CKR says thank you for the music as station goes off air
By: Lynda Connolly
Time of death 3:04pm Thursday January 29.
CKR, one of the longest established radio stations in the country ceased broadcasting in protest against the refusal of the BCI (Broadcasting Commission Ireland) to expand their licence for a three-month period.
Presenter Terry Martin brought the last sounds of the station to a halt. “We fought hard right up until the 11th hour. There wasn’t a stone left unturned. We cannot understand why the BCI did not allow us to broadcast for three months until KCLR were ready to fill the void. We have decided to cease broadcasting on January 29 in protest of this seemingly senseless decision.”
The air went dead. The station, which first went on air September 15, 1989, lost their licence to KCLR (Kilkenny Carlow Laois Radio) from February 1.
Chairman of the new station John Purcell said they wouldn’t be ready to take over until late April. CKR were refused permission to expand their licence until this time. Fourteen years of broadcasting were cut short in protest.
Looking visibly upset, employees gathered to say farewell to their station and workplace. The last song to be played was the Abba classic, Thank You For the Music.
Station CEO Seamus Reddy broke down as he said goodbye. “What can I say I’m really sad. I do suspect there were hidden agendas the whole time. But I won’t go into that. It’s particularly sad for the employees. They are the real losers.
“Anything I’ve ever done, I’d do it all again.”
Dead air now goes out to the people of Carlow and will continue to do so until KCLR are ready to pick up the broadcast in April. The people of Kildare tuned into Kfm for the first time last Sunday.
A spokesperson for the BCI said: “We signed a new contract with Kfm and they required the frequency from CKR. We had an agreement with CKR and extended their contract to late this month which they carried out.”
Like all local stations around the country, CKR’s broadcast of death notices in the morning was one of the most popular segments. Now it was time to compose an obituary for the station itself.
Anger as Carlow airwaves silenced
by Suzanne Pender
The sound of silence that awaits Carlow’s local radio listeners for the next three months, has this week been described as nothing short of a disgrace by politicians of every political hue.
Last Thursday afternoon CKR FM ceased operation amid a bitter row with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, following several attempts to continue operation until the new station KCLR takes over the Kilkenny and Carlow airwaves in April.
Following 14 years of service CKR ended in protest following demands by the BCI, which now leaves Carlow listeners without a service.
Deputy MJ Nolan described the move of the broadcasting commission not to grant a three-month extension to CKR as petty.
“It is petty of the commission not to allow the extension so that the people of Carlow could have a seamless transfer from one radio station to the new broad-caster,” he stated.
“CKR has provided a first-class news and sport service in the South East for the past 14 years and this is going to be sadly missed by the listening public for the next three months,” he added.
The deputy’s sentiments were echoed by Fine Gael Senator Fergal Browne.
“The closure of CKR has left Carlow people without a local radio service and is an absolute disgrace,” he remarked.
“Carlow has lost a vital community resource and the people of the county deserve answers.
“While the people of Kildare, who were also served by CKR Thursday afternoon, are now able to tune into the new KFM from the weekend, Carlow listeners will have to wait months for their replacement service, KCLR,” Senator Browne stated.
“This simply isn’t good enough.”
Deputy Nolan also pointed to the staff of CKR who now have no jobs even though the company was prepared to keep them in employment if an extension was granted.
“It is not acceptable that a government-appointed commission can arbitrarily make people unemployed when there is productive employment available to them. This goes against all stated government policy in relation to employment,” Deputy Nolan complained.
“Individuals and public bodies who have been mandated to work in the interest of the public should take their terms of reference seriously and apply them in the spirit of the law. It is not acceptable for them to hide behind the cloak of independence,” he added.
Cllr John Pender pointed to the huge gulf the lack of radio service now brings for people around the county particularly in the area of immediate sports and news reports.
He also pointed to one of local radio’s more popular items – the death notices issued each morning.
“The announcing of the death notices is a vital community service, which people in the county have become to rely on. The fact it is no longer available for at least the next three months in a huge loss,” he stated.
“Also I know many people were also very disappointed that games such as the Carlow-Monaghan national league match last Sunday will not be covered in the immediate future,” he added.