commercially-licensed station available in the Limerick area, one of the largest population centres in the country, Hannan’s anger at the way the radio industry has been subjected to government interference and control shows no signs of dying down, despite the fact that he has now spent 25 years broadcasting to his listenership.
He says: “The existence of the BCI has stunted the growth of the national airwaves by not only restricting the amount of licences issued, but also the manner in which they are issued.”
There is a sense that his election promises are not empty ones, unlike the ones that voters the world over have become all too familiar with.
Gerry says: “It is time to convince the electorate, with actions rather than words, that there is still truth and honesty in Irish politics. I will demonstrate this, if elected, by showing other politicians, by clear example, how to restore faith. I have pledged to donate my salary to pay for the upkeep of Serenity Radio as a free and legal service to the thousands of people who support me. I have no interest in the ‘gravy train’ and by donating my salary I will continue to live my life like the people who have elected me.”
Even if elected, Gerry’s trademark and outspoken late-night show will continue. He plans to use it to educate his constituents on the workings of the Dail, and to communicate directly with them on the issues that matter to them.
He says: “I will consult with them on all matters put before me and will further allow them to have their say on the open airwaves with regard to every single solitary decision I have to make. The entire purpose of my tenure in Dail Éireann will be to act exclusively on behalf of my constituents and the power they bestow on me will be to do their bidding and not my own.”
Love or loathe his show, and anybody who’s heard it certainly has a strong opinion of it, there is no doubt that it has a huge audience of listeners who are not catered for by any other station. Gerry told me a story of a funeral of a listener he attended recently, a woman he had never met, and on the coffin was placed a picture of him and a radio. You sense that it’s moments like those that convince him that his fight is one that is worthy.
Midlands 103 is announcing a brand new schedule for its Westmeath service which will include former Shannonside Northern Sound presenter Seamus Duke. This is in tandem with a major investment in modern broadcast equipment, including software upgrades and enhancements to sound processor quality. The station’s name wil lalso change from Midlands Gold.
Midlands 103 Westmeath provides a dedicated output for the county from its studios in Mullingar and Athlone, while offering the primary station format to the three counties of Laois, Offaly and Westmeath.
Albert Fitzgerald, the station’s Managing Director, says: “Midlands 103 Westmeath aims to provide an alternative to the main service – intensely local output at specific times. We broadcast to three counties so it’s a constant battle to be ‘local’ to people of Finea in North Westmeath, and also be relevant to a listener in Graigecullen in South Laois. We’re fortunate to be in a position to provide two options for people in Westmeath.”
The company, which employs 50 full- and part-time staff, is increasing its investment in Midlands 103 Westmeath. This is not only reflected in the technical upgrades but also in the big-name broadcasters who have signed up for the new schedule: Seamus Duke is one of the best-known local radio broadcasters in the country, having drawn over 40,000 listeners to his hourly programme on Shannonside FM. His well-publicised departure from that station in the autumn presented Midlands 103 with what they call a golden opportunity.
Will Faulkner, Midlands 103’s Director of Programming, has been working closely with Mr Duke to prepare a three hour community programme for Westmeath, which will run from 2pm-5pm weekdays.
“I’m delighted to be working with a presenter of the calibre of Seamus Duke,” Will says. “He’s a former Head of News and Sport with Shannonside FM and he also worked with Radio Ireland (now Today FM.) He has an intricate knowledge of politicians and personalities in the Lake County – more importantly, he knows the local people and issues that affect them.”
The show, which is entitled ‘Good Afternoon Westmeath’, will be listener-driven and Seamus is anxious to get local people involved with the programme. It will compliment ‘The Afternoon Show with Roy Jennings’, which offers a music alternative on the main 103.5 frequency. The show will also feature hourly news bulletins from the dedicated Westmeath News Centre.
From 4.30pm, Midlands 103 provides a mix of ’70s, ’80s and ’90s music with regular news and traffic updates.
Will Faulkner comments: “We’ve received a huge amount of positive feedback to Carl James’ programme, but a sizeable number of listeners in Athlone, Kilbeggan, Mullingar – all areas of Westmeath, in fact – also contacted us to compliment Joe Cooney’s ‘Country Roads’ evening show. It convinced us that it makes sense to offer a country and Irish alternative to Drivetime in Westmeath.”
The station launched an extensive recruitment campaign to find a presenter for the new programme, interviewing over 40 applicants. Once again, a long established and hugely popular name emerged as the successful candidate – Ricey Scully.
Will Faulkner describes Ricey Scully as a broadcasting and music legend in the Midlands: “He’s done it all! He featured on pirate radio in Athlone and Mullingar before the inception of commercial radio in 1989. He has played music with all of the biggest names and he has a connection with ordinary people unlike anybody else in the business. We’re thrilled he has accepted the role of country music presenter on the new Midlands 103 Westmeath schedule.”
‘Teatime with Ricey Scully’ goes to air from December 4th as part of the revised schedule. It will feature a blend of artists from the Lake County such as Joe Dolan and TR Dallas, while also offering a flavour of Irish music talent from across the Midlands region.
In addition, a full schedule of specialist programming is being busily prepared for Midlands 103 Westmeath. They include ‘The Best Rock ‘n’ Roll memories with Billy Mc’, ‘Westmeath Showcase with Davy Hynes’ on Thursday evenings, and the dedicated Westmeath ‘Sports Diary’ with Willie Geraghty and Ned Flynn caps off the week.
The students of Athlone Institute of Technology will also showcase their talents with a one-hour programme. These shows will run opposite ‘Country Roads with Joe Cooney’ on the main station output. A further series of programmes to run at a later time is also being considered.
Midlands 103 Managing Director Albert Fitzgerald believes diversity is the key to being a successful radio station. He says: “Our ethos is to provide a service by local people, for local people. The people of Westmeath have two choices on their dial. They can tune to 95.4FM in Athlone, or 96.5FM in Mullingar, and hear specific content for their county. They also have the option of staying with the main service on 103.5FM.”
The company is investing €250,000 in its transmission network. Mr Fitzgerald went on to say: “We realise some listeners may have had difficulty receiving Midlands 103 during our upgrade work. I’d like to thank them for their loyal support and patience. I’m delighted to announce that a stronger, crisper, clearer signal will be beaming through their radios very soon. I hope you enjoy Midlands 103, be it our main service or dedicated Westmeath programming. Roll on December 4th!”
Denis O’Brien has begun libel proceedings against the Irish Mirror over an article which appeared in the newspaper in June 1998. The article suggested that O’Brien had given a £30,000 bribe to former Minister Ray Burke for Dublin station 98FM’s broadcast licence when Burke was awarding local radio licences. The newspaper have admitted that there was no truth in the articles, which also suggested wrong-doing on O’Brien’s part in the acquiring of the second mobile telephone licence.
The case is before a jury for assessment of damages only and continues tomorrow.
Ireland’s easy-listening radio station, Choice FM, will reach the end of its second temporary licence term at midnight tonight. The station has broadcast each Friday, Saturday and Sunday since September 8th.
To mark the final day of broadcasting, Choice FM will broadcast ‘The Top 100 Easy Listening Songs of all Time’ between 10am and 6pm. The chart has been compiled by votes from the station’s listeners in their service areas.
