Kiss FM of Life for Dead European Language

Berlin radio station Kiss FM have promised that they will broadcast its entire morning show in Latin on September 26. The unique idea is to mark the European day of languages. Trailers, news and weather will be translated into Latin for the show which has a listenership of over 4m. A station member of staff has also written a Latin rap song!

Midlands 103 Move to New State of the Art Studios

Midlands 103 Headquarters, Axis Business Park, Tullamore
Midlands 103 Headquarters, Axis Business Park, Tullamore

Midlands 103 have this week moved its 50 full and part-time staff to a new state-of-the-art headquarters. The new 5,500 square foot complex at the Axis Business Park in Tullamore comprises new studio facilities, finance, administration and general office areas. It forms part of a strategic three million euro investment by the company. The radio station, which serves Laois, Offaly and Westmeath, is also conducting a multi-phase enhancement of its transmission network.

Leading consultants from West Country Broadcast in the UK and Radio Computer Systems in the US were employed to work on the project, together with top Irish firms in the construction and electrical trade. The studios utilise the latest digital sound technology coupled with touchscreen playout systems and other facilities to improve the broadcast experience for presenters and guests. It is the only broadcast project in Ireland where these leading companies have worked collaboratively and they have produced results to envy any radio station in the country.

Broadcaster Will Faulkner in Studio One during 'The Midlands Today
 Show'
Broadcaster Will Faulkner in Studio One during ‘The Midlands Today
Show’

Midlands 103’s Managing Director Albert Fitzgerald says: “‘Tindle House’ represents a huge vote of confidence in the local economy and the strength of the Midlands 103 brand. We’re extremely excited about the opportunities it affords us to produce better programming, improve the quality of workplace for our staff and diversify our business. This surpasses any radio facility in the country and people living in the Midlands can truly be proud of their local station.

“In addition two of the station’s leading presenters have been nominated for prestigious national awards. Will Faulkner’s ‘Midlands Today Show’ (left) is on a shortlist for ‘Current Affairs Programme of the Year’, alongside RTE’s Pat Kenny, while Ricey Scully could receive an award for his touching tribute to singing legend Joe Dolan.

News journalist Bernard O'Farrell delivering an update
News journalist Bernard O’Farrell delivering an update

Dublin station 98 officially unveils new image

Dublin’s 98FM has dropped the FM from its title and have officially launched a new look for the station. The new logo for Dublin’s 98 was recently unveiled at an extravaganza held in the private gardens of Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin.

Launching the new look, Michael Brady, Chief Executive of 98 said: “It has been a while since we have refreshed the look of the station. All high profile brands, including radio stations, need to keep their image and corporate identity relevant and fresh, that is what we are doing. Change is the one constant in our business, our listeners are evolving and changing and we must reflect and embrace their evolving and changing interests. This new look, I believe, also reflects the improved sound of 98 which reaffirms our position as the most entertaining station in Dublin.”

Michael continues: “We listen very carefully to what our listeners are saying and the most consistent thing they keep telling us is that 98 is the station that makes them smile. Our mission is to ensure that when anyone wants to be entertained in Dublin – 98 will be their No.1 choice and help them smile throughout the day.”

Dublin’s 98’s Michael Brady and Samantha Wadkin launch new-look station vehicles

A spokesperson for the station says that the new look is made up of vibrant colours of blue and magenta which create a core purple tone that is distinctive within the Dublin radio landscape.
“These colours were chosen because of their outstanding appeal to the target listener during research. The logo is made up of the 9 and 8 creating a curvaceous shape shot through with yellow wave patterns flow, bringing it to life and giving it an energy and vibrancy,” the spokesperson says.

While the look of the station has changed, the station’s ethos remains the same: to continue to play “Dublin’s Best Music Mix” playing the biggest mix of songs from the ’80s, ’90s and today, and to continue to provide the best on-air entertainment, the biggest promotions and most of all, continue to make Dublin smile.

To support the launch of the station’s new look, a major marketing campaign is underway spearheaded by a new 30 second television advertisement which shows people smiling around Dublin city as they listen to 98 to the backing track of ‘Smile’ by The Supernaturals. There’s also an extensive outdoor 48 and 5 sheet bus and Dart campaign.

The Dublin 98 Morning Crew: Dermot Whelan, Dave Moore and Siobhán O’Connor

Radio 1 Says Goodbye to MW with Brendan Balfe

Brendan Balfe, Larry Gogan and Mike Murphy (1974)

To mark Monday’s closedown of RTÉ Radio 1’s Medium Wave service Brendan Balfe will present ‘Medium Wave Goodbye’ from 1.30pm. Brendan will countdown to the switch off at 3pm with a personal choice of rare, medium and well-done moments from the Irish airwaves.

RTÉ’s broadcasts began life on medium wave as 2RN, later known as Radio Athlone, Raidió Éireann and in more recent times as RTÉ Radio 1. RTÉ introduced the FM service in 1966 to counteract interference and poor reception on the MW band.

For Medium Wave Goodbye, which will be broadcast on all wavelengths, on the internet and on RTÉ’s digital radio trial service, Brendan has assembled a nostalgic programme highlighting some of his favourite moments on Irish radio. Brendan promises an entertaining and fascinating 90 minutes of memories of a service which has brought the world into homes all over the country since 1926, capturing moments of history and life through decades of news, sport, features and entertainment. The programme includes archive audio of request programmes, pop and trad music, features, documentaries and commentaries.

After March 24th listeners can only tune into conventional RTÉ Radio 1 broadcasts on FM, 252kHz LW, and also via cable television, satellite, the internet and in pilot areas on RTÉ’s DAB digital radio trial service.

Listeners who tune into MW specifically for extra RTÉ Radio 1 programmes, including weekday sports broadcasts and Sunday religious services, will find those programmes on long wave, cable television and the internet.

For an alternative to sports broadcasts on Saturdays and Sundays listeners will find a selection of RTÉ Radio 1 arts, features and drama on RTÉ’s digital radio test station, RTÉ Choice, and as downloadable podcasts from www.rte.ie/radio1.

Today’s Newspapers: February 20th 2008

Derry Journal – A fresh and interactive sound for the North West

A fresh and interactive sound for the North West

Broadcasting from Galway to Malin Head, Irish radio was changed forever with the opening of the new i 102-104 FM by comic duo Tommy Tiernan and Hector O hEochagain last week. This brand new station is the first dedicated station for young people in the North West and will broadcast to Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Galway, Longford and Roscommon.

We asked chief executive, Dan Healy what exactly is different about this station. Is it just another non-stop pop station? “Not at all. This station brings a fresh and exciting offering to our listeners in the North West. Our intention is to change the way our younger people consume and interact with media. You may have noticed the predominance of the (i) symbol around the studio and indeed the city. (i)-It means inquisitive, intelligent and perhaps most important, interactive.

“The listeners will play a big part in the running of this station – we will reflect their views, their music tastes and their concerns.”

As for being just another ‘non stop pop’ station, Healy said: “There are many issues out there facing the young people of today -these include social problems like drug abuse, sexuality, suicide and more. We will provide a platform for many of these issues where people can get an opportunity to discuss them openly. As you know, a problem shared is a problem halved. Over 40% of our air-time will be devoted to ‘talk radio’ and we want our listeners to do the talking. It’s all about involvement and interaction.”

Where will Donegal fit in with the whole plan?

“At present Donegal is blessed with the most successful local radio station in the country, Highland Radio. I suppose we want to fill a gap in the general market and do not see ourselves as direct competitors. People will still chop and change stations tuning into their favourite presenters.

“Donegal is high on our priority and we have been lucky to attract Lisa Brady who has been extremely popular with Ocean FM in the North West for quite a number of years and is exceptionally familiar with the Donegal scene.”

So the message is loud and clear to the Donegal audience, “Tune in, have a listen – your views are our news,” concluded Healy.

Irish Times – Highland Radio files 21% profit

Irish Times - Highland Radio files 21% profit

Connaught Telegraph – Mayo DJs crowned kings of the airwaves at Meteor Awards

 Connaught Telegraph - Mayo DJs crowned kings of the airwaves at Meteor Awards

i105-107 launches talent search

i105-107, a new upcoming youth radio station for the north-east and midlands, is now seeking presenters, newsreaders, sports reporters and production gurus. The station, from the Wilton Radio group which has also just launched to the north-west, will broadcast to Cavan, Monaghan, Louth, Meath, Kildare, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly.

