Donegal-based North West Radio’s studios were officially opened by Mary Coughlan, Minister of Social and Family Affairs, yesterday. The new studios are based at Mill Row.
Brendan Magee has been named as the presenter of Ocean FM’s breakfast show. The station’s ‘Breakfast Club’ will broadcast daily from 6.30am to 9am and they promise a show that will be lively, engaging, and local in feel. News, sport and weather will air on the hour, and there’ll be headline news updates every twenty minutes. The surf report, obituaries, and financial reports will also feature.
Brendan Magee’s broadcasting career spans eleven years with North West Radio, and he is also well known in the music scene across the region. He says he is “relishing” the opportunity to work alongside some of “Ireland’s most talented presenters”. He is a native of Garrison in Co Fermanagh and lives in Strandhill, Co Sligo.
Meanwhile, Leitrim man Kevin Blessing has been appointed Ocean FM’s Production Manager and Deputy Programme Controller. Kevin will play an active role in the day-to-day running of the service and, although generally recognized as one of Dublin’s more popular night-club disc-jockeys in recent years, he will also be the joint presenter of the station’s night-time ‘Ocean Energy’ programme from 9.30pm to 11pm.
After completing his broadcasting studies with Liberties College in Dublin, Kevin worked for a period with Shannonside Northern Sound, before his full-time appointment to Dublin’s Country, where he worked alongside one of the station’s co-founders – Senator Paschal Mooney.
Ocean FM’s General Manager Robert Walshe welcomed Kevin’s appointment, stating that his abilities, talents, and superb work ethic would be a huge asset to the new service. He continued: “Ocean FM’s commitment to Leitrim is further enhanced by the involvement of the award-winning Sunday World journalist Paul Williams, who will co-present the station’s Saturday morning current affairs show. Ocean FM will also give Leitrim its first ever state of the art studio with a new hi-tech facility at Library Corner, Manorhamilton.”
Ocean FM’s headquarters will be based at Collooney, Sligo and they will also have a full office and studio complex in Donegal Town.
The announcement follows the recent news that Ocean FM have recruited former 2FM star Mike Moloney to present ‘Ocean Drive’ daily from 3-7pm. Also confirmed is that the station’s General Manager, Robert Walshe, will anchor ‘North West Today’, Ocean FM’s daily current affairs and magazine programme from 9am to midday.
Ocean FM will launch on October 1st from studios and offices based in Northwest Business Park, Collooney, Co Sligo; Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim; and in Donegal Town.
A recipient of six National Journalism Awards has been appointed Group News and Sports Editor at new station Ocean FM. Niall Delaney (right) will have editorial responsibility for Ocean FM’s news teams in their franchise counties of Sligo, Donegal and Leitrim. He says he is looking forward to delivering a comprehensive news and sports service seven days a week – something the region has been lacking up to now.
The station’s General Manager and Programme Director Robert Walshe says: “Niall’s involvement with Ocean FM reflects the company’s commitment to ensuring an exceptionally high journalistic standard and ethic for the radio station going forward.”
Ocean FM’s news service will be on the air weekdays from 7am, and on weekends from 9am.
Meanwhile, the station are insisting that they will be on air on October 1st, despite North West Radio’s legal challenge against the loss of the licence which Ocean will operate under. Ocean FM have also announced their full weekday schedule, with details of their weekend line-up and specialist shows to follow shortly. The station’s weekdays will see a mix of former national favourites blend with a selection of local presenters.
“Ocean FM will change the sound of radio on the Western seaboard and move it to a new level of excellence,” Robert Walshe enthuses. “The Ocean FM team across all disciplines would be one of the most experienced and talented in the radio industry…outside Dublin.
The challenge of merging national broadcasters with key local presenters will ensure that Ocean FM will quickly impress the franchise area – and further afield.”
Ocean’s ‘Breakfast Club’ with Brendan Magee will start each day at 6.30am. This will be followed at 9am by ‘Northwest Today’ – the station’s current affairs and magazine show. This will be presented by Robert himself. Two former RTÉ 2FM presenters take the station from midday through to early evening. First Paul Scanlon presents ‘Ocean Breeze’ and Mike Maloney will follow with ‘Ocean Drive’ from 3pm. This will include ‘Maloney After 6’, a magazine-style show which will feature a number of high profile guests and celebrities.
Each night at 8pm, Mike Ryan will present ‘Ocean Country’ live from Ocean FM’s Donegal studios. The show will include regular updates from local country music expert Eamon McPhilomey. On Friday nights, former RTÉ Radio 1 presenter Alan Corcoran anchors ‘Corcoran’s Country’ – a ninety minute showcase of Ireland’s top country music stars.
‘Ocean NRG’ will air each night from 9.30pm and presenting duties will be rotated between Leitrim’s Kevin Blessing, Donegal’s Gavin McDaid, and Sligo’s Ciaran Carty. The show will be broadcast on location from Ocean FM’s three studios in the franchise area and will feature hot hits, text, and email requests.
Finally Lynsey Dolan will wind down the North West with ‘Ocean Love Cruise’ each night from 11pm. This show will feature three hours of the region’s all-time favourite love songs.
Michelle Guildea will travel the region in the Ocean Cruisers on “sticker and traffic patrol”.
Ocean FM will commence ‘dummy’ programme rehearsals from tomorrow.
The producer of a new talk-show for the north-west region has promised to ‘up the ante’ on neighbouring rival services. North West Today will be Ocean FM’s flagship show and it makes its debut next Monday at 9am.
“The programme will be vibrant, modern, inclusive, and exclusively local for Sligo, Leitrim, and South Donegal” according to the show’s producer Margaret Carr Flynn, who plans a number of ‘one off specials’ which promise to set the news agenda.
