The ODTR have given Limerick oldies station Country Gold 21 days to close or else face prosecution. Advertisers with the station have also been advised that they face prosecution and a possible fine of £20,000.
The station issued the following statement to Radiowaves News this evening: “A snooker tournament featuring Ken Doherty & Jimmy White took place at Jerry’s Bar at Daly’s Cross, adjacent to Country Gold’s studios, last Saturday night. Jerry, who advertises with us on a regular basis, was visited by a person from the ODTR and advised to disassociate himself from Country Gold or face prosecution and a possible fine of £20,000. The station was to interview both players before the tournament but the ODTR contacted Jimmy White’s manager – who was still in England – through the police and advised him he could face prosecution and a £20,000 fine if the interview went ahead. They did likewise with Ken’s manager. We did not conduct the interview out of respect for both the participants and Jerry even though they were both willing to go ahead.
“Country Gold has now decided to take a stand against the jackboot tactics of the ODTR and we are willing to face jail if necessary to highlight the problems facing stations like ours. We offer an alternative to the top of the pops played consistently on the legalised stations, and we also have a current affairs programme highlighting local issues of concern to our listeners. Whose toes did we step on? We are certain that there is political motivation behind this action by the ODTR. However, we also feel that as citizens living in a so called “Democratic society”(????) we should have the right to freedom of speech. Is that not part of our constitution? We are rallying support from all corners of our social order and we intend to fight this until some politician with spine decides to fight for a change in the laws that govern broadcasting at present. Why can they not do as they did with the taxis? After all, only the stations that can support themselves financially will survive.
We would like to thank the many, many listeners who called us and offered their support. We may need it in the days to come.”