In a bid to find the country’s next generation of broadcasters, i105-107 is conducting a talent search in six locations across the region starting next week. Auditions will be held in Athlone, Kildare, Dundalk, Cavan and Meath and registration details can only be found by logging onto their website iwanttobeontheradio.ie. Those successful at the audition stage will be invited to participate in a workshop where they will have the opportunity to learn more about radio and develop their talent.

Speaking about the i105-107 talent search Dan Healy, CEO of Wilton Radio, commented: “The talent search is a great opportunity for us to tap into the talent that we know is in the north-east and midlands. Tommy Tieran and Hector O‚hEochagain, who present a show on sister station i102-104, are Navan men and we want to find the next generation of broadcasters. Our talent search in the north-west for i102-104 was a huge success and 10 of the 32 staff at the station were recruited through the talent search. We believe that the north-east and midlands is full of creative communicators, music buffs and motormouths. These are the radio stars of the future and we want them to be a part of i105-107.”

Ollie Brady, Programme Director of i105-107, said: “We will be clocking up the miles as we travel around the region looking for Ireland’s hottest new radio talent. We hope that those we meet will be as geared up as we are about creating a truly entertaining, interactive and youth orientated station for the North East and Midlands.”

Based in Athlone, the station will employ 32 people in on-air, production and administrative roles. i105-107 will provide a fully interactive schedule for its target 15-34 year old target audience, encouraging them to become involved in music output, on-air discussion and to shape the sound of the station.

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Northern Media Group performs well in latest RAJARs

Stations within the Northern Media Group have performed exceptionally well in the latest RAJAR listener figures released yesterday.

In the last quarter of 2007, the Q Network was the only commercial radio station in Northern Ireland to increase its listeners. The Q Network includes Q102 in Derry, Q97 in Coleraine and Q101 in Omagh and Enniskillen. The station increased its weekly reach by 2,000 listeners, from 85,000 to 87,000. Weekly reach is the amount of people who listen to a radio station over the course of a week and is one of the most important measurements for advertisers. The Q Network also has 13.7% of the potential audience listening every week.

Seven FM has been broadcasting for two years and this is the first official listener figures the station has received. Each week, 18,000 people tune in to Seven FM in the Ballymena and Antrim areas.

“This is a great first result for Seven FM,” said Robert Walshe, Chief Executive of Northern Media Group. “Having 18,000 listeners each week puts Seven FM on a par with much more established radio stations. To get to that stage while the station is so young is a massive achievement. We now have a very firm foundation to build on and I am extremely confident we can do that. The result today is a credit to all the staff at Seven FM and I would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work. And I would also like to thank the advertisers who have been a great support to Seven FM in its formative years. I look forward to continuing to build those relationships.”

That is something Mr Walshe re-iterated for advertisers to the whole Northern Media Group. Five of the six stations in the group have received official listener figures for the last quarter of 2007. The figures show that over 125,000 people tune in to a Northern Media Group station every week.

Robert continued: “This is a superb result for the group. The Q Network has performed exceptionally well, being the only radio stations in Northern Ireland to increase the amount of listeners. The Q Network is also incredibly popular in its area, with almost 14% of the population tuning in at some stage throughout the week. Our other stations also performed well. Six FM remains very popular in mid-Ulster and while we don’t yet have official figures for our newest station, Five FM, the indications are good. We are getting great feedback from our listeners in the Newry and Mourne area and we are looking forward to the results for Five FM, which we expect later this year. Thank you again to our listeners – and tell your friends about us. We have some great shows, features and competitions coming up in 2008.

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Ten more years for two community stations

Two community radio stations have signed new ten year sound broadcasting contracts with the BCI. Both Raidió Corca Baiscinn (South West Clare Community Radio) and Tipperary Mid West Radio previously held five year contracts with the Commission and these new contracts will facilitate the long term development of the services.

Raidió Corca Baiscinn (102.7MHz FM & 106.4MHz FM) will continue to offer a community access radio service which entertains, educates and informs the local community. The station will broadcast from 10am–1pm and from 6pm-9pm Monday to Friday and 2pm-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. The station will broadcast 50% music and 50% speech.

Tipperary Mid-West Community Radio (104.8MHz FM) will provide the local community of South West Tipperary with music programmes, sports coverage, current affairs, news and religious programmes. The service will broadcast from 8am-12pm Monday – Sunday. The station will broadcast 55% music and 45% speech.

Michael O’ Keeffe, the BCI’s Chief Executive, said: “I would like to congratulate Raidió Corca Baiscinn and Tipperary Mid West Radio on their contract signings and to wish them every success over the next ten years. I am confident that both services will continue to add to the diversity of programmes.”

Radió Corca Baiscinn was represented at the signing by Directors Mary Farren and Lily Sullivan. Tipperary Mid West Community Radio was represented at the signing by Directors Augustine Scott and Breda Ryan.

BBC Radio 4 record highest share in latest RAJARs

BBC Radio 4 has added half-a-million listeners and recorded its highest share – buoyed by a strong performance from the Today programme – according to data released today by RAJAR .

The station now has 9.81 million listeners – up from 9.29m last year, 9.45m last quarter – and its highest reach since the start of 2003. During the measurement period (15 September to 14 December) it posted a record share of 12.4% – up from 11.8% last year and 11.5% last quarter.

The Today programme has 6.6m listeners, up nearly half-a-million on the quarter (6.11m), almost 400,000 on the year, and its largest audience since the end of 2001.

Tim Davie, Director BBC Audio & Music, said: “This quarter’s figures are good news for the radio industry, the BBC and particularly Radio 4. Radio 4 plays a unique role in the country’s cultural and news agenda and these results reflect its influential place in British life.”

All BBC Radio now has a reach of 33.52m (from 33.14m last year and 32.98m last quarter) and a share of 55.7% (from 55.4% last year and 54.9% last quarter).

BBC Radio 1 drew 10.58m listeners per week in the quarter, from 10.69m last year and 10.87m last quarter. Its share, at 10.1%, is up on last quarter (9.8%) but slightly down on last year (10.3%).

The Chris Moyles Show has 7.30m listeners – up from 7.02m last quarter and steady on 7.31m last year.

BBC Radio 2 has a weekly reach of 13.47m listeners – up from 13.06m last quarter and 12.82m last year. Share, at 15.8%, is level with the year (15.7%) and slightly down on the quarter (16%).

Wake Up To Wogan has 7.96m listeners tuning in each week (from 7.74m last quarter and 7.73m last year).

BBC Radio 3’s reach rose to 1.98m, from 1.95m last quarter and 1.95m last year. Share is 1.3% – up from 1.2% last year and last quarter.

BBC Radio 5 Live and its digital service BBC 5 Live Sports Extra recorded a combined reach of 6.11m – up on last quarter’s combined total (5.94m) but down on last year (6.17m). Combined share is up to 5.0%, from 4.8% last quarter and 4.7% last year. 5 Live Sports Extra has a weekly reach of 663,000.

In digital-only services, BBC 6 Music posted its sixth consecutive record reach, with 619,000 listeners, up on both year and quarter.

BBC Radio 7 has 850,000 listeners, the BBC Asian Network has 379,000 listeners and 1Xtra has a reach of 533,000.

The BBC World Service increased its reach to 1.43m – up from 1.18m last year and 1.36m last quarter.

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New competition from Galway’s diamond geezers

Galway Bay FM are launching a competition next week in which the station will be giving away an 18ct, White Gold, Three Stone Diamond engagement ring. The ring has been hidden and clues about its location will be given on all shows on Galway Bay FM. Contestants have to guess the location to win the ring and a €200 voucher towards a wedding.

Promotions Co-ordinator Padraic Flaherty spoke about the upcoming ‘Diamond Hijack’: “This competition has got legs and will be very exciting to our listeners. What better way of celebrating Valentine’s Day than winning a diamond engagement ring. All you’ve got to do is collect the clues and win. Is it that easy, perhaps not, but you must listen and you could win.”