North West Today presenter Robert Walshe says: “Finally the people of this region will be free of a repetitive, old, played-out presentation style”.
The outgoing franchise holder for the area – North West Radio – relay a similar daily programme which originates from Mid West Radio’s studios in Mayo and is presented by Paul Claffey. Neither Margaret or Robert refer to Claffey’s show directly, but Mid West Radio’s show will still be available over much of Ocean FM’s franchise area despite North West Radio’s closedown on Friday.
Ocean FM’s ‘North West Today’ will be generated by local people, for local people, and the programme promises national issues with a local perspective together with celebrity guests and easy-listening music at all times. The station’s extensive news network will feed into North West Today ensuring that the programme will be able to bring stories to air live and immediately. The programme will be unique, broadcasting on location from Ocean FM’s high-tech broadcast centres in all three counties in the franchise area.
Robert Walshe, who is also the station’s General Manager, has had extensive experience in radio having presented similar programmes in both the Cork and Dublin markets.
Margaret Carr Flynn is a former producer with outgoing franchise operator North West Radio and has won numerous awards for her professionalism and expertise.
Ocean FM, the new station for the north-west franchise area which launches this Saturday at 9am, has announced a number of its key ‘special interest’ and weekend programmes.
At 7pm on Monday nights, ‘Bluestack to Benbulban’ is a one-hour window on tourism, and related-issues, and is presented by ex-Irish Times journalist and Sligo native Sorcha Crowley.
Also on Monday nights, Brendan Tierney – an ex students’ union president at Sligo IT – presents ‘Ocean Campus’ at 9.30pm.
On Tuesdays at 7pm former Raidió na Gaeltachta presenter Anna Ní Bhroin anchors ‘Cois na Tine’, a bi-lingual programme featuring Irish traditional music.
‘Arts House’ airs on Wednesdays, also at 7pm.
‘Ocean Catch’ on Thursdays at 7pm will be local radio’s first ever fisheries programme in Ireland and will be broadcast from the Ocean FM Broadcast Centre in Donegal town. Tony O’Callaghan, a Killybegs-based journalist, will be the programme’s producer and presenter.
Also on Thursdays, Barry Caslan of Teagasc in the north-west, will be anchoring ‘Agri Week’ at 7.30pm.
Alan Corcoran, formerly of RTÉ Radio 1, will be presenting ‘Corcoran’s Country’ on Fridays at 8pm.
According to the station’s General Manager Robert Walshe, the weekends will see Ocean FM providing a mix of ‘special interest’ programmes to suit all tastes.
‘Sunday Sentiments’ is a new weekly series which will feature classical, gospel, and legendery music genres. The shows will be presented by ex-Highland Radio founder Michael O’Donnell, together with Marion Fitzgerald and Fr Eddie Moore.
‘Mike Moloneys Irish Album’ on Sundays at 8pm will feature Ireland’s crème de la crème, while Bundoran’s Shane Smyth presents ‘Movie Magic’ at 9pm.
‘Indie Wave’ will be on air on Sundays at 10pm. Sligo’s Mark Foley promises an eclectic mix of music from both at home and abroad.
Fr Eddie Moore, a former Vatican radio presenter, joins Marion Fitzgerald on Sundays at 7pm for ‘Young at Heart’.
Seamus McManus returns to the airwaves after a long spell to present Ocean FM’s ‘Weekend Breakfast Club’ while Daniel Browne of the ‘Donegal Democrat’ anchors ‘Ocean Current’, also on Saturday mornings at 10am. He will be assisted by Leitrim native and award-winning Sunday World journalist Paul Williams.
Noel Burke and Paul Gallagher present ‘Ocean Weekend Café’ at 11am from both the Sligo and Donegal studios respectively.
Ocean FM say that they are passionate about sport and they claim that the station’s commitment in this regard will be second to none. The legendary Packie Bonner, along with GAA allstar Eamon O Hara, will be the chief analysts on Friday night’s ‘The Final Whistle’ at 7pm. John Behan will anchor ‘Saturday Sports Beat’, while a similar programme on Sundays will be a window on all sporting disciplines.
Other weekend highlights include ‘Solid Gold Sunday’ in Sligo with Rory O Brien (ex-2FM) and in Donegal with John Logue (formerly Highland Radio).
One of the region’s most popular nightclub djs Ciaran Carty will anchor ‘Ocean NRG’ on Friday nights and ‘Ocean Weekend Party’ on Saturdays at 6pm.
Tyrone Community Radio are defiantly back on air despite a recent ComReg raid in which some of their equipment was taken from their location in Ballylast, in east Donegal.
TCR have been broadcasting to the area for a decade but were closed down a couple of weeks ago by members of ComReg, who were accompanied by the Gardai. However, the country & western music station returned just days later.
ComReg have indicated that they intend to prosecute the station’s owners.
Highland Radio, the licensed service in Donegal, have switched off an unlicensed transmitter based in Inishowen following a warning from ComReg that it was illegal.
Highland Radio presenter Pio McCann died peacefully at his home this morning surrounded by his family.
Pio was an ex-showband member who joined Erneside Radio in Cavan in 1987 after hearing an advertisement seeking presenters. He also worked on Radio Star Country before joining Highland Radio.
In 2008 Pio was honoured with the CMA International Broadcaster Award in Nashville. This award recognised the outstanding achievement by a radio broadcaster outside the United States for their important contributions towards the development of Country Music in their country.
Pio is survived by his wife Rae, six children and eleven grandchildren.
Highland Radio, which broadcasts to Donegal, will run a special programme celebrating Pio’s life on his show tomorrow, Saturday from 12noon – 2pm.