Choice FM first appeared on a 30 day temporary licence last year. At that point the station broadcast to Dublin only but the service was extended this year to cover other major population centres Cork, Galway & Limerick. The station’s management intend to apply for the full-time multi-city licence which will be advertised next year.
This Saturday Choice FM will present a day of special programming as a medium wave opt-out for Dublin listeners. From 11am, on the station’s 1278kHz AM frequency, there will be a selection of special broadcasts which will include general music programming, as well as general information and chat, aimed at what Choice call the “more discerning listener”. The broadcasts run until 6pm when the MW transmitter will rejoin Choice’s FM network for ‘Best of’ with broadcaster Shay Healy.
Speaking about the opt-out programming, Choice FM’s station manager Kevin Branigan, said: “We are enthused by the opportunity to provide separate programming on our MW transmitter. The huge feedback from our ‘Retro Romance’ programmes demonstrates to us that there is a huge market for the crooners and million-seller artists that is not being catered for by existing radio stations – and we would like to gauge the response to it on Saturday.
Choice broadcasts to the major cities around Ireland on FM and AM and will complete its current ten-week temporary licence this weekend.
Phantom 105.2, Dublin’s new licensed alternative rock music station, have announced its launch schedule. The station will begin broadcasting at noon on Hallowe’en with a mix of new voices and old favourites.
New to the station is Edel Coffey, a former journalist, who will be on air daily at 10am. Other presenters include, Peter Vamos, Neill Austin Simon Maher, John Caddell and Jack Hyland.
Ger Roe, the station’s Managing Director, said today: “We are delighted to reveal a very strong line-up with a great mix of old favourites and new voices in our presenters. Our new schedule also reflects a refreshing new mix of old and new. We aim to give alternative rock fans something that is not currently available on the Irish airwaves and we’re confident that’s what we’ve revealed today. We will continue to promote the Irish music scene and we place a particular emphasis on promoting unsigned Irish bands and we’re looking forward to providing Dublin with a new and very different sound.”
Key features of the new schedule include themed evenings with each night dedicated to a different genre of music. These include heavy metal, new Irish and international music, goth, industrial and dark wave. The weekends will host a general arts and entertainment show and a broadcast media show.
Phantom 105.2 will be an aimed at 18-34 year olds and anyone else with an interest in Alternative Rock and new Irish music in the Dublin City and County area. The station will, as part of its remit, promote new and unsigned Irish and International artists as well as providing opportunities for new broadcasting talent. Phantom 105.2 will build on the solid foundation and reputation that it has developed to date and will provide diversity through the provision of quality Alternative Rock music and speech-based programming.
The full weekday schedule (with weekends still be announced) is as follows:
7am Pure Morning with Sinister Pete
10am Access All Areas with Edel Coffey
Midday Out to Lunch with Neill Austin
2pm Phantom Daily with Simon Maher
5pm Heavy Traffic with Jack Hyland
8pm Specialist programming
10pm Bedrock with John Caddell.
News will run on the half-hour and the station will provide an overnight automated music service.
Dublin oldies pirate ABC 876 have ceased broadcasting following a public row about the use of the frequency they use. With available outlets on the FM dial at a premium, a new pirate dance music station calling itself Shock FM announced a short time ago that they would start broadcasting on 87.6MHz FM. This enraged ABC who claimed that they have been using the frequency regularly. However Shock claim that ABC’s low-powered transmissions could barely be heard and that ABC were not on often enough to lay claim to 87.6FM. Bizarrely, one of the arguments put forward by a Shock FM station spokesman against ABC using 87.6MHz was that they “aren’t legal”.
ABC is the same station that broadcast to Dublin in the ’90s and early ’00s.
Beat 102-103, Ireland’s only regional radio station which broadcasts to five counties in the south east, has appointed Gabrielle Cummins as their Interim Chief Executive Officer. Gabrielle was a member of the original team which successfully presented an application for the regional radio licence to the BCI in 2002 and she has held the position of Head of News and Sport with Beat 102-103 since the radio station went on air in July 2003.
In her new role as Interim Chief Executive, Gabrielle will be responsible for strategic planning for Beat 102-103. This will include building an audience, driving revenue, recruitment and building the profile of the company.
Prior to her appointment at Beat 102-103, Gabrielle was TV manager of Waterford’s local television station Waterford @ 8 and she also worked for two years as a journalist with local Waterford radio station WLR FM. Gabrielle also holds an honours Arts Degree in Media Communications and English from the University of Limerick.
Des Whelan, Director of Beat 102-103, says: “Gabrielle (pictured) has been with Beat 102-103 from the start and the board has every confidence that she has the drive, energy and experience to ensure the continued success of the radio station.”
Gabrielle says that she is very much looking forward to her new position with Beat 102-103. She continues: “The main challenges moving forward involve the continual growth of our listenership figures and also increasing revenue. I have worked very closely with a great team at Beat 102-103 for the last three and a half years and I know I have their full support in working to build on the success the radio station has achieved to date.”
Beat 102-103 broadcasts to counties Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow and South Tipperary. Recent figures issued by the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) show that 115,000 adults in the southeast region now tune into Beat 102-103 each week.
Easy-listening Choice FM, which broadcasts across the country, have announced that An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD, will make a special guest appearance on the station on Friday 13th October. During a one-hour programme, An Taoiseach will play a mixture of his favourite songs and will discuss his love of sport and reminisce on the sporting glories of his favourite teams – Dublin and Manchester United. He will also talk about growing up in Dublin during the 1950s and how music and sport have influenced his life.
Speaking to Radiowaves News this evening, Choice FM station manager Kevin Branigan, said: “Obviously we are delighted that An Taoiseach is able to make the time to appear on Ireland’s Choice FM. The programme will be exciting for our listeners as it will show a more human side to him, as opposed to the public persona that we would all be more aware of.”
The programme will be broadcast from Government Buildings between 6pm and 7pm and is part of a series of weekly shows, presented by Joe Harrington, that feature the music and interests of well-known individuals from Irish life.
Choice FM broadasts on AM and FM to Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The station has been granted a temporary broadcasting licence to operate until November 12th and is expected to apply for a full-time licence during 2007.
TV3 have gone to court in order to force newsreader Claire Byrne to honour her contract with the station. Claire was part of former Dublin-only radio station NewsTalk’s national launch team last Friday. She co-hosted the station’s new-look breakfast show with Ger Gilroy and continued her late-night newsreading duties with the television station. TV3 have secured an interim injunction in the High Court which temporarily prevents Byrne from broadcasting on the radio station. TV3 says that Byrne’s contract does not allow her to perform duties with any other broadcast station without their prior consent. The case continues tomorrow.
CityBeat, Belfast city’s dedicated commercial radio station, celebrated its tenth birthday yesterday. As part of the celebrations Stuart Robinson, who is the station’s Head of Music and only on-air presenter to have lasted the ten years, compiled the station’s top 100 songs of the last decade as voted for by CityBeat listeners.
Stuart said: “For the last week we have been asking our listeners to email us their top ten songs of the last decade to coincide with our 10th birthday and we have been absolutely inundated with suggestions. Everything from ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ to ‘Barbie Girl’ have been on peoples’ list but the final 100 shows a vast array of Irish, UK and international artists such as Brian Kennedy, The Corrs, U2, Britney, Westlife, Christina Aguilera, Lonestar, Robbie Williams, Shania Twain, Savage Garden and Boyzone. I think the most surprising results are the fact that Take That and the Spice Girls haven’t made it into the top ten yet Emma Bunton and Robbie Williams have.”