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Cork’s 103FM to change name to C103

Cork’s 103FM is changing name. From Wednesday February 6th the station will be known as C103. The new C103 will be available on the same frequencies as Cork’s 103FM and has been designed to offer an entertaining and informative local radio service that is different to anything currently available in the Cork marketplace. In addition, a new programming schedule will be implemented.

The C103 schedule will include a new countywide afternoon show presented by Eric Griffin and a new countywide evening drivetime show fronted by former television presenter Martina O Donoghue.

Cork's 103FM is changing name. From Wednesday February 6th the station will be known as C103. The new C103 will be available on the same frequencies as Cork's 103FM and has been designed to offer an entertaining and informative local radio service that is different to anything currently available in the Cork marketplace. In addition, a new programming schedule will be implemented.

Kieran McGeary, CEO of Cork’s 96FM and C103, is looking forward to February 6th: “Re-branding Cork’s 103FM to C103 is a very exciting time as it offers us an opportunity to make some subtle changes to the service which will ensure that listeners will love the station even more. We have already developed a very strong and loyal audience over the years and we will continue to satisfy these listeners with our distinctively local talk shows for the north and west Cork regions, our unrivalled GAA coverage and our commitment to country and Irish music. We also believe, however, that the all new C103 will appeal to people not already listening to the station. We are confident that they will love our great mix of music, chat and regular local news updates as well as information on what is happening right across the county. We look forward to developing C103 into a complimentary service for its sister station, Cork’s 96FM, and growing the already hugely impressive audience figures for the combined stations.”

4FM to launch in October with ‘distinctive’ output

4FM, the radio station consortium consisting of Fox Radio Ltd., The Irish Times, Thomas Crosbie Holdings and Vienna Investments Ltd, have reacted to today’s news that they have been awarded a new multi-city licence by the BCI. 4FM is planning to invest €9.1m in the proposed multi-city station and plans to be on air by October 2008.

In the first year of operation, 4FM projects a 5.7% share of all adults and total revenue of €2.2m. The company expects to break even at the end of year four. 4FM will employ 47 full and part time staff and will spend €2m on an integrated marketing campaign during the station launch period. Over €200,000 has also been earmarked for continuous research, development and training.

“4FM will offer a truly distinctive music-driven radio service for the discerning 45 plus generation and will also broadcast a range of talk programmes in a unique presentation style that is specifically designed to engage the target listener,” the statement says.

70% of the daytime output on 4FM will consist of music spanning five decades. This will be interlinked with speech programming which will be presented in a contemporary style. 4FM say that they will not replicate services already in existence, but instead will broaden and add to listener choice.

Shows on 4FM will include ‘Breakfast on 4’, which will feature the latest news and events with comment, interviews and analysis from the breakfast team which will be presented in an informal yet informative style. ‘4 Noon’ will be a topical phone-in show featuring people in the news as well as listener debate. This will be mixed with music. ‘Tonight on 4’ will be a fast-paced news programme that sums up the day. It will feature a round up of all the latest stories, business news and sports reports. In addition 21 hours of specialist music programmes will be broadcast weekly. These include shows such as ‘All That Jazz’, ‘4 on Broadway’, ‘The Great American Songbook’ and ‘Soul Train’.

Weekend programming will include ‘Weekend Breakfast’, ‘The Saturday Magazine’ and ‘Just 4 The Weekend’.

The 4FM consortium is 100% Irish owned and consists of a diverse range of members from the Irish media sector who have vast management and business experience as well as a thorough knowledge of the Irish marketplace and a track record of launching radio stations. These include Fox Radio Ltd (which consists of shareholders Martin Block, Howard Block and Al Dunne. All three have a wealth of radio experience in management and programming), The Irish Times, Thomas Crosbie Holdings, Vienna Investments Ltd and Bay Broadcasting Ltd.

Martin Block of Fox Radio is leading the consortium and he is delighted that 4FM has won the Multi-City licence. He says: “We first submitted the idea for the “multi-city” radio station to the BCI over two years ago. We have a wealth of experience with this particular type of radio service and believe that we can make it one of the most successful radio stations in the country. 4FM is strongly backed by shareholders such as The Irish Times and Thomas Crosbie Holdings who are committed to the radio sector. The 45 plus radio audience is very under served across the country and we believe that 4FM can fill this gap. “

BCI make their new multi-city ‘Choice’

The BCI has awarded the new Classic Gold/Easy Listening/Smooth multi-city service on the FM band to Choice Broadcasting Limited (trading as 4 FM). The ten year licence is for the provision of a new music-driven service aimed at listeners in the 45+ age group. The franchise area for the service is Dublin City and County (and commuter belt), Cork City and County, Galway City and County, Limerick City and County and County Clare. The award is subject to the successful outcome of contract negotiations and these are expected to be completed in the coming months. The Commission originally received five applications for the multi city service, two of which were called to an oral hearing which was held in Dublin in December.

New north west youth station to launch on February 7th

i102-104 have announced that it will now begin broadcasting across the north-west on February 7th. The first voices that will be heard on air will be Tommy Tiernan and Hector Ó hEochagáin.

i102-104 have announced that it will now begin broadcasting across the north-west on February 7th. The first voices that will be heard on air will be Tommy Tiernan and Hector Ó hEochagáin.

The brand new station will be the first dedicated radio station for young people in the north-west region and will broadcast to Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon and Donegal. The station will be music-driven and will focus heavily on listener interactivity.

Highlights of the schedule include Ireland’s first daily bilingual radio show "Ar Éileamh and iWitness News", which will champion i102-104’s aim of encouraging listeners to participate in the station’s programming through polls, vox-pops and giving them with the opportunity to comment on news and current affairs.

Comics Tommy Tiernan and Hector Ó hEochagáin will team up to present a weekly show every Friday. Other on-air talent was discovered through iRadio’s extensive talent search in the north-west region. Ten of the 32 staff in the station are new talent to the radio business.

From 6.20am every weekday morning the north-west will wake up to new presenters Wes O'Duinn and Louise McSharry and the "iWake Up Breakfast" team. From 9.30am "iWork with Dave O'Connor" will feature music and chat with workplace requests and dedications throughout. "iWitness News with Grainne McMahon" will be a 'no nonsense' round up of the day’s big stories. Then Mark Cunning continues with "iWork" from 12:45 while Fergal D'Arcy will present i102104's drivetime show and Barbara NicDhonnacha will present Ireland’s first daily bilingual radio show Ar Éileamh.

Evening time will combine a mixture of music and chat. iTalk with Chris Greene will air each Monday through Thursday at 10pm.

Commenting on the newest addition to the Irish radio market, Dave Harland, CEO of OMD one of Ireland’s biggest media buying agencies, said: "The regional revenue model proposed by i102-104 is innovative and creates a much needed platform to reach young people in the north west region. We believe that agencies and clients will recognise the value of this platform from the outset for reaching the covetable youth market."

The new station General Manager, Rena Maycock, added: "The whole team has worked tirelessly to ensure that i102-104 has the best possible radio offering for listeners in the north west. We believe we have achieved that and would like to thank everyone for their hard work over the last few months as we have prepared to go on-air. We have also been greatly encouraged by the level of agency support we have received to date."

Dan Healy, CEO of Wilton Radio, commented: "We are genuinely excited by the team of people we have on board and I have been blown away by the ‘as live’ broadcasts we have been doing for the last number of weeks. We have a hugely talented team on board and I feel that i102-104 can really invigorate the media offering for young people in the north west."

Deborah Fagan, Financial Director of Wilton Radio added: "I would like to thank the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland for awarding us this wonderful opportunity to deliver relevant radio to 15 to 34 year olds in the north west and to our shareholders for their unwavering support."

i102-104 is operated by Wilton Radio, which has also been awarded a youth radio license by the BCI for a youth radio station in the north-east, which will go on air later this year.

The brand new station will be the first dedicated radio station for young people in the north-west region and will broadcast to Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon and Donegal. The station will be music-driven and will focus heavily on listener interactivity.

Highlights of the schedule include Ireland’s first daily bilingual radio show “Ar Éileamh and iWitness News”, which will champion i102-104’s aim of encouraging listeners to participate in the station’s programming through polls, vox-pops and giving them with the opportunity to comment on news and current affairs.

Comics Tommy Tiernan and Hector Ó hEochagáin will team up to present a weekly show every Friday. Other on-air talent was discovered through iRadio’s extensive talent search in the north-west region. Ten of the 32 staff in the station are new talent to the radio business.

