Pirate radio station Splash FM has been shut down by the Gardaí. The station, based in Finglas in north Dublin, was broadcasting on 93.8MHz FM and had earned a reputation for broadcasting material which caused offence to anybody who may have stumbled upon their transmissions. Members of Dublin’s unlicensed community had expressed concern that the material being broadcast by Splash FM would be just the ammunition needed for the government regulatory body ComReg to launch another offensive against unlicensed stations which have established a pattern of coming on air at night and weekends only in hopes of thwarting any action against them.
According to the Gardaí, Splash FM was operated by members of the criminal fraternity, in particular an armed robber and drug dealer who is known as Mr Fatpuss. The station offered on-air tips on how to steal cars and also featured live broadcasts of joyriding gangs in action. Splash FM have also been accused of broadcasting racially offensive material.
Northern Ireland’s newest radio station, Seven FM, will launch in Ballymena, Co Antrim at 6.30am on Tuesday, November 1st, and is set to deliver a seven-day local and province news service. The station have announced a dynamic newsteam in Colm McAlinden (formerly of Q network), Rita McNutly (ex-BBC Radio Ulster) and Sharon Jennings (ex-Downtown Radio).
Seven FM’s Managing Director Robert Walshe says: “Our emphasis is to provide a comprehensive news, sport and obituary service seven days a week”.
There will also be a major sports focus across the entire schedule with key programmes running at weekends, including ‘The Final Whistle’ on Friday nights at 7pm – Northern Irish sports heroes David Humphries and Pat Jennings will be regular guests. Seven FM will also support and broadcast full match commentaries from the world of rugby, soccer, hockey and GAA in Co. Antrim.
Launch Team A number of key radio personalities from across the province are set to be part of the launch team. Neil McClelland (left), formerly of Glengormley and now living in Ballyclare, will be the station’s Head of Production and key anchor Drivetime presenter. His radio resume boasts key shows with Cool FM, Citybeat and Mid FM. Former Q102 Drivetime presenter Maurice Taggart will be the man charged with waking the region up on weekday mornings from 6.30am with ‘Seven Sunrise’. The show, according to the Carrickfergus man, “will pick you up and make you feel good”. The music mix will be “motivational” and Seven FM News will transmit on the hour and half hour with Belfast Commuter Traffic every 20 minutes. Seven FM will dim the lights at 11pm weeknights for ‘Seven Love’, Johnny Glover – the former Citybeat presenter from Lisburn – will become “Dr Love” and prescribe three hours of Co Antrim’s favourite love songs. Johnny will also co-ordinate Seven FM’s promotional team. He will be out-and-about with the Seven FM “Boogey Bus” attending openings, visiting schools and bringing Seven FM to the people in the streets everyday. Seven 4 Youths Seven FM will also have a selection of youth-focused programmes. Former Q97 presenter Natasha Miller will anchor ‘Seven NRG’ Monday to Friday from 9-11pm. The show will be text and email driven and will showcase the hottest hits of today, with regular features like the ‘Club Classic’ and ‘Teen Scene Showbiz News’. Cullybackey native Tony Rogers “Sheep T” will mix ‘Seven Sessions’ every Saturday night for two hours from 2am. The output will be hard-dance, funky house, hip-hop with two 60 minute sessions. Guest DJs from across Northern Ireland and beyond will also be regular guests in studio. Emma Fitzpatrick presents ‘Seven Sounds’ on Saturday evenings between 6 and 7pm. The main emphasis will be on showcasing the best of talent from across the Province, the island of Ireland and beyond. The playlist will boast live interviews from the likes of Westlife to Divine Comedy and from Van Morrison to Simply Red. Emma Fitzpatrick will also freelance for UTV and the Seven FM promotions department. Religion on Seven Ballymena native Rev Alan Mitchell, now based in Sligo and co-ordinator of local radio station Ocean FM’s religious programming, has also been heading up Seven FM’s religious commitments. A weekly service which covers all the religious denominations will broadcast weekly at 10.30am from across the region. Ballymena man Ronnie Geary will anchor ‘Sunday Miscellany’ from 7am – 10am. The music output will be largely country, gospel and appropriate music. On Sunday nights at 7pm Evan Connolly will present ‘Sunday Reflections’ an in-profile ‘Desert Island Ddiscs’ style show featuring people of note and achievement in all walks of life in the region. Special Seven The station will also carry a number of special interest programmes ranging from ‘Check-Up’ (a health programme) on Monday nights to ‘Arts House’ on Thursdays. Ballymena Guardian journalist Damien McGinley will present ‘Agri Week’ and ‘Seven Agenda’. Ocean FM Sligo presenter Paul Scanlon presents an album track show at weekends whilst Dublin’s Q102 Movie Man Shane Smyth presents ‘Seven Movie Magic’ on Saturday mornings at 9am. A dedicated Education Show presented by former Downtown radio anchor Sharon Jennings will be on the air on Thursday nights at 7.30pm. Robert Walshe says that he is very proud of the main launch team, adding that the entire programming schedule was a reflection of Northern Ireland’s ability to produce top broadcast talent.
Roscommon’s community radio station Ros FM, who broadcast on 94.6MHz FM, are today embarking on a live, non-stop, 30-hour broadcast as part of a joint fundraiser in aid of the Friends of St Lukes Hospital and Ros FM itself. John Crean, Liam Sherringham and Finbar Spellman are presenting a mixture of music, chat, sport news and views with a selection of special guests joining them over the course of the marathon broadcast, which finishes tomorrow evening.
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.
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.