Last week Belfast singer Brian Kennedy officially opened CityBeat’s new state-of-the-art station and studios.
He said: “CityBeat have always supported me, ever since the first single. I think any radio station has to be the heartbeat of the city and CityBeat is that – it’s one of those stations that people just love to listen to, I’m not just saying this but when I am back in Belfast I always tune into CityBeat.”
Commenting on the tenth birthday Station Director Richard Collett added: “We are delighted to celebrate this important milestone in CityBeat’s history. Over the last ten years CityBeat has become an integral part in the lives of our listeners in Belfast and beyond. Looking ahead the station is dedicated now more than ever to providing the kind of broadcasting Belfast expects and delivering the kind of results our advertisers deserve.”
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.”
NewsTalk 106-108 will launch their national service this Friday following a contract signing today which sees them enter an agreement with the BCI to provide a service for ten years.
Newstalk 106-108 will offer speech-driven content for over-25s, with a primary audience of 25-44 year olds and a secondary audience of 45-55 year old adults. The station will broadcast 24 hours per day with over 120 hours of live programming per week.
Speaking at the contract signing, the BCI Chairman Conor J. Maguire said: “We are delighted to sign today’s contract with Newstalk 106-108. In now broadcasting to a national audience, the service will mark a new era in Irish broadcasting. We are confident that the service will add significantly to news and speech-based radio in Ireland and will provide Irish listeners with a vibrant alternative.”
NewsTalk 106-108 say they are ready to launch on a national basis and will do so this Friday if given a BCI nod of approval. The four year old Dublin station were awarded the national licence earlier this year and had set October 2nd as the date when the rest of the country could tune in to its unique blend of news and talk. They will also introduce music to the schedules for the first time when they go national and there will be a schedule shake-up. NewsTalk is marketing itself as a younger alternative to RTÉ Radio 1 and have employed a number of correspondents from outside Dublin.
Claire Byrne is leaving TV Three to join NewsTalk FM, the Dublin news station which is about to go national. NewsTalk have been desperate to sign a big name ever since the high-profile departure of Eamon Dunphy and sources suggest that Claire will join Ger Gilroy on a double-headed breakfast show.
Tests are now starting on the new national frequencies, and the relaunch is set to happen on October 2nd with a release outlining the station’s new schedule due tomorrow.
Long-running pirate station Ministry FM has ceased broadcasting following representations made to them by ComReg. The dance music station, who had been broadcasting on 93.2MHz FM, were informed that they would be raided unless they closed down: they complied with this request.
All of Ministry’s equipment is now being offered for sale amidst rumours that station personnel are planning on bringing it back.
Ministry started life as Mad Radio with a low-powered signal covering Dublin’s city centre. They changed name to Ministry at the end of 2002 and went from strength to strength. They have closed in the past thanks to official activity, but later returned.
Another dance music station, Flash FM, has now appeared on 93.2MHz FM.
As the global Reality TV phenomenon continues its juggernaut into the lives of billions across the globe, American radio has now also joined the party with ‘reality radio’ being introduced by the newly-created US based consultancy Absolute & Dowse (A&D).
America’s initial introduction to reality radio was via 95.5 KLOS – Los Angeles and 95.5 WPLJ – New York with the globally successful “2 Strangers & a Wedding” in which the audience select a bride and her groom from self-nominated candidates, then tune in as the couple literally meet for the first time just before walking down the aisle to say “I do”. This so-called ‘matrimonial social experiment’ was also a hit in Ireland, through Dublin’s 98FM, as well as the UK, New Zealand, Eastern Europe and Australia where reality radio is almost as prevalent as reality TV.
Clive Dickens, Programme & Operations Director of ARI, says: “Absolute & Dowse is proud to have successfully brought its global experience to North America and to work in the world’s biggest media market. We look forward to developing our relationships with more broadcasters in other US markets soon.”
A&D comprises of partners from two globally successful consulting companies who execute and create the properties they promote.
A man who allowed two unlicensed stations to broadcast from his premises has had the charges against him dismissed in Dublin’s District Court.
Anthony Hogarty, who is unemployed at the age of 60, allowed Sun FM and Jack FM to send a signal to his Sandyford-based premises where he used his own apparatus to re-broadcast their signals over the city. He had been warned to stop by ComReg but continued to broadcast despite claiming he received no money for doing so.
Judge Anne Watkin, after hearing he had no previous convictions and that he had a number of medical problems, dismissed the charges under the Probation Act.
The BCI have announced two decisions with regards to community radio licences. The Commission considered applications from two applicant groups at a recent board meeting: Claremorris Community Radio Limited and Sligo Leader Partnership Company Limited.
The BCI have decided to call Claremorris Community Radio Limited to a private oral hearing for the franchise area of Claremorris town and environs. Following completion of the hearings, a report will be presented to the Board of the Commission for determination as to whether the group should be awarded a licence.
The Commission, however, have decided not to approve the application received from Sligo Leader Partnership Company Radio limited for the franchise area of Sligo Town and Environs. The BCI was of the view that the submission did not comply with the requirements for the provision of a community radio service under their Community Radio Policy. This group have operated a community service in the Sligo area over the summer for a number of years.
Commenting on the approved application the BCI’s Chief Executive Michael O’Keeffe said: “We look forward to progressing the licensing process further with Claremorris Community Radio and hope to reach an outcome in this regard in the near future.”
A presenter on Coventry’s Touch FM was left red-faced after a romantic Valentine’s Day gesture backfired on him.
29 year old Steffen La Touche read out a poem and proposed to his girlfriend of nine years live on air on Tuesday. The object of his affections, who also works at the station, was sitting in the studio but made a hasty exit after turning down the proposal, asking why he had done it on air. Listeners heard silence and then a travel bulletin before La Touche returned with the spoken hope that his listeners were having a better Valentine’s Day than he was. He then played ‘Unbreak My Heart’ before making his own exit leaving his show in the hands of another presenter. He was back on air today for the first time since the incident telling listeners that he didn’t want to discuss it.
The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) had further cause for celebration with the publication of the latest JNLR figures which, they claim, clearly demonstrate the widening gap between listenership for independent radio and RTÉ. The listenership figures for the period January 2005 – December 2005* show that independent radio has a weekday (7am – 7pm) market share of 61.4%, 22.8% higher than RTÉ at 38.6%. Figures from January to June versus June to December indicate that some of RTÉ’s most popular broadcasters have lost listeners.
David Tighe, Chairman of the IBI, commented on the figures: “We have come a long way in under 20 years. Listeners are now opting for independent radio with its fresh, local angles, which are relevant to its audiences in comparison to the jaded formats of RTÉ. RTÉ used to be the predominant force in Irish broadcasting but it is now losing touch with its audiences. Our members are getting bigger by being better. As we continue to deliver to our listeners what they want to hear, we will continue to gain market share. These figures indicate that advertisers can also be assured that they are making the right move when they select local radio and Today FM as their mediums of choice.”
*JNLR/TNS mrbi January – December 2005
Judgment has been reserved in Zed FM’s Supreme Court appeal against the High Court’s decision to uphold the BCI award of the Dublin alternative rock music licence to Phantom FM.