From 6.20am every weekday morning the north-west will wake up to new presenters Wes O’Duinn and Louise McSharry and the “iWake Up Breakfast” team. From 9.30am “iWork with Dave O’Connor” will feature music and chat with workplace requests and dedications throughout. “iWitness News with Grainne McMahon” will be a ‘no nonsense’ round up of the day’s big stories. Then Mark Cunning continues with “iWork” from 12:45 while Fergal D’Arcy will present i102104’s drivetime show and Barbara NicDhonnacha will present Ireland’s first daily bilingual radio show Ar Éileamh.

Evening time will combine a mixture of music and chat. iTalk with Chris Greene will air each Monday through Thursday at 10pm.

Commenting on the newest addition to the Irish radio market, Dave Harland, CEO of OMD one of Ireland’s biggest media buying agencies, said: “The regional revenue model proposed by i102-104 is innovative and creates a much needed platform to reach young people in the north west region. We believe that agencies and clients will recognise the value of this platform from the outset for reaching the covetable youth market.”

The new station General Manager, Rena Maycock, added: “The whole team has worked tirelessly to ensure that i102-104 has the best possible radio offering for listeners in the north west. We believe we have achieved that and would like to thank everyone for their hard work over the last few months as we have prepared to go on-air. We have also been greatly encouraged by the level of agency support we have received to date.”

Dan Healy, CEO of Wilton Radio, commented: “We are genuinely excited by the team of people we have on board and I have been blown away by the ‘as live’ broadcasts we have been doing for the last number of weeks. We have a hugely talented team on board and I feel that i102-104 can really invigorate the media offering for young people in the north west.”

Deborah Fagan, Financial Director of Wilton Radio added: “I would like to thank the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland for awarding us this wonderful opportunity to deliver relevant radio to 15 to 34 year olds in the north west and to our shareholders for their unwavering support.”

i102-104 is operated by Wilton Radio, which has also been awarded a youth radio licence by the BCI for a youth radio station in the north-east, which will go on air later this year

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Radio Kilkenny in talks about possible relaunch

Radio Kilkenny, which closed down in January 2004, are in discussion with the BCI with a view to relaunching as a community service. The station lost its commercial broadcast licence when the BCI realigned the franchise borders but Radio Kilkenny’s studios are still in situ meaning they could be on air within days if the BCI was agreeable .

RTÉ Radio 1 to close its medium wave service

RTÉ have announced that it will close its RTÉ Radio 1 Medium Wave service on March 24th. The company says that the medium wave service offers poor value for money, is environmentally unsound and is out of date. It also cites poor quality reception and audio as reasons for the cessation. The closure will not affect RTÉ Radio 1’s existing FM or Long Wave services.

RTÉ’s MW service was launched in 1926 but listeners gradually migrated to the superior sound quality of FM when it was introduced in the 1970s. Today, more than 90% of RTÉ Radio 1 listening is via its FM service. In addition the growth of new platforms such as podcasting, mobile phones and digital radio, mean that radio audiences have a much wider choice of when and how to listen.

JP Coakley, Head of Operations at RTÉ Radio says: “Our audience research tells us that MW listening is largely based on habit rather than necessity. Our job now is to convince MW listeners that there are other ways to listen that are as good as, if not better, than Medium Wave.”

Once the MW transmission service is switched off in March, listeners who tune into MW specifically for additional RTÉ Radio 1 programming, such as weekday sports broadcasts and religious services, will find those programmes on 252LW and on a range of digital platforms.

RTÉ Radio 1’s LW service was introduced in 2004 and was upgraded in 2007. The signal carries throughout Ireland and into Britain.

RTÉ will launch a public information campaign for MW listeners next Friday. The campaign includes on-air MW announcements, newsletters and press releases for listeners, representative bodies and stakeholder groups; an information number to call for assistance on tuning to FM and a voucher scheme providing half-price FM/LW radios for those most in need

New series for schools starts on na Life

A  brand new radio series for primary school children commences today at 6pm on Raidió na Life 106.4FM, Dublin’s Irish Language radio station. Raidió na nÓg is hosted by TG4 television personality Niall MacDonagh and will be available to almost 470 schools around Dublin city and county. Each week Raidió na nÓg profiles a different primary school, where the kids get the opportunity to introduce us to their own school from their own unique perspective. The show will feature special guests, reviews, comedy scetches and competitions. One of the main aims of the series is to encourage children between the ages of seven and twelve to listen to radio in a fun and educational way. The shows will also be available online as podcasts from the station’s website, allowing teachers to play it back in the classroom.

Featuring uniquely commissioned music from Stellarsound, Raidió na nÓg is produced by Fíbín Teo for Raidió na Life 106.4FM, and is part-funded by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (www.bci.ie)

Galway Bay FM to put their listeners in the know

Galway Bay FM are about to introduce a unique new feature by offering competition text alerts to listeners. From February 4th, the station will send out weekly texts with information on competitions and prizes that will be featured on Galway Bay FM shows the following week.

The station will also keep listeners updated with what is happening on “The Keith Finnegan Show” with daily text alerts about topics that will be featured on the show before it goes to air.

Galway Bay FM CEO Keith Finnegan is excited about this new interactive text facility. He says: “It’s yet another first for Galway Bay FM; it puts us in direct contact with our listeners and gives them the information before anyone else as to what is on your radio station and when. This is just another example of how modern radio is going direct to the listeners.”

Galway Bay FM Promotions Co-ordinator Padraic Flaherty adds: “This service is for people who want more from radio, which is what we are providing. E-technology coupled with radio will be a winning combination and we are confident that our listeners will embrace this service.”

Heart to take control of East Coast

Heart Media, owned by Seán Ashmore, will buy a majority stake in Wicklow station East Coast FM at an EGM today. Heart is set to buy out a number of investors, including Communicorp’s 27% share. This will give Ashmore, a director with the station, around 75% control of East Coast, which also holds shares in Dublin’s Country Mix 106.8FM and Kildare’s KFM.

iRadio Complete Signing, Ready to Broadcast

The BCI have signed a contract with i Radio Limited (trading as i102-104) to broadcast a regional youth radio service for the north-west of Ireland. Aimed at 15-34 year olds, the service will cover the counties of Galway, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.
i102-104 will broadcast in the north-west 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The station’s music output will be predominantly centred on contemporary hits and will also give prominence to new music and more specialist genres such as alternative rock and RnB/urban sounds.

The BCI have signed a contract with i Radio Limited (trading as i102-104) to broadcast a regional youth radio service for the north-west of Ireland. Aimed at 15-34 year olds, the service will cover the counties of Galway, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.
i102-104 will broadcast in the north-west 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The station’s music output will be predominantly centred on contemporary hits and will also give prominence to new music and more specialist genres such as alternative rock and RnB/urban sounds.

i102-104 will have a strong emphasis on interactivity with its listeners and is committed to providing relevant engaging news and current affairs programming for 15-34 year olds.

Speaking at today’s contract signing, the BCI’s Chief Executive Michael O’Keeffe said: “We are delighted to sign this contract with i Radio Limited, which is the third regional youth radio service to have been licensed by the Commission. We have every confidence that i102-104 will bring freshness, energy and diversity to the mix of services available in the north-west. I would like to wish the team of people involved every success in the years ahead”.

i102-104 will commence broadcasting on January 23rd next, a week later than recently announced. i Radio Limited were awarded the licence in principle for the north-west regional service at the BCI Board meeting in November 2006. There were five applications for the licence, an oral hearing for which was held in Galway in October 2006.

New North West Regional to Start on Monday Week

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.

BRMB Rapped for Misleading ‘Athens’ Competition

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.

Jack from Oxfordshire is Live and Testing

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.

Orla Teams Up With Hayes for FM Broadcasts

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.”

Galway Station Flirting with a New Frequency

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.

BCI seeking applications for new multi-city service

The BCI are now seeking applications for a sound broadcasting service to operate a multi-city service for the 45+ age group. The service, which is primarily music-driven, will be available in Dublin city and county, Cork city and county, Galway city and county, Limerick city and county and Co Clare. The service will offer one, or a combination, of the following music formats: classic gold, easy listening or smooth music.

