The County Media Group, which includes 96FM and County Sound in Cork, is to be bought for £28.5m by UTV, the ITV franchise holder in Northern Ireland. The price does not include a debt of £3m, liability to be assumed by the buyer. The deal was finalised this week and is subject to approval by the Independent Radio and Television Commission. UTV plan to revamp the stations and have also gained a foothold into the bidding for a new licence in Cork, as County Media holds a 27% stake in the consortium proposing to broadcast under the name of Sonic FM. County Media managing director Colm O’Conaill, formerly of unlicensed station ERI, and commercial director Ronan McManamy will remain at the company and continue to manage the radio broadcasting side of the business.
A survival competition is underway on Cork’s 96/103FM with four people now living in a Volkswagon Beetle in Douglas Village Shopping Centre.
At 9am this morning, four contestants waved goodbye to their loved ones for at least two nights. The carmates, who in a cruel twist have been forbidden from brushing their hair, washing their teeth and using deodorant for the duration of their stay in the car, will be eliminated one by one by the stations’ listeners. The first eviction will take place on Wednesday morning.
On Friday morning, with two finalists remaining inside the car, the final eviction will be made live on the Neil Prendeville show on 96FM. Neil will link up with Patricia Messenger in North Cork and John Greene in West Cork – the two local services from 103FM County Sound.
Cork’s 96 & 103FM are keeping a constant eye on the contestants by webcam and by live feeds from the car to the station, which can be accessed at random.
Hot on the heels of last week’s Survive It To Drive It competition, Cork’s 96FM & 103FM have announced another giveaway which will take place on the airwaves of Cork City and County.
From October 14th next, 96FM & 103FM will qualify 100 finalists through a series of on-air games to take part in the ‘€10,000 cash drop’, which the stations claim is Cork’s biggest ever cash giveaway. The final will take place on November 6th at Cork Racecourse in Mallow. One listener will walk away €10,000 richer, with the money literally falling from the sky.
Each of the 100 qualifiers will be allocated a number and on November 6th, this number will correspond to a square of ground at the Racecourse. All of the qualifiers will watch a helicopter take to the air over the ground. At some point that morning, a bag containing €10,000 will be dropped from the helicopter to the ground onto the 100 squares. Whoever has the square where the money lands will walk away €10,000 richer.
A Cork radio station has come under fire following allegations that it broadcast live from the site of a gang war and gave one of the combatants airtime. 96FM’s Neil Prenderville was focusing on the scene of a full-scale riot taking place between traveller groups in Cork on Thursday morning and allowed one participant to state that “heads would be severed from bodies”.
A police officer says that he received a complaint that the riot was ‘being thrashed out on local radio’ and a District Judge has condemned the broadcast, calling for an investigation by the DPP and the broadcasting authorities. Neil has admitted on air that he is likely to be prosecuted over the item, but defends the decision to broadcast the piece. “I think we actually helped to defuse the situation,” he claimed.