Justice Susan Denham presided over the three-judge court yesterday and she heard a number of objections to the licence award. The main argument centres on a perceived advantage to Phantom FM thanks to their past as an unlicensed broadcaster. In November the High Court dismissed this argument maintaining that it was a matter for the BCI to decide what benefits, if any, would influence their decision. However, Zed FM, backed by main investors Bob Geldof and Niall Stokes, claim that Phantom “bullied” the BCI into making a decision in their favour by continually flouting the law by broadcasting illegally until they were eventually awarded the licence.
The licence was granted in November 2004 but a series of Zed FM challenges against the BCI have forced Phantom to delay their launch.
Mark Sadler, aged 36, will join Dublin’s Q102 as Programme Director in April 2006. Mark is joining Q102 from MTV Networks UK & Ireland where he has been Vice President, Music, since 2002 with responsibility for devising the music policy for nine MTV, TMF and VH1 branded channels. With more than twelve years commercial radio experience, he has also enjoyed a highly-successful 10 year career with Capital Radio plc where he was appointed Regional Programme Director of South Coast Operations in 2000. He has worked as Programme Director at Capital’s Southern FM, Power FM and Ocean FM helping these stations achieve record audiences.
Ronan McManamy, Managing Director of UTV Radio Ireland said: “I am delighted that Mark is joining us in April. His extensive programming expertise will be a tremendous boost to Dublin’s Q102 which has enjoyed considerable success since its relaunch 2 years ago. Mark will have a critical role to play in building upon that success by further developing strong content to appeal to the Dublin audience.”
Scott Williams, Managing Director Q102 says: “We are delighted to welcome Mark to Dublin’s Q102. Mark is a world-class programmer with an impressive array of success to his name and I have no doubt that his programme development strategy will enable us to take Q102 to the next level.”
Mark Sadler adds: “I am delighted to be joining the team at Q102 at what is an exciting time for the station. Dublin is a hugely competitive radio market, and Q102 has been making great progress in terms of ratings. I look forward to building on the fantastic work that has been done already, and helping the station to even more success in the future.”
Q102 was previously known as Lite FM and has been on air since May 2000.
Beat 102-103, the regional radio station which broadcasts to five counties in the South East, has unveiled plans for a brand new talk format breakfast show to be hosted by Niall Power (pictured). The show is called ‘Beat Talk @ Breakfast’ and will be a lively talk programme designed to appeal to the station’s target audience of 15-35 year olds. It will feature at least eight interviews an hour focusing on a variety of topics including lifestyle, health, sex, food, fashion and music.
‘Beat Talk @ Breakfast’ will begin broadcasting next Monday. Niall, who has previously presented the Beat Talk programme during the afternoon on Beat 102-103, will host the new breakfast show from 6.50am-9.50am each weekday morning. The programme will also feature regular news bulletins, sport updates with Vincent Bradley and the latest travel news with “Mel on Wheels”.
To promote the new show, a number of billboards are being erected across the region. The creative features presenter Niall Power dressed in his pyjamas, sitting in bed between a sleeping couple, with the headline “Wake Up with Niall Power!”
To further boost its daytime schedule, Beat 102-103 has also signed up Louise Jordan to front the station’s afternoon programme ‘Beat @ Work’. Louise is joining Beat 102-103 from Dublin’s FM104.
Beat 102-103’s Chief Executive Kieran Mc Geary is confident that listeners across the South-East will love the new schedule changes at the radio station. He says: “Having a breakfast programme focused completely on talk is a complete departure for a music radio station aimed at 15-34 year olds. But I have no doubt that there is an appetite for this show in our marketplace and that it will work. Niall Power and BeatTalk have already proved hugely successful in the afternoons with 90% of the show’s audience being within our core target market. If those listeners move with Niall to Breakfast, we will substantially increase our audience in this highly competitive slot and severely hurt our competitors.
“Niall Power is one of the best talk radio presenters in the Irish marketplace and we are delighted that he is moving to breakfast. He will certainly strengthen our breakfast offering as he has strong appeal to both male and female listeners. We are also delighted to have Louise Jordan joining our team.”
Two of Cork’s radio stations, 96FM and 103FM, are to have their JNLR figures audited separately in future after local rival Red FM alerted advertising agancies to the fact that the stations cover the same catchment area. 96FM and 103FM, both owned by UTV, have had their listenership figures presented as if they were a single entity due to the fact that originally they actually broadcast to separate areas – 96FM to Cork city and 103FM to Cork county. However that situation changed in the mid-’90s and both stations are now available over the whole of Cork. Advertising agencies are angry that they bought advertising time on both stations, believing them to cover two different areas. The new arrangement takes effect from April.
Listen to drive-time at any time
City-FM, a new 24-hour information radio station, began broadcasting in Moscow, the Russian capital, this week. The station plans to focus on news and events in the city itself, something it claims other stations in the area fail to do.
BBC Radio Scotland has attracted more than a million listeners in the latest figures just released – the only station in Scotland to top the million mark. The latest Rajar report for the final quarter of 2005 shows that the station attracted 1,017,000 listeners reaching 24.3 per cent of the population – an increase of 51,000 listeners on the previous quarter. Live streaming of Radio Scotland over the internet also attracted a record number for the last quarter according to BBC figures, with 358,000 requests – taking the total figure for the year to 1.14 million. Requests to listen to live SPL commentaries also proved a big hit, with 323,000 in the last quarter alone. The top-of-the-table clash between Celtic and Hearts in mid October, for example, received 14,225 requests – a record for an SPL streamed commentary – while the Edinburgh derby on 29 October was in second place with 13,889 listeners on the web.
Head of Radio at BBC Scotland, Jeff Zycinski, welcomed the latest figures: “We’re obviously delighted to be the only station in Scotland with more than a million listeners a week. It’s a real tribute to our programme makers across Scotland. We’ve tried out a lot of new ideas in the past year, and introduced many new voices to the station. We plan to continue with that kind of creative spirit in the year ahead. We’ll continue to provide exclusive SPL commentary, launch new comedy and drama and remain Scotland’s biggest champion of live music. Naturally there’s one thing we want to say to our listeners – thanks a million!”
BBC London 94.9 has leapt up the London listening tables in the latest Rajar figures, reaching more people than commercial competitors XFM and LBC for the first time. Latest figures (for 2005 quarter four) show BBC London 94.9 is seventh in the league of listeners – up four places from its 11th slot for the same period in 2004. This means that the station – which now has 546,000 listeners every week – has had the best six months in its history, after hitting the heights in 2005 quarter three with 561,000, its second highest figures ever. The latest figures are the third highest the station has recorded.
BBC London 94.9 Managing Editor David Robey said the figures were “great news coming in a period of major upheaval with the launch of an entirely new schedule in October with Jono Coleman and Jo Good at Breakfast, Vanessa Feltz moved to the mornings and Danny Baker – who won his Sony gold award when he was with us – back in the afternoons. This is the coming of age of BBC London 94.9 as London’s station of choice for big news and events. Hundreds of thousands of new listeners tuned in during the tragic events last July and they have stayed.”
The UK’s national commercial speech station TalkSport have recorded their highest ever number of listening hours in the latest quarterly RAJAR audience figures release. The station has also achieved significant year-on-year increases in share and reach. TalkSport, now owned by UTV, have been fervent critics of RAJAR’s methods of recording listenership through their previous owner Kelvin McKenzie.