The advertisement of the multi-city service is one of a range of new radio services planned for in the BCI’s three-year licensing plan which was announced in September 2005. This plan will see the roll-out of a total of nine additional services by the end of 2008.

The closing date for receipt of applications for the multi-city service is June 22nd 2007.

Eamon and Áine to cover for Marian over Easter

On Easter Sunday, which falls on this coming weekend, Eamon Dunphy will present Marian Finucane’s slot from 11am-1pm on RTÉ Radio 1. Áine Lawlor will fill in for Finucane from 11am on Saturday morning. Áine Lawlor is one of the main presenters of Morning Ireland, RTÉ Radio 1’s weekday current affairs and news programme, while Eamon regularly presents Conversations with Eamon Dunphy at 9am on Saturdays on RTÉ Radio 1 and is a football panellist on RTÉ Television.

The Marian Finucane Show on Saturday with Áine Lawlor will follow the same format as Marian’s regular show with guests in studio and live interviews. On Sunday Eamon will be looking at the headlines and reviewing the week’s papers with a panel of guests in studio.

Crack the Dandelion Code on Q102 and win €20,000

 Dublin radio station Q102 has placed a high security safe filled with €20,000 cash in the window of the Dandelion Bar and Club on St Stephen's Green and is offering one lucky listener the chance to win the lot. To be in with a chance listeners have to call the station when they hear the Dandelion security alarm go off on air. If the tenth caller can correctly name the title and artist of the last three songs played, s/he will be sent one of only 80 possible keys which will unlock the safe.

Dublin radio station Q102 has placed a high security safe filled with €20,000 cash in the window of the Dandelion Bar and Club on St Stephen’s Green and is offering one lucky listener the chance to win the lot. To be in with a chance listeners have to call the station when they hear the Dandelion security alarm go off on air. If the tenth caller can correctly name the title and artist of the last three songs played, s/he will be sent one of only 80 possible keys which will unlock the safe.

On Thursday April 12th, all those who have won their very own key to the safe will be invited to attend an invite-only Q102 listeners’ party in the Dandelion Bar and Club and each person will get to try and unlock the safe with their key.

The Dandelion Code is the latest in a series of innovative Q102 radio promotions which offers listeners the chance to win substantial amounts of money in fun and exciting ways.

The Dandelion Alarm will go off at various times between 9am and 5pm daily on ‘The Liam Coburn Show’ and ‘The Steven Cooper Show’ on Dublin’s Q102.

 Dublin radio station Q102 has placed a high security safe filled with €20,000 cash in the window of the Dandelion Bar and Club on St Stephen's Green and is offering one lucky listener the chance to win the lot. To be in with a chance listeners have to call the station when they hear the Dandelion security alarm go off on air. If the tenth caller can correctly name the title and artist of the last three songs played, s/he will be sent one of only 80 possible keys which will unlock the safe.

Radio station cleared in fatal competition

Prosecutors in the US will not be pressing charges against a radio station which ran a competition in which a young mother died from water intoxication.

Prosecutors in the US will not be pressing charges against a radio station which ran a competition in which a young mother died from water intoxication.

Jennifer Strange was found dead in her home on January 12th after drinking an inordinate amount of water in the competition ‘Hold Your Wee for Wii’ which was organised by Californian station KDND 107.9. Contestants drank water over a period of time and had to refrain from taking toilet breaks.

In a statement issued yesterday the Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully said that Strange was a willing participant who could have quit at any time and that no charges would be brought against the radio station.

Wicklow author is 21st Francis MacManus winner

This evening RTÉ Radio 1 announced the winners of the station’s Short Story Competition 2006 in memory of Francis MacManus at an awards ceremony in RTÉ’s Radio Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin.

Hester Casey from Greystones in Wicklow received the first prize of €3,000 and a Waterford Crystal Trophy for her story ‘A Thing of Beauty’. A Thing of Beauty tells the story of Nora who lives out her loveless marriage to Jim against the daily rituals of an Irish farm, her life of quiet desperation punctuated only by bouts of violence.

Presenting Hester with her award, Ana Leddy, Head of RTÉ Radio 1 said: “A Thing of Beauty is a story of great emotional depth that captures the harsh realism of Nora’s existence. Hester’s style is ideal for radio and I’m looking forward to hearing this, and all of the short-listed stories, brought to life on the national airwaves over this summer.”

Geraldine Mills from Rosscahill, Co. Galway received the second prize of €2,000 for her story ‘The Weight of Feathers’. The Weight of Feathers is a charming retelling of the Greek myth of Dedalus and Icarus which illustrates the danger of flying too close to the sun.

Dubliner Gavin Corbett received third prize for his story ‘For Scrap’. For Scrap tells the story of a group of men driving up from the country to Dublin with a van-load of scrap to sell. The author creates a totally believable world of male bonding, friction and ultimately, survival.

The 2006 competition attracted almost 700 entries from all over Ireland and from Irish people living abroad. The panel were impressed by the high standard of the entries and selected 20 entries for the short-list. All of these stories will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 over the summer, starting with the winning entry.

The competition for original short stories for radio commemorates the distinguished broadcaster and novelist Francis Mac Manus (1909 – 1965) who was a major influence in encouraging writers and developing radio as a medium for the expression of ideas and the promotion of new writing. This is the 21st year of the competition.

Annual Media Futures event for students launches

MediaFutures2007, a new annual careers event for media students and school-leavers in the mid-west, will launch on Thursday, April 12th in Limerick. A day-long seminar and workshop will be held at the Clarion Hotel and will bring together guest speakers from the Irish radio, television and newspaper industries to share with aspiring media students the benefit of their wisdom.

Hosted by RTÉ 2FM presenter Ruth Scott, Media Futures 2007 will see presentations from key national, regional and local media figures including presenters from RTÉ, TV3 and Live 95FM with more still to be announced.

The event will also prove interesting to those anxious to learn more about Spin South-West’s plans – the new station’s CEO Aevann Upton has agreed to do a presentation on the day. Other guest speakers include RTÉ 2FM’s Will Leahy and Limerick’s Live 95FM CEO David Tighe.

Tickets for the event are limited and further details can be found at the website: MediaFutures2007.com

Liffey Sound expand on expansion

Liffey Sound 96.4FM have announced programme details following the decision by the BCI to allow them to broadcast for six extra hours per week. The station welcomes back ‘Good Morning Lucan’ to Saturday mornings. Presented by Liam, Ellen and Rose, Good Morning Lucan will broadcast for an hour each Saturday Morning from 10am.

In addition, ‘Tir Na N-óg’ with Dave O’ Reilly and his crew will now run for an hour every Friday evening from 6pm and ‘Sport For You’ with Eddie and Terry will also extend to an hour on Fridays from 7pm.

Liffey Sound 96.4FM is a non-profit community radio station broadcasting to the Lucan area in Co Kildare.

Citybeat launches 102.5FM in addition to 96.7

CityBeat have announced the launch of an additional FM frequency which will give the Belfast radio station a potential extra 80,000 listeners within the Greater Belfast area.

The new frequency of 102.5MHz FM will bring Citybeat to those living in North Belfast, Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus from midnight tomorrow, and will complement the existing 96.7 FM frequency.

Broadcast industry regulators, Ofcom have given the go-ahead for the repeater signal to run off the Carnmoney Hill transmitter at Glengormley, boosting CityBeat’s current output from Black Mountain further into Greater Belfast.

CityBeat Station Director Richard Collett said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to launch this additional frequency. We have had difficulty reaching certain districts within the whole of our transmission service area on 96.7FM due to topography in relation to the Black Mountain transmitter. 102.5 will effectively fill in the gaps in those areas to the north of the city, and beyond up to Carrick. It will be great to welcome many new listeners to CityBeat and to improve the quality of our service to our existing ones. It’s also great news for our advertisers who will now get effective brand exposure to a wider audience.”

CityBeat presenters (l-r) Mark Lima, David Gordon, Lisa McCormick, Stuart Robinson, Dave McGeagh and Suzy Caddell go in search of 80,000 potential new listeners – making sure they know the new 102.5 frequency.
CityBeat presenters (l-r) Mark Lima, David Gordon, Lisa McCormick, Stuart Robinson, Dave McGeagh and Suzy Caddell go in search of 80,000 potential new listeners – making sure they know the new 102.5 frequency.

