Limerick Stations

Kiss transmitter stolen

Kiss FM Limerick’s 106.0MHz transmissions are presently off the air because thieves stole their transmitters in Newcastlewest last Wednesday at 1.10am.

Report: Countrybob

Kiss off and on

Kiss FM Limerick’s West County transmitter on 106.0MHz is off air at present. Their 106.3MHz transmissions in the city are unaffected. On-air announcements say that 106FM is off due to serious technical problems – it is hoped that it will be back on air on Thursday.

Meanwhile Country music station Galtee Radio 102.4MHz are also being heard at present via a relay transmitter on 104.1MHz.

No Hit Radio

Off air in Limerick for the past while have been the 107.9FM and 103.35FM transmissions for “All Hit Radio”.

Wandering UCB returns

The second UCB relay in Limerick returned to air today, now back on a previous frequency of 105.5MHz. This follows many frequency shifts, the last being on 106.5MHz.

Hot move

Limerick station Hot Hits FM have told Radiowaves News that they have been forced to move to 100.3FM because of recent problems – referring to Country Gold transmissions close to their previous 103.4MHz frequency.
“We are broadcasting with 50watts erp and we are awaiting the arrival of our 300 watt transmitter by the end of the month,” they continued.
The station can be contacted on 087 2223584.

95’s studio official opening

Limerick’s Live 95FM’s new broadcasting facility, Radio House, was officially opened today by Tanaiste Mary Harney. The station’s new fully digital studios are based on the Dock Road in the city centre.
It has been reported that a small number of Radio Limerick One supporters were present with placards stating “No RLO No Vote”

Call for more licences in Limerick

Junior Minister for Education Willie O’Dea has called for an urgent meeting with Minister for Arts, Culture, Heritage and the Islands, Síle de Valera. This follows the BCI announcement of just one new medium wave special interest licence for Limerick city. O’Dea is convinced that the demand exists for more licences.
Meanwhile, Radio Limerick One’s outspoken presenter Gerry Hannan has described the offer of a single licence for the city as a ‘complete joke’. He thinks that Limerick needs five new licences and has warned that people will refuse to vote in the next general election if RLO do not receive a licence.
“The Broadcasting Commission have thrown this licence to us like a crumb after the mounting political pressure being put on them. We don’t want the crumbs, we want the full loaf of bread,” he said.

Source: Limerick Leader

RLO protests in Limerick

A delegation from Radio Limerick One will be meeting with Minister for Arts, Culture, Heritage and the Islands, Sile De Valera on next Wednesday (February 13th) to discuss recent official activity against the station. This will follow an RLO-orchestrated protest at the PD Conference in Limerick this Saturday.

Report: Francis Dunne

Estuary move again

Limerick’s Estuary FM have shifted frequency for the second time in a week. The station can now be found on 107.7MHz, following last week’s move from 106.7FM to 106.4FM.

Signals Reappear

Test-tones appeared on 104.2MHz and 105.2MHz in Limerick yesterday. Both these frequencies – along with 90.5MHz – were being used by Radio Limerick One until the station were put off the air by ComReg on Monday. Both transmitters are off the air again today.

Report: Liamo

Today’s Newspapers: February 9th 2003

Sunday Independent – Pirate radio stations endangered aircraft

Sunday Independent - Pirate radio stations endangered aircraft

Sunday Independent – Broadcast news

It’s rumoured to be a top-class station but is anyone listening? We’re told NewsTalk 106 is the voice of the new young Ireland, bouncier and fresher than Radio One, with more content than the music stations. But can you find it on the dial and what are its frontmen – David, Daire and Damien – like? Declan McCormack finds out

Sunday Independent - Broadcast news

I suspect the majority of people like radio to be a mass experience. If you want a solitary experience, you can read a book.

Or listen to NewsTalk 106. 106 has a minuscule audience. Something like 2 per cent share of Dublin listeners. Good shows, small audience. But now the staion has launched a campaign to get people to break the habit of a lifetime, to touch that dial and steer it away from RTE through the garrulous nonsense of early morning 2FM, the forced jollity of 98 and 104 FM to talk shows and rolling news on 106FM. But when I perform the delicate operation through a crowded spectrum of foreign, Dublin, Wicklow, Louth, and pirate stations, I find myself listening to new country on Dublin’s Country on 106.8. Oops, too far.

Wednesday, 6.40am. As I dress, I hear promos on Newstalk 106 for the boy wonder. David McWilliams. The young Michael Fox lookalike, the whiz economist who coined the ‘Celtic Tiger’ thingy, McWilliams is featuring on most bus shelters in the capital under the caption, “It’s a wake-up call for Dublin.” As the bus scoots into town, McWilliams is querying a woman from Dublin Bus. His style is teasing, good-humoured. The item follows a very chummy interview with Michael O’Leary about Aer Rianta monopolies. Is 106 into monopoly-bashing?

On Mount Street, I ask a young lady where Warrington House is. Never heard of it. It’s where Newstalk 106 is. Never heard of it, she says. It doesn’t augur well. Warrington House is a fine red-brick building. Pleasant open-plan rooms. Friendly receptionists. Cup of tea instantly offered. Only 10 minutes more of the McWilliams show, so I bring the mug into the control room where I meet the producer, Nina Hepojoki, Joe Walsh, the editor, and Jane, the researcher. In studio, David is ganseyless, tieless and guestless. A few papers, the Financial Times among them, lie scattered on his table. The news is being read. More accidents arising from joyriding. And the impending traffic chaos. Foreign news too.