Absolute Radio International Ltd (ARI) have joined forces with Town and Country Broadcasting Ltd (T&C) to jointly bid for the new Bristol FM radio licence to be advertised by industry regulator Ofcom. The new licence, broadcasting on 106.5MHz FM, will cover the city of Bristol and the surrounding area. It will be advertised by Ofcom in March and awarded in the late summer / early autumn of 2006, with a prospective on-air date of spring 2007. The relationship between the broadcasters combines ARI’s experience in competitive urban markets with T&C’s existing operations in South Wales and the West for a unique new approach to local radio in the west of England’s largest city. Bristol is currently served by local radio stations owned by GCap, UKRD, UBC and Emap, which mainly target the younger end of the market.
Clive Dickens – Programme & Operations Director of ARI says: “ARI has carried out initial analysis of the Bristol radio market and we have commissioned a full market consumer study to pinpoint the best new format for the market. Existing local commercial services achieve less than 30% of all listening in Bristol, with the BBC more dominant in the city than across similar markets in the UK. Our track record and expertise in competitive markets will serve us well in launching a successful new station for Bristol.”
Jason Bryant, CEO of Town & Country, says: “Audience figures confirm that radio in Bristol is owned by the BBC, which enjoys a mighty 63.5% share of all radio listening. This vibrant city deserves better from its local commercial radio stations. Fresh from our win in Swansea, and our commitment to better local radio, we look forward to bringing something new, distinctive and innovative to Bristol with our friends at Absolute Radio.”
Absolute Radio International is an independent, privately held, company that explores ownership, investment and management projects in Global Radio.
Town and Country Broadcasting is a private company and is the major shareholder in six UK commercial radio stations. It also offers a range of analogue and digital radio consultancy services to clients, including the UK’s leading rock and pop station Virgin Radio.
Some of the BBC’s popular radio programmes are under threat of being taken off air by strike action by up to 500 BBC radio production staff later this month. The strike, in protest over job cuts, will see staff walk out in London, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester. 100 people are likely to lose their jobs thanks to a planned merger of production jobs. February 15th and 23rd are the dates for the planned walk-out.
Ray D’Arcy has been named the number 1 Irish radio presenter at this year’s Meteor Awards. He was presented with the award last night by Keith Duffy, who caused controversy by telling a packed audience at Dublin’s Point Theatre that the honour should have gone to Larry Gogan. This is the second time in a row that D’Arcy has received the award.
Dublin dance music station Pulse FM have changed frequency. The station have shifted from 94.1MHz FM to 94.6MHz FM to ensure that they do not cause interference to upcoming temporarily-licenced college stations on 94.3MHz FM.
The Broadcasting Complaints Commission have upheld a complaint against an Anna Livia presenter which was made to them by his former spouse. Kenneth Reid played a number of tracks about money following a court appearance with his ex-wife over their finances. The woman claimed that this was an attempt to humiliate her.
Reid presented the show ‘Backbeat’ on the station but was suspended following the complaint and has not worked there since.
The latest independent audience figures (RAJAR) released today show that an extra 17,000 listeners are tuning in every week to the Belfast-based Citybeat 96.7FM. This gives Citybeat the largest increase in audience of any local station within its transmission area. Overall 135,000 listeners are now tuning into the station each week.
Commenting on the figures, the Station Director Richard Collett said: “We are delighted that so many new listeners are now enjoying Citybeat. We believe in providing the music people want coupled with the news they need – all delivered by great presenters. It is particularly pleasing for us to see such substantial growth in our audience at a time when the Northern Ireland radio market has undergone significant changes with the launch of high profile competition. We believe these figures are also great news for all our advertisers, giving them an even greater platform to reach their customers.”
The latest quarterly RAJAR listenership figures (September-December ’05) for the UK have produced a record share for the BBC’s radio services with 55.1% of all listening. In addition, the breakfast shows on the two main channels have added listeners: Radio 1’s Chris Moyles has added 370,000 weekly listeners year on year for Radio 1, and Terry Wogan on Radio 2 has added 300,000 listeners this quarter.
The Director of BBC Radio & Music Jenny Abramsky said: “Congratulations to Chris Moyles and Terry Wogan, whose unique presenting styles continue to attract listeners. It’s also exciting to see that more and more people are listening to radio through new, digital platforms.”
Radio 1’s reach is 10.29m, stable on the quarter (10.33m) and up on the year (9.92m). Share, at 9.2 per cent, is also up on the year (8.2%) and steady on the quarter (9.4%).
Radio 2’s strong performance continues, with a reach of 13.25 million (13.31m last year and 12.86m last quarter) and share of 16 per cent, up on the quarter (15.6%) but slightly down on the year (16.4%).
Radio 3 has 1.97 million listeners – slightly down on the quarter (2.07m) and the year (2.1m). Share is stable at 1.2 per cent against the same figure for last quarter and 1.3% last year.
Radio 4’s share is up to 11.8 per cent – the station’s highest since quarter 1 2003, during the Gulf War – and up from 11.5% last quarter and last year. Reach dips to 9.32 million from 9.62m last quarter and 9.41m last year.
Radio Five Live – which records a combined reach with its digital service Five Live Sports Extra – has a reach of 5.78 million, against 6.05m last year and 6.17m last quarter. Share at 4.3 per cent is also slightly down on the year (4.4%) and the quarter (4.7%). This is an expected decline after a strong performance across the station during the Ashes.
BBC Local and National Radio’s reach is at its highest for almost two years at 10.44 million, showing a significant improvement on the quarter (9.86m) and the year (10.24m). Share is also up to 11.1 per cent, from 10.7% last quarter and 11% last year.
BBC Radio Ulster – including Radio Foyle – broke all previous records with a weekly reach of 614,000 listeners and a share of listening of 29.8 per cent.
Amongst the digital-only services, BBC 6 Music’s weekly reach has grown to 354,000 listeners, from 285,000 last quarter and 238,000 last year, while share is up to 0.2 per cent from 0.1% last quarter and year.
1Xtra has 352,000 listeners – up on the year (288,000) but down from last quarter’s record of 405,000. Its share is unchanged on last year’s 0.1 per cent but down on last quarter’s high of 0.3%.
BBC 7 consolidated its position, with a reach of 600,000, a marked rise on last year (391,000) and slightly down on the quarter (631,000). Its share, at 0.3 per cent, is stable on the quarter and up on the year (0.2%).
The BBC Asian Network has 420,000 listeners – down on 524,000 last quarter and 535,000 last year – while share is unchanged at 0.3 per cent.
Five Live Sports Extra has a total reach of 460,000 compared with 343,000 last year and 482,000 last quarter. Its share is unchanged at 0.1 per cent.
The BBC World Service has 1.35 million listeners – down on the quarter (1.42m) but up on the year (1.27m). Share is 0.7 per cent, up on last year’s 0.6% and stable on the quarter.
Freak FM has closed down. Cork’s long-running alternative rock music station, which broadcast on 105.2MHz FM, went off air in the early hours of this morning following a recent raid by ComReg. A series of foul-mouthed tirades against the authorities marked Freak FM’s final countdown during which station personnel broadcast a defiant message telling ComReg (at the end of a Rage Against the Machine track with a similar line): “F**k you, I won’t do what you tell me”. This was just minutes before they closed – just as they were told to.