No fooling, it’s a sad day for anoraks

The Anorak Hour, Phantom 105.2’s seminal media industry programme, is no more. Or is no more on FM at least. The final FM episode of the long-running programme was broadcast this morning, along with an announcement from presenter Ger Roe that this would be the last in its present format. There are future plans to make it a monthly podcast feature, but it has been a feature, in one shape or another, on Dublin’s airwaves for three decades now.

Ger acknowledged this morning that the timing of the announcement may lead some to believe it is an elaborate hoax, but he confirmed that there was no intention of making April Fools out of the station’s listeners.

The decision to pull the programme is one which Ger has agonised over for months. His management duties at the now-licensed Indie rock music station have left little time to give ‘The Anorak Hour’ the attention it deserves.

Today’s Newspapers: February 8th 2007

Irish Independent – Bell tolls for 2FM breakfast show name

RTE has been forced to drop the words ‘Alarm Clock’ from its new 2FM breakfast programme after controversially poaching hit show the ‘Strawberry Alarm Clock’ from FM104. It is understood that FM104 sent legal correspondence to RTE informing the broadcaster that the Strawberry Alarm Clock is trademarked.

FM104 also expressed concern that several elements of the Strawberry Alarm Clock were being used in the new 2FM show and that intellectual property was being copied.

RTE confirmed the new show was no longer being called the ‘2FM Alarm Clock’. It will now be named the Colm and Jim Jim Breakfast Show with 2FM.

FM104 chief executive Tim Fenn said last night: “The Strawberry Alarm Clock continues to broadcast on FM104 and intends to do so in the future. We’ve changed presenters in the past, and it will continue to be exactly the same exciting unpredictable, successful show it has always been.”

Samantha McCaughren

The Sun – Whelan: I was hurt by RTÉ axe

The Irish Times – R na G criticised for ending news show

R na G criticised for ending news show
Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent

Fine Gael and Labour TDs in Galway have expressed concern over Raidió na Gaeltachta’s decision to drop a key current affairs programme from its schedule four months before the general election.

Fine Gael TD for Galway West Pádraic McCormack has questioned whether there was a “political” reason for the decision to drop Cúrsaí an Lae, as he was aware that a complaint about the programme had been sent to the radio station last year by Fianna Fáil MEP Seán Ó Neachtain.

The final programme in the series was broadcast last Friday.

Mr Ó Neachtain wrote to Raidió na Gaeltachta’s ceannaire, Edel Ní Chuireáin, on October 31st last on European Parliament notepaper in relation to the programme’s coverage of a controversy over a proposed childcare facility at Coláiste Chonnacht in Spiddal, Co Galway.

Mr Ó Neachtain is a trustee of the campus of Coláiste Chonnacht, which hosts Irish-language summer colleges.

Mr McCormack and fellow Galway West TD Michael D. Higgins (Lab) have criticised Mr Ó Neachtain’s use of headed notepaper for a complaint about a personal matter. Mr Higgins said that Mr Ó Neachtain could have made his complaint through the normal channels via the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

Mr McCormack said it was “very regrettable” that a programme with the second-highest listenership on Raidió na Gaeltachta should be taken off the air in the run-up to the election.

Seán Ó Coistealbha, chairman of Comhairle Pobail an Spidéil (Spiddal Community Council), also criticised the use of official stationery by the MEP.

Mr Ó Neachtain defended the use of European Parliament notepaper. He told The Irish Times that he was referred to as an MEP on the programme in question, and wrote in on this basis to the station.

A spokeswoman for Raidió na Gaeltachta said that there was no connection between the programme change and Mr Ó Neachtain’s complaint. The editorial decision relating to Cúrsaí an Lae and two other Raidió na Gaeltachta programmes dated back to February 2006, following a detailed resource analysis.

A decision on all three programmes was taken in July 2006 and staff had been informed last November. Six new programmes had been announced last month, she said.

The spokeswoman also defended Raidió na Gaeltachta’s decision to inform all staff journalists that they must not contribute to other media and publications before the general election. This was to ensure impartial coverage, she said.

The decision has been criticised by the Irish-language newspaper, Lá, which said it is lodging a complaint with the Competition Authority. The newspaper has questioned why the same directive does not apply to journalists working for RTÉ.

© The Irish Times

Evening Herald – FM104 loses top DJs but wins brand

Newspaper: Radio enters a new golden age as digital use takes off

The Independent
Radio enters a new golden age as digital use takes off

The Independent – February 2nd 2007

By Terry Kirby, Chief Reporter

The digital revolution and the expansion of new ways of accessing information through the internet has given a huge boost to one of the older and more traditional forms of electronic media – the radio.

According to figures released yesterday, the digital age has created a new golden age of radio, with the number of listeners in Britain at a record high of more than 45 million every week.

The figure for the last three months of 2006 is the highest since Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar) began compiling records in 1992, and is attributed to growing numbers of people tuning in on the internet, digital television and mobile phones.

Rajar said almost 8 per cent of people aged 15 and above listen to the radio on their mobile phones, a 24 per cent increase over the same period of 2005. A quarter of 15- to 24-year-olds said they tuned in this way. Listening over the internet rose by 10 per cent and by 9 per cent on digital television.

Podcasts are also more popular. More than two million people, the equivalent of 17 per cent of all owners of MP3 players, listen to the audio downloads – a rise of 15 per cent on the previous three months. The figures are likely to rise as more content is made available as a podcast.

Jenny Abramsky, the BBC’s director of audio and music, said: “It proves radio still plays an incredibly important part in people’s lives and, despite the range of new media available, listeners continue to value the close relationship they have with radio.”

The figures show a small decline in audiences for long-established BBC Radio 4 favourites The Archers and Desert Island Discs, programmes which have suffered recent upheavals and whose listeners are renowned for their loyalty and resistance to change. The Rajar figures show The Archers’ weekly audience is 4.4 million, 169,000 down on the previous quarter and 197,000 less than this time last year. Desert Island Discs also registered a shortfall, with 2.54 million tuning in compared with 2.69 million 12 months ago.

However, the falls were brushed aside by the Radio 4 controller, Mark Damazer, who said such fluctuations during the year were normal. “We’re very happy with the performance of the shows,” he said. Radio 4’s audience was 9.34 million.

Radio 2 remains the nation’s favourite station with an audience of 13.27 million – up 530,000 in three months. Terry Wogan added 330,000 listeners at the end of last year, lifting the total audience for his breakfast show from 7.65 million to 7.98 million. The afternoon presenter Steve Wright added 360,000 listeners in the last quarter, taking the audience for his show from 6.15 million to 6.51 million.

Radio 1’s audience of 10.26 million was down 320,000 on the previous quarter, which the station attributed to a seasonal dip. The breakfast presenter Chris Moyles bucked the trend by adding 100,000 listeners in that period to reach 6.82 million.

Jane Thynne, a broadcasting critic and writer, said BBC radio was benefiting more from the digital era than television. “The figures show that early adopters are prepared to embrace what has traditionally been seen as the more fustier of mediums.

“Radio, as something which is intensely personal, is also a much more suitable medium for podcasting than television… It’s essentially what radio has been doing for a long while anyway.”

The winners and losers

Winners

* Radio 2 increased its audience by 530,000 in the last three months of 2006, reaching 13.27 million listeners, the largest in the UK.

* Terry Wogan, the breakfast DJ, added 330,000 listeners, taking his total audience to 7.98m. Steve Wright, the afternoon presenter, added 360,000 listeners, taking the audience for his show to 6.51 million.

* In London, Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott have become the capital’s most popular commercial breakfast hosts, with 948,000 listeners to their Heart FM show, up 180,000.

Losers

* Kirsty Young has lost listeners since taking over from Sue Lawley as host of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in October. Her audience was 2.54 million, compared with 2.67 million for the previous three months when Lawley was at the helm, and down from 2.69 million for the same period of 2005.

* The Archers’ weekly audience on Radio 4 dropped by 169,000 to 4.44 million, down 197,000 year on year.

* Capital Radio saw its audience fall from 1.8 million in the last quarter of 2005 to 1.4 million in the same period in 2006, a drop of almost 19 per cent.

RLO on Test as Serenity Licence Bid Denied

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.

