Midlands Radio 3 is displaying a new RDS reading of ‘MID.GOLD’ on their 102.1FM Athlone outlet. In their new application to the BCI during the licensing renewal process, Midlands Radio 3 are proposing split services on their frequencies. One of these is a new ‘Golden Oldies’ service by the name of Midlands Gold.
Report: DJ Softy
Midlands Radio 3’s Westmeath opt-out service is to be greatly increased from tomorrow. It will form part of the Midlands Gold service as proposed in the station’s recent submission to the BCI for the licence renewal in their franchise area.
Broadcasting on 102.1MHz in Athlone and 96.5MHz in Mullingar, the frequencies will still unite for some programmes. In preparation for the split, the Athlone studio facilities have been revamped.
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.
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.
Regional broadcasters i102-104 and i105-107 have just agreed a major sponsorship deal with Corona Beer to launch the sponsor titled ‘Corona Hour’.
The new programme will run for an hour from 2pm every Saturday on both stations.
The Corona Hour will be commercial free (apart from the sponsor’s name) and aims to play “feel-good music designed to put the smile on your face and energise you to get the party started”.
Hosted by Ezeke Gray, a native of Jamaica, iRadio will be supporting the sponsorship with sampling of Limes and other Corona merchandise every week and they will also be doing Corona Hour events at venues across the two franchise areas.
Neither party would discuss the value of the deal which gives Corona full brand ownership of the hour and also includes sampling, promos advertising the programme midweek, online support on both iRadio websites and social media involvement.
iRadio CEO Rena Maycock says that Corona is a perfect partner in this initiative: “We had an idea to have one hour of completely ad-free fun and happiness on the stations each Saturday that would help listeners get into the party mood and we looked for a brand partner that would help us to achieve that. Corona is a natural brand fit and they could see our vision for the potential impact this programme could have on the mood of the two regions by creating a 15 county party that you can attend without leaving your living room. In addition we have also found that there is a huge audience out there that don’t want to listen to sports programming at weekends and we want to provide those listeners with a super quality alternative.”
iRadio is also on the eve of launching the O2 sponsorship of its’ text-lines across both stations.
i102-104, which covers the west and north-west, launched in February 2008. This was closely followed by its sister station i105-107, which covers the midlands and north-east, in November of the same year.
The Corona hour launches on both i102-104 and i105-107 on Saturday 2 April 2011