The station feel aggrieved that a licence to broadcast to Cork has been awarded by the BCI to Life FM, a station broadcasting religious programming, yet their audience remains disenfranchised by the present licensing set-up. According to a station presenter, the BCI do not believe that there is a need for a station like Freak FM in Cork and he is calling on their listeners to “annoy them” until they get the message.
Bahrain is set to have its first private radio station. Sawt al-Ghad (Voice of Tomorrow) has already gone on the air on a trial basis on 98.4MHz FM. The station is expected to launch officially in a few weeks and will focus on music, sports, culture and the stock market but avoid news and politics.
Many of London’s estimated 80 pirate stations have been shut in a series of raids which started last Saturday and ended midweek. Ofcom, with police help, removed 53 radio transmitters, putting 44 stations involved in illegal broadcasting out of business. Stations affected include Afrique FM in Tottenham, Lush FM in Acton, Whoa FM in Elephant & Castle, Baseline FM in Lewisham, Powerjam in Battersea, Ragga FM in Edmonton and Have It FM in Bow. The operation was carried out because many of the stations are believed to be linked to criminal gangs. The raids also uncovered drugs and weapons, including firearms.
Roscommon’s community radio station Ros FM, who broadcast on 94.6MHz FM, are today embarking on a live, non-stop, 30-hour broadcast as part of a joint fundraiser in aid of the Friends of St Lukes Hospital and Ros FM itself. John Crean, Liam Sherringham and Finbar Spellman are presenting a mixture of music, chat, sport news and views with a selection of special guests joining them over the course of the marathon broadcast, which finishes tomorrow evening.
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.
Pirate radio station Splash FM has been shut down by the Gardaí. The station, based in Finglas in north Dublin, was broadcasting on 93.8MHz FM and had earned a reputation for broadcasting material which caused offence to anybody who may have stumbled upon their transmissions. Members of Dublin’s unlicensed community had expressed concern that the material being broadcast by Splash FM would be just the ammunition needed for the government regulatory body ComReg to launch another offensive against unlicensed stations which have established a pattern of coming on air at night and weekends only in hopes of thwarting any action against them.
According to the Gardaí, Splash FM was operated by members of the criminal fraternity, in particular an armed robber and drug dealer who is known as Mr Fatpuss. The station offered on-air tips on how to steal cars and also featured live broadcasts of joyriding gangs in action. Splash FM have also been accused of broadcasting racially offensive material.
We’re going off air tonight but we won’t be going away because we don’t know the meaning of the words ‘going away’.” These were the words of Irish Music Radio’s CEO Joe Doyle this evening as he prepared to close the Dublin station following fifteen weekends on air broadcasting under their second temporary licence from the BCI. Although Irish Music Radio will continue to stream live online after tonight’s closedown, Joe was referring to plans to apply for a full-time licence in the future. Irish Music Radio will be going for a regional Country and Irish licence due to be offered by the BCI towards the end of next year, a service that Dublin’s Country Mix 106.8FM have also expressed an interest in applying for. Perhaps surprisingly, the competition has been welcomed by Joe who feels that IMR’s “record in the provision of such a service speaks for itself”. The new licence will be based outside Dublin but will be for an AM channel.
The station’s ‘Meltdown’ included a live broadcast from the Steering Wheel pub in Clondalkin, although this was not without its teething problems which led to Joe giving the studio microphones a different sort of meltdown thanks to a foul-mouthed rant which accidentally went out live on air.
Dublin’s easy-listening weekend station Choice FM, which broadcasts on 92.1MHz FM, have added more presenters to their line-up. John Power, who previously worked at Q102, Magic 103 and Energy 103 in the ’80s and FM104 in the ’90s, will join the team on October 1st. He most recently presented the Saturday afternoon slot at East Coast FM.
Meanwhile, Liza Jolie has also joined the station as a presenter and can be heard on Saturdays and Sundays from midnight to 3am. Liza currently works as a newsreader at East Coast FM.
Choice FM operates under temporary licence from the BCI.
Ivan Martin and Richard Young are set to make a comeback on UTV’s new radio station for Belfast, U105, which will broadcast on the newly-announced 105.8MHz FM.
From the station’s launch day on November 14th at 6am, Ivan and Richard will present the 105 Breakfast. The show will run for three hours each weekday with a mixture of music, news, the talking points of the day, traffic and travel information, sport, business, what’s on and a review of the papers.
U105’s Managing Director John Rosborough said: “For many people Ivan and Richard were absolutely synonymous with breakfast time. They’ve enjoyed a well deserved lie-in for the last seven years and now they’re ready to come back, better than ever before, to send U105 listeners out to face the day well informed with a smile on their faces.”
Ivan Martin said: “I am excited by the prospect of being in at the start of something new with U105. I feel that it fills a big gap in the market and I am also delighted to be working with Richard again. We never took ourselves too seriously before and that will not have changed. We are looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with the audience again. This time around, with the advent of e-mail and texts, we will have greater and more immediate access to them. That promises to be good craic.”
Richard Young said: “I’m really looking forward to the new show and can promise listeners radio for grown-ups! I can honestly say Ivan’s one of the few people who doesn’t make me grumpy at 6am, and that’s quite a feat! But then, as he says, we have never taken ourselves very seriously, and that helps when you’re trying to prise your eyelids open. Mind you, getting up at ‘early o’clock’ again every morning will probably come as a bit of a shock at first.”
U105 will be aimed primarily at listeners aged 45 plus.
West Dublin Access Radio, which broadcasts on 96.0MHz FM, has relaunched from new state-of-the-art studios based in the Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre. The refurbishment took ten weeks to complete.
The station started a five year licence run in September 2004 following a successful temporary licence run.
Marty Whelan has said that his new breakfast show, starting at 7am on RTÉ 2FM on Monday morning, will focus mainly on his own personality rather than relying on gags or sketches. Speaking to tonight’s Evening Herald the popular presenter promises listeners a fun-filled show that will offer something different to humour-based shows on offer on Today FM and FM104. Marty also promises more (and a wider wariety of) music than other shows available at the same hour.
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.
Dublin oldies station Jack FM can now be heard on 1395kHz on the medium wave band in addition to their 88.1MHz FM outlet.
Two of Dublin’s top commercial stations have launched virtually identical competitions which are based on an American tv show. 98FM is looking for Dublin’s ‘Most Desperate Housewives’ whilst at the same time Q102 is seeking ‘Desperate Dublin Housewives’.
Both competitions call on housewives in the area who are desperate to do anything to win cash prizes.
Both competitions are being run by the station’s respective breakfast show teams.
And both competitions have almost identical blurbs accompanying the launch on the stations’ websites…whilst 98FM ask whether you would “walk down Grafton St in your underwear” to win thousands of euro, Q102 ask if you’re desperate enough to “walk naked down Grafton Street” for just one thousand euro. Q102 wonder whether you’d “bungee jump off a crane over the Liffey for 10 Grand?”, but 98FM ask if you’re desperate enough to “swim the Liffey in a chicken suit?”
98FM’s promotion is running for four weeks, the idea is that women will be pitted against each other in a series of challenges, and the woman desperate enough to do it for the least amount of cash – wins that amount.