New Station for Limerick to be On Air Within Ten Days

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.

New Westmeath Schedule for 103

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!”

98 Bribe Allegations Untrue

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.

End of the Road for Choice

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.

A Choice of Programming on MW

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.

Ghosts of the Past Return for Hallowe’en Launch

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.

Phantom's weekday line-up: L-R (back) Sinister Pete, John Caddell, Jack Hyland; (front) Edel Coffey, Simon Maher, Neill Austin.
Phantom’s weekday line-up: L-R (back) Sinister Pete, John Caddell, Jack Hyland; (front) Edel Coffey, Simon Maher, Neill Austin.

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.

ABC Stop Broadcasting In Shock

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.

Gabrielle Cummins Appointed as Beat Interim CEO

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.

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.

An Taoiseach’s Choice of Music and Sport

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 Get Their Fingers Byrned

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.

10th for Citybeat

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.

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.
CityBeat’s only surviving presenter from 1996, Stuart Robinson, with Station Director Richard Collett.

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.”

Awesome! Aidan to Present ’80s Show

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.

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.”

Formalities Out of the Way, Friday Launch for Talk Alternative

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.”

Possible Early National Launch for Newstalk

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 FM

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.

Ministry FM Closes

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.

Absolute & Dowse launch in the States

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.

Mock the ads

A complaint made against the breakfast crew at Galway Bay FM could not be fully determined by the BCC because no recording of the incident was available. Presenters Jimmy Norman and Ollie Turner were accused by commercial producer Jonathan Davis of mocking his voice for a “substantial amount of time” after one of his adverts played on the station. The programme was heard by staff at Super Valu Gort, which was the subject of the advertisement. Davis felt that the incident was “totally unacceptable”, damaging the integrity of the product, the effectiveness of the advert and, most importantly, his voice – the tool of his trade. Calling it a clear case of slander, Davis claimed that even in the days before regulation of the radio sector on unlicensed stations everyone knew that adverts were sacrosanct.
The BCC requires broadcasters to retain recordings of their output for 90 days. However no recording was available of this incident, leading the BCC to find Galway Bay FM in breach of Section 26 of the Broadcasting Act 2001.
The station have apologised for any hurt the incident caused but claim that the presenters, who broadcast in a humorous manner, only referenced the content of the advertisement and not Davis himself. They further state that Davis has dealt with them on a number of occasions, and at times is quite demanding and condescending to those he deals with within their station.

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New licence for Liverpool

Liverpool is to get a third commercial station on FM. A new local licence is being offered by the UK’s radio regulator Ofcom and will cover the city of Liverpool and surrounding areas. Ofcom estimates that the new station could achieve a reach of 1.5 million and will broadcast on 105.9MHz.

Orla appoints news editor

Radio Orla, the new online information and entertainment Polish community radio station aimed at the UK and Ireland, have announced the appointment of Joanna Figlak as news editor and studio manager. The station have also announced that its studio will be in the heart of the Polish community in Ealing, west London.

Radio Orla, the new online information and entertainment Polish community radio station aimed at the UK and Ireland, have announced the appointment of Joanna Figlak as news editor and studio manager. The station have also announced that its studio will be in the heart of the Polish community in Ealing, west London.

On making the announcements George Matlock, Radio Orla’s editor-in-chief and managing director, said: “I am personally delighted about hiring Joanna Figlak as news editor. Joanna brings 12 years of radio experience to her role, as a broadcaster in Poland and in the UK. She has been sorely missed from the airwaves in recent months and now we are bringing her back with a daily show on Radio Orla. We are very excited about our new studios in the heart of the Polish community we serve and look forward to the company of distinguished guests when we go live, which will be very soon indeed.”

The station’s new studio will have state-of-the-art technology and a lay-out which allows for live broadcasting as well as off-air show recordings for playback at other times. Radio Orla has identified a considerable need and opportunity for an Anglo-Polish radio station engaged with its community that can relate Polish issues to British and Irish authorities, as well as to Poles back in Poland thinking of coming to the UK and Ireland.

Easter approaches with Phantom given go-ahead for ressurection

Zed FM’s Supreme Court appeal against the BCI’s awarding of an alternative rock licence for Dublin to Phantom FM was dismissed this morning. Phantom have welcomed the decision and will now recommence licence contract negotiations with the BCI and a new launch date will be announced shortly.

The licence was awarded in November 2004 but, in March 2005, a judicial review was sought by one of the unsuccessful applicants, Scrollside Ltd (Zed FM). The case was heard in the High Court last October and the subsequent ruling, in favour of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, was then appealed to the Supreme Court. Although Phantom FM was not directly involved in the proceedings it was forced to suspend its launch plans pending the outcome of the lengthy appeal process.

“We are delighted that this issue is now finally closed,” said Ger Roe, Phantom FM’s CEO. “We are currently reviewing our situation and are planning to have the station on air as soon as practically possible, hopefully by late Summer.”

Phantom FM will provide an Alternative Rock and Irish music service aimed at 15-34 year olds and anyone else with an interest in Alternative Rock 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.
According to a statement from the station: “Phantom FM 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.”

Phantom FM’s launch plans were at an advanced stage when Scrollside Ltd sought leave to seek a judicial review, over three months after the original licence decision was made. The station had just begun a recruitment drive and was negotiating key contracts including premises, sales representation and transmission, in addition to the licence contract.
“The delay caused by the appeal process was very frustrating, but we have a radio station to launch and we are now moving ahead with it,” says Ger Roe. “We are looking forward to providing Dubliners with a new, and very different radio station.”
The station has been overwhelmed by the goodwill and support received from both the radio and music industries and Roe thanked the Phantom FM shareholders and board for backing the project throughout the lengthy delay.

Radio Cymru is Celtic Station of the Year

Welsh language station BBC Radio Cymru has carried off the prestigious ‘Radio Station of the Year’ award at the international Celtic Film and Television Festival. The station recently recorded its highest share of radio listening in Wales since 1999 and it is by far the most popular radio station among Welsh speakers with one in three listening each week.
Glynne Davies, Editor, Radio Cymru, said: “This prize is a tribute to the hard work of those who work on Radio Cymru’s programmes, who work together to create such entertaining, accessible and popular programmes. We’re also moving with the times, with “C2″ – our evening service for young people – now being podcasted. We all feel very proud to receive this award.”
The Celtic Film and Television Festival is a three-day annual international event that recognises quality, originality and achievement on screen and in broadcasting.

Premier team ready to embrace a Lady

Premier FM have now been allocated a frequency on which to broadcast into Limerick. The temporarily-licensed multi-city oldies station will, barring any last-minute hitches, be available in the city made famous by the song “Limerick, You’re a Lady” from this weekend on 99.9MHz FM. They were due to be on air there from last weekend but their broadcast site proved unsuitable for use. This made it impossible to launch until a new site was found.
“We are really looking forward to broadcasting into Limerick,” said Paul Shepherd, Premier FM’s Operations Director, speaking to Radiowaves News today. “The response from Cork and Galway has been truly amazing – way, way beyond all our expectations.”
Answering criticisms that the station came across as being very Dublin-focused on air, Paul says that there will be some new jingles rolling out as soon as they are available in all four cities.
“We were also ready to run some opt-out programmes expecially for each city,” Paul says. However the BCI preferred that the station focused on getting a signal into each city and gauging the reaction. “In retrospect that was a good thing,” Paul admits.
Premier FM have been licensed to broadcast at weekends until mid-June and are already available in Dublin on 92.1MHz FM, Cork on 106.7MHz FM and Galway on 104.9MHz FM.

No Charges for Pirate Broadcasts

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. 

Community licensing decisions announced

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 Touche unlucky in love

A presenter on Coventry’s Touch FM was left red-faced after a romantic Valentine’s Day gesture backfired on him.

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.

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.

IBI celebrate listenership figures

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

Phantom’s ‘bullies’ await decision

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.

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.
The Phantom team on the day of their licence application
(L-R) Simon Maher; Jack Hyland; Aidan Lynch; Ger Roe; & ‘Sinister’ Pete Vamos
Photo: courtesy of allaboutbuses.com

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.