A disgruntled country music fan has launched a campaign against Dublin’s Country. Robert Stevens, who lives in Rathfarnham in south Dublin, describes himself as an ordinary country music fan who is extremely angry at what he sees as a waste of a country music radio licence.
“I can’t believe that the BCI allow the people who own Dublin’s Country to carry on the way they are and effectively misuse their licence,” he says. “I am tired of running up phone bills streaming good country music stations from the USA.”
Robert says he wrote to the station last July, and frustrated at the lack of response, he has launched an online petition to ‘to try to get the BCI and Star Broadcasting to stop wasting Dublin’s only country licence’.
The petition can be viewed at http://www.petitiononline.com/1068fm/petition.html.
Alien Mountain’s border pirate stations have once again been silenced by ComReg. Magic 105 and Energy 106, who have been broadcasting into Northern Ireland from Monaghan for many years, were taken off the air early this morning.
“[ComReg] sent riggers up the mast destroying and wrecking everything in sight,” according to station engineer Miles Johnstone. “This is despite the current legal proceedings against them.”
According to Miles, all antennae at the site have either been destroyed or removed. “An original Kiss FM 103.7 transmitter was left intact,” he says. “It was the only item left.”
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RTÉ 2FM breakfast show host Ryan Tubridy has been voted by radio programmers as the hottest talent on air – for now. Hot on his heels is Today FM’s mid-morning presenter Ray D’Arcy in second place, and Keith Cunningham, the ‘Red Rooster’ breakfast presenter for Red FM in Cork in third.
The Top 10 Talent Index was conducted by Digital Audio Productions and included programme directors and industry management nationwide. The poll will continue to be compiled monthly from nominations by radio professionals and judged by an independent panel of radio station programme directors and managers nationwide.
“It’s great to see there are so many local radio presenters on the list,” said Dusty Rhodes, former 2FM DJ and now MD of Digital Audio Productions. “The idea is to encourage and support presenters to be their best in an industry that rarely says thank you.”
Dusty continues: “It also shows the entire radio business not only who is hot, but also the new up and coming talent. I’m very sure that people on the Index will be poached over the coming months by big city stations and national radio.”
The rest of the Top Ten is as follows: 4th – Niall Power, who presents ‘Beat Talk’ on south-east regional station Beat 102-103; 5th -Brian McColl, who presents ‘The Home Run’ on Dublin’s 98FM; 6th – Steve Haze, who presents ‘Drivetime’ on Cork’s 96FM; 7th – Oliver Carroll, who presents WLR FM’s ‘All Request Lunch’; 8th – Pat Kenny, who presents ‘Today with Pat Kenny’ on RTÉ Radio 1; 9th – Paul Scanlon, who presents ‘Ocean Breeze’ on the north-west station Ocean FM; and in 10th place – Tom Dunne, who presents ‘Pet Sounds’ on national independent station Today FM.
Station’s plans to rebrand as ‘Star’ are up in the air
Irish language award for Shannonside/Northern Sound
Award for Shannonside
RTÉ have announced details of an agreement with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) which covers television and radio rights for international football on the public service broadcaster up to 2010. Under the terms of the deal, RTÉ has secured the rights to broadcast all of the Republic of Ireland’s competitive home international matches up to the 2010 World Cup on both television and radio. This includes all home qualifiers for the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland, and all home qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The deal also allows for live coverage of all home friendly matches on radio, and on a deferred basis on TV, from 1st August 2006 to 30th June 2010.
Speaking about the deal, RTÉ Radio Sport Editor Paddy Glackin said: “RTÉ Radio is looking forward to continuing and developing our long-standing relationship with the FAI, and to bringing a comprehensive national coverage of international soccer to our listeners.”
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.”
Jack FM are back on air in Dublin. The automated oldies music station have returned to 88.1MHz FM after an absence of five days.
RTÉ’s Joe Duffy has criticised Bono’s performance as guest editor of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme earlier this week. The presenter of Radio 1’s Liveline programme called the U2 lead singer “boring” and “too wrapped up in himself” in his Ireland on Sunday column published today. Duffy feels that Bono made a ‘dog’s dinner’ of producing the programme, which went out just two days after the tsunami disaster which struck South-East Asia last weekend. He claims that Bono allowed his ‘old-pals club’ to spend time offering devotion to Bono and themselves, rather than devoting time to dealing with the disaster which has laid the planet’s population grief-stricken.
Duffy was also critical of an item Bono produced suggesting that the Irish are descended from Arabs rather than the Celts. Considering the events in Asia, Duffy questions whether anyone cares whether Bono is a Celt or an Arab.
At the same time Duffy was full of praise for Pat Kenny, his colleague at Radio 1, for his treatment of the tsunami disaster. He called Kenny’s show “a masterclass of sensitivity and production”.
The independent radio sector is set to grow substantially in 2005. So says Ethel Power, Tipp FM’s Chief Executive, speaking to today’s Sunday Business Post.
Ethel, who took over the position at the Tipperary station in June, predicts that more and more listeners from beyond the Pale will find that the national stations focus only on the major cities, leaving them feeling totally disenfranchised. They will continue to turn to their local stations to tune into rural issues that affect them.
Ethel also predicts that more business people will realise that the most effective way to reach large provincial populations is through their local radio station. This will lead to a significant advertising sales growth in the sector, she says.
Listeners to RTÉ Radio 1’s Liveline show were stunned yesterday when a hoax caller managed to suggest that minister Martin Cullen’s PR advisor Monica Leech must be ‘sucking his c**k’ to earn the €120,000 a year he’s paying her from government funds.
The caller to the afternoon phone-in show presented by Joe Duffy identified himself as ‘Norman’, a member of the Progressive Democrats.
Debate had been raging on the show with many listeners critical of the amount of money being paid. However, ‘Norman’ took the debate to another level when he first suggested that Leech was not being overpaid at all. Duffy asked him to justify the remarks but wasn’t prepared for the response he got.
‘Norman’ offered the view that maybe she’s been doing other things besides the constituency work. When he became more specific, Duffy instantly stopped the call and went to a commercial break.
Today’s Liveline contained an unreserved apology but it may not prevent a massive libel case against RTÉ.
Liquid FM, on 90.3MHz FM in Dublin, have commenced live broadcasts and they hope to have a full live schedule from the weekend.
Highland Radio, the licensed service in Donegal, have switched off an unlicensed transmitter based in Inishowen following a warning from ComReg that it was illegal.
Tyrone Community Radio are defiantly back on air despite a recent ComReg raid in which some of their equipment was taken from their location in Ballylast, in east Donegal.
TCR have been broadcasting to the area for a decade but were closed down a couple of weeks ago by members of ComReg, who were accompanied by the Gardai. However, the country & western music station returned just days later.
ComReg have indicated that they intend to prosecute the station’s owners.
Energy Power AM, who also broadcast on 1593kHz, have launched a test channel at 828kHz medium wave. At present the output consists solely of automated music.
The Board of the BCC considered and/or adjudicated upon 37 complaints at a recent meeting. Three of these complaints were found to be frivolous and vexatious under Section 24(14) of the Broadcasting Act, 2001 and were therefore closed without further investigation. Six complaints were deferred to the next meeting of the Board for further consideration. Of the remaining 28, four were upheld – three of these were concerned with radio programmes and included complaints against FM104’s late-night ‘Adrian Kennedy Phone Show’ on the grounds of taste & decency; Cork 96FM & 103FM’s ‘Opinion Line’ on the grounds of privacy; and Spin 1038’s afternoon show ‘Spin Talk’ on the grounds of taste & decency.
The complaint against Adrian Kennedy’s Phone Show relates to a sexually explicit discussion and the complainant found the programme extremely offensive, calling the broadcast ‘way out of line’ and unsuitable for her two teenage daughters and her concern is on behalf of all teenagers being influenced by what they hear.
In response to the complaint FM104 say that the Adrian Kennedy Phone Show features a sex and relationship presenter, Sophie Hegarty.
“This part of the phone show is called ‘sex talk’ and it has been part of the show for some eight months now,” the station says. “Each night one topic relating to relationships or sex is dealt with. It should be noted that every Adrian Kennedy Phone Show is preceded with a warning that the show may contain some strong language and that the material is of an adult nature.”
The station goes on to say that the topics discussed are usually relationship-type topics. “However from time to time the topics discussed can be of a more sexual nature,” they continue. “Listeners who are offended by such content do have a choice in the matter and can elect to listen to another station. This is why the station gives a warning at the beginning of and at intervals throughout the show.”
This is the only complaint ever made in relation to this particular broadcast.
Despite the station’s claims the complaint was upheld by the BCC. The Commission was of the view that FM104 infringed Section 24(2)(b)(taste & decency). The manner in which the sexual content of the programme was presented and dealt with was considered by the BCC to be offensive. The Commission noted that the station did broadcast warnings that the content of the programme was of an adult nature and in their summary also noted that they are aware that addressing sexual issues is important and is appropriate content for a programme broadcast late in the evening. “However, the tone and manner in which this programme dealt with sexual issues was considered to be flippant and gratuitous,” the summary continues. “Airing warnings does not circumvent the broadcaster’s editorial responsibility. The programme was sensationalist in style and offensive.”
The complaint against Cork stations 96/103FM was made by Mr Richard McCarthy under Section 24(2)(c) (privacy of an individual) of the Broadcasting Act 2001 and refers to ‘The Opinion Line’ – a show presented by Neil Prenderville. The complaint concerns the presenter’s decision to put McCarthy on-air without his permission. The item being discussed on the show was in connection with long delays for motorists trying to leave the multi-storey car park where McCarthy works. He states that he received a ‘phone call from a man who claimed he was a motorist who had been delayed for a long period of time when leaving the car park on 1st July’. Road works and a broken barrier caused delays to traffic leaving the car park on that day. After some time, a colleague working in the car park informed McCarthy that he was live on-air. This was the first McCarthy knew of the broadcast and he ended the call immediately. McCarthy states that the caller did not identify himself nor did he inform him the call was going out live on-air. He was never asked if he was prepared to have his response broadcast live. McCarthy believes this was a serious breach of his rights and a serious invasion of privacy. He says he felt humiliated, embarrassed and upset at the way he was treated. Many of the people he comes into contact with on a daily basis heard the broadcast and mentioned this to him. He found this highly embarrassing. McCarthy complains that Cork’s 96/103FM acted in an unethical and underhand manner. He also states that he received a call earlier that morning from an employee of Cork’s 96/103FM regarding this topic. He pointed out to her that employees of Cork City Council were not permitted to discuss work/policy matters with the press. He informed her she would have to contact City Hall. Despite being aware of this, the call was still made. McCarthy believes the broadcast breached the Broadcasting Act, 2001 under privacy of the individual.
In response the station states that the lead up to this phone call was as a result of calls received at the station regarding long delays by motorists exiting the car park at Paul Street on Thursday 1st July. In following up on this story, researchers at the station tried to obtain a response from Cork City Council, the operator of the car park. However, it was the following Monday before they received a response. Cork City Council’s response was that the delays were not caused by the car park itself but were due to traffic problems on the adjoining quays. They also stated that the car park personnel had opened the car park barrier to speed things up. While this was being aired, numerous calls were received at the station stating that the second barrier was not working and this caused delays. At this point, the researcher tried to contact the City Council again to get a response but without success. Presenter, Neil Prenderville, then decided to contact the car park directly as he could not understand the ongoing difficulty in receiving an accurate statement from the City Council. Cork’s 96/103FM admit Mr Prenderville did telephone the car park directly and spoke on-air to an individual. However, this person remained unnamed at all times. The station further claim the call was a genuine attempt to clarify the reason for the delays for a large number of listeners who contacted the show. Normal procedure was departed from on this occasion due to the trivial nature of the item and the genuine desire to get a simple answer to a simple question.
In summary, the BCC say they upheld the complaint as they were of the view that Cork’s 96/103FM did infringe Section 24(c)(privacy of an individual). The presenter posed as a member of the public who had been caught up in the delays in getting out of a car park on 1st July and broadcast live, surreptitiously, the subsequent discussion with the complainant who did not have the authority to speak on behalf of his employer. The BCC note that the broadcaster had been instructed that they should contact City Hall for comment and not the car park staff. Therefore the station were aware that the car park staff were not in a position to speak on behalf of the Council. The Commission were of the opinion that Prenderville dealt with this matter in an unfair and deceitful manner and in so doing, infringed the rights of McCarthy.
The complaint made against Spin 1038’s ‘Spin Talk’ was under Section 24(2)(b)(taste & decency) of the Broadcasting Act 2001. Every Friday Spin Talk deals with sex issues. The station does advise that parental guidance may be necessary. The complainant states that this is not always possible with young teenagers listening to radio. On the day in question the presenters, Jack and Ali, were discussing ‘hand jobs’. They read out 10 different ways of giving a hand job. The complainant called the item ‘outrageous’ and points out that many teenagers listen to this programme, including her 13 year old.
Spin 1038 state in their response that the subject of the programme centered on male masturbation. The ‘Gender Agenda’ is a regular feature on Friday’s Spin Talk programme. This section is heavily promoted as a Sex & Relationship feature. Warning messages are consistently broadcast around this section, which alert listeners to an open and frank discussion on sex and sexuality. The feature was based around an interview with a sex and relationship expert, Melissa Ulto and also featured calls and text messages from the show’s listeners recounting their experiences. Although Spin 1038 accept masturbation is a taboo topic, many major studies by leading experts suggest that a very clear majority of males engage in masturbation. This makes it a common practice, but one which is rarely covered on radio. As a news and current affairs show, Spin Talk has a brief to challenge boundaries and break down traditional taboos. On occasion, this requires the programme to cover topics that more traditional broadcasters would avoid at any time of the day. Spin 1038 state it was not their intention to offend and their coverage of similar items tends to be scheduled within the Friday segment of the show – which is clearly and repeatedly flagged as dealing with sex and relationship issues. They apologise for giving offence but feel they do offer adequate warnings and advice during the programme.
The BCC was of the view that Spin 1038 did infringe Section 24(2)(a)(taste & decency) as the programme contained an explicit discussion on masturbation which was dealt with in a gratuitous manner. The BCC felt that the broadcast was in poor taste, particularly given the time of day of the broadcast and also given the quite cynical presentation of the sexual content and the inappropriate time of broadcast.
A further 24 complaints were rejected.