Irish Times – Radio station bullied its way to licence, court told

Radio station bullied its way to licence, court told

The new Dublin rock station, Phantom FM, effectively “bullied” its way into getting a licence after years of illegal broadcasting, it was claimed before the Supreme Court yesterday.

John Gordon SC, for Zed FM, a consortium backed by artist and campaigner Bob Geldof and Niall Stokes of Hot Press, was making closing submissions in an appeal by Zed against the High Court’s upholding of a decision of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) of November 2004 awarding the FM licence to Dublin Rock, trading as Phantom FM.

The appeal hearing concluded yesterday and Ms Justice Susan Denham, presiding over the three-judge court, said it would reserve judgment.

Phantom is backed by a wide range of individuals and companies, including U2 manager Paul McGuinness’s Principle Management and promoter Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments. The station was awarded an FM licence by the BCI on November 8th, 2004, but was forced to delay its start-up date after legal proceedings challenging that decision were brought by Zed FM.

Zed challenged the granting of the licence to Phantom FM on a number of grounds, including a claim that the BCI was unfairly biased towards Phantom FM and that members of the consortium had wrongly benefited from illegal broadcasting in the past as a pirate station.

When dismissing the Zed challenge last November, the High Court found the involvement in illegal broadcasting of some individuals with Dublin Rock was known to the BCI and that those persons had ceased their illegal broadcasting prior to the licence application being made.

The High Court also held that it was for the commission, not the courts, to consider what weight would attach to the illegal broadcasting matter when the commission was considering the character of Phantom. Zed FM had “not established in any way” that the BCI gave an advantage to Phantom arising out of its illegal broadcasting experience, it ruled.

Closing Zed FM’s appeal yesterday, Mr Gordon said Phantom’s entire licence application was grounded on seven years of operation, largely as an illegal broadcaster. His side could see no evidence that the BCI had asked Phantom to break down its experience into the period when it was temporarily licensed and when it was an illegal operator. The High Court was told the BCI had not considered the illegal broadcasting history of Phantom.

In granting Phantom the licence, the BCI had, inadvertently, he was sure, drawn up a charter for illegal broadcasting, counsel submitted. The staff who run the new station are those who repeatedly broke the law, apparently with impunity, until they eventually got their way, he argued. It was his case they effectively “bullied their way” into getting the licence.

Earlier, opposing the appeal, Michael Cush SC, for the BCI, said the debate in the High Court case had centred on what was the correct definition of “character” in the context of a licence application. Zed was now advancing a case that relevant considerations were not taken into account, but that case had not been made in the High Court.

The BCI, Mr Cush argued, had not misdirected itself in relation to the matter of “character” when considering the Phantom application. The BCI knew about the involvement of some individuals in Dublin Rock with illegal broadcasting and there was uncontradicted evidence they had discussed the piracy issue generally, counsel said.

The High Court took the view it was not for the court to assign weight to this issue and also found no evidence of bias or prejudgment on the part of the BCI.

© The Irish Times

Irish Independent – Zed claims Phantom FM ‘bullied’ its way into getting licence

Zed claims Phantom FM ‘bullied’ its way into getting licence

The new Dublin rock station Phantom FM effectively “bullied” its way into getting a licence after years of illegal broadcasting, it was claimed yesterday.

Mr John Gordon SC, for Zed FM, a consortium backed by campaigner Bob Geldof, was making closing submissions in the Supreme Court appeal by Zed against the High Court’s upholding of a decision of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) to award the FM licence to Phantom.

Ms Justice Susan Denham reserved judgment.

Phantom is backed by several individuals and companies, including U2 manager Paul McGuinness’s Principle Management and promoter Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments.

Zed challenged the granting of the licence to Phantom FM on a number of grounds, including a claim that members of the consortium had wrongly benefited from illegal broadcasting in the past.

When dismissing the Zed challenge last November, the High Court held that it was for the BCI, not the courts, to consider what weight it would attach to the illegal broadcasting matter when considering the character of Phantom.

Closing Zed FM’s appeal yesterday, Mr Gordon said Phantom’s entire licence application was grounded on seven years of operation, largely illegally.

Mr Michael Cush SC, for the BCI, said Zed was now advancing a case that relevant considerations were not taken into account but that case had not been made in the High Court.

MTV’s Mark joins the Q to be Programme Director

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 to start each day with a Power Breakfast

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 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.”

Anomaly in Cork JNLRs to be fixed

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.

Sunday Tribune – February 5th 2006

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.

Sunday Business Post – February 5th 2006

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.

Newspaper: Listen to drive-time at any time

Irish Times
Listen to drive-time at any time

Irish Times – February 4th 2006

Listen to drive-time at any time

Podcasting allows listeners to shape the future of radio, writes Elaine Edwards.

Oh joy: the morning commute is no longer the hell it was thanks to podcasting, a simple technology that allows people to choose what they listen to and when, in their cars or on their music players. Podcasting is creating a minor revolution for radio listeners and probably causing alarm among those who use ear-splitting radio ads at 10-minute intervals to sell products and services.

There’s nothing especially new about the technology – essentially podcasts are just audio files with a fancy name. But downloading to a computer or a personal music player means you can tailor your listening to your lifestyle.

While not all podcasts are radio broadcasts, the majority of those that appear consistently in the top 10 downloads are. Other podcasts are diary-style offerings produced by individuals for online consumption. Even some newspapers and magazines such as the Washington Post and Newsweek offer podcasts.

In a way, podcasts are doing for broadcasting what the web did for information a decade ago – they’ve created a new broadcasting democracy, providing a platform for anyone with a microphone and a computer. But they’ve also opened a brave new world to purveyors of piffle, from the pointless through to weird, alarming and, potentially, illegal – as well as personal podcasts with stuff for geeks and specialists of every sort.

The most popular podcasts, according to Apple’s iTunes daily “chart”, are radio programmes or edited highlights of popular shows. This week’s top 25 podcasts included four of Dublin-based Newstalk 106’s programmes, two Today FM shows, two RTÉ shows and one each from the Dublin independent stations FM104 and 98FM.

JP Coakley, head of operations radio at RTÉ, believes there are exciting possibilities in podcasting, which can exist alongside traditional radio. At present, RTÉ offers about eight podcasts and he estimates the number of downloads to be in the thousands, rather than in the tens of thousands in which the station measures those who listen online to “streamed” audio of shows such as Morning Ireland.

“We are talking about a changing market over the next five years, but not a situation where on-demand overtakes day-to-day radio listening. “If you look at the markets, the box in the corner where sound is instant still has enormous appeal,” says Coakley. He cites the popularity of Joe Duffy’s Liveline show, which allows listeners to ring or text the show to give their tuppence worth on the hot issue of the day. “Radio still has that connection with the imagination and with the mind. But the technologies are there and we are competing for listeners and we have to rethink how we do things.”

The BBC, which doesn’t face the same commercial pressures as other broadcasters, offers an extensive range of radio podcasts and plans to increase the available downloads and podcasts to 50. Some 35 million programmes were downloaded from the BBC in the last quarter of 2005. According to Simon Nelson, controller of BBC radio and music interactive: “Podcasting enables us, if someone requests a programme, to send them that programme every time we broadcast it so we can keep that relationship going and that person can ensure they never miss an episode of their favourite programme. Of course, there are huge rights implications, technology implications and distribution implications for the BBC so we want to tread very carefully.

“. . . What we’d like to do is make a much wider range of content available but we recognise that if we’re going to do that, the current model where people can basically keep this stuff isn’t necessarily going to be one that’s very attractive to our rights partners. There are different models you can use to restrict them from being shared between people. But you can also create files that expire at the end of seven days,” says Nelson who, like Coakley, believes the new technologies will complement the radio industry: “I don’t believe they are going to cannibalise and destroy it,” he says.

© The Irish Times

A new station for Moscow

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.

A million thanks

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!”

Good quarter for BBC London

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.”

Talking up figures

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 for Bristol

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.

BBC Radio strike to hit shows

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.

Meteor Ray is happy, unlike Larry

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.

Pulse make a move

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.

It’s all about the money

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.

Daily Mirror – February 3rd 2006

CityUPbeat

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.”

Record share for BBC Radio in RAJARs release

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.

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The Freaks have Departed the Airwaves

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 Freaks have Departed the airwaves

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.

Station First for Bahrain

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.

Major Crackdown on London Pirates

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.