Daire O’Brien, presenter of The Flip Side, is not to be seen. An unfamiliar face in studio with David discusses the items that will be on The Flip Side. More of the frightfully young and telegenic staff of 60-plus appear, all in good humour. The new marketing campaign may account for it.

David McWilliams enters the busy kitchenette carrying mug and papers. One of the staff teases him about wearing a NewsTalk tieon his Agenda programme on TV3. I’m invited to join the team in the Coffee Club for breakfast. Sounds good. They’ll be planning tomorrow’s programme. He’s also having an Agenda meeting in the Coffee Club and I can sit in on that too. Then I get to interview him before he goes home to crash out for a few hours, spend some time with his children and then write his ‘op-ed’ article for The Sunday Business Post. Tri-media man.

I compliment him on the quality of the guests on the show. “Yes, we get quality contributors.” He rattles off the names of ministers who have been on, and mentions former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak too. He is well connected in Israel, where he worked for a Swiss bank, and found himself defending the bank after revelations about Jewish gold salted away in Swiss banks by the Nazis.

10.10am, The Coffee Club, Haddington Road. Joe Walsh is smoking “He is our living mausoleum,” says David. Nina, the 28-year-old Finnish beauty and producer, seems very well clued-into Irish life. David seems to have his own network of high-powered academic, political and economic acquaintances scattered around the world. He is on the phone to a Norwegian academic for a planned debate on Ireland’s neutrality. But he gets through to the academic’s son, who is walking on a beach in Tel Aviv. Eventually, he traces the academic to Italy. This show gets around for a local station. Small station, big phone bills.

Another possible guest is the Danish academic who has published a book, The Sceptical Environmentalist, which questions many Green orthodoxies. David likes people who challenge orthodoxies. He “hates spoofers”. The programme’s agenda is very cosmopolitan. David is unapologetic. Young Dubliners travel a lot and live in a global age.

But Dublin isn’t being neglected. Dun Laoghaire bin charges is a hot topic on NewsTalk today. Property is another hot issue. Nina suggests something on buying property abroad or else a newsy item on commercial property. It is particularly important to the ABC1 (marketese for middle-class) listeners that NewsTalk are targeting.

David is enthusiastic about the property item. He was brought up in Dalkey, lives in Killiney. Sexy property.

The cafe is buzzing, full of the ABC1s which the station is targeting. I am struck by how young the team is: all bar Joe and David in their twenties. David is 36 “I’m the ancient one.” The target age for the station is 25-44. The target audience for the breakfast show is “professional, aspiring people on the move”. No wonder I haven’t been listening.

10.30am. Daire O’Brien, Flip Side host, breezes into the cafe, Marlboro fag in mouth. Missed his show. “Traffic.” It is ironic that on a day when the station is going big on traffic hell, one of its key presenters is late. American journalist Richard Delevan has stepped into the breach. Daire suggests we amble down to the Waterloo Bar on Baggot Street. Not my usual mid-morning style, but hell, this is the Flip Side man. Or as the ad campaign has it, “A new man in the morning”.

Daire, who once edited a men’s magazine called Himself, is certainly New Mannish in the way children play a large part in his life. As we order coffee, he tells me about his four children. He also speaks fondly about a child of his former partner, with whom he had two other children. He is now married to Cliona, with whom he has two children. Pretty productive for a thirtysomething guy who “boozed and leched” at Trinity. It is a busy private life. No wonder he was late.

His spiel is wide-ranging and witty. He dismisses country bumpkin local radio stations as “cats up trees, news and funeral notices”. This despite the fact that some of the very successful local stations are investors in 106.

He waxes eloquent about the new station and its appeal to freethinking Generation Text who are fed up with stodgy RTE’s “senior citizens’ station” (Radio One, for which he once worked) and who want a radio show that reflects their lifestyle and questioning sensibility “not drunken taxi drivers ringing in at midnight”.

Texting is the new Liveline. “Texting is emblematic of the generation.” The power of the text message was first demonstrated on Dunphy’s Last Word on Today FM. Some claim that 106 is modelled on The Last Word. Hamlet without the lip-puckering Prince. Indeed his producer, Amanda Brown, worked for two years on The Last Word.

12.10pm. We mooch back up Baggot Street. He is knackered; one of the children was sick last night, he hasn’t had a break since the station went on air in April last year.

12.15pm, The Coffee Club. The Agenda meeting still in progress. Eventually David plops down beside me, tells me he’s knackered and orders a taxi. I cut to the chase. How did he get into radio and TV? “I was asked.”

Being one of The Great Unasked I’d like to pursue this, but don’t. He has a wife, a northerner called Sian, who is a lawyer, and two children. He is an economist by training. Daire O’Brien and Damien Kiberd studied economics too. The business of modern Ireland is business. “One-and-a-half million Irish people work in the private sector; business is everything to them.” David played rugby. As did Daire. And presumably Hookey did too. Rugby is very aspirational and now professional. So very 106.

Was he too cosy with Michael O’Leary, and is he ideologically anti-public-service? He bristles. “I’m a pragmatist. Someone said, you fix it and then you can argue about ideologies in the pub.” He is not anti-public-enterprise. France has the best rail transport system in Europe.

The taxi arrives. A final question. Is the station pro-Shannon protests? More barely concealed annoyance. “Anti-Americanism is the new socialism.” He has little time for those who pontificate who haven’t seen the world. Spoofers. “You learn that Ireland is not unique.” He really must go.

1.30pm, NewsTalk offices. Damien Kiberd looks very at home in his studio. Making all the right hand signals to his young producer Anna Murphy. Anna and researcher Patricia Monahan (from Cavan) have loads of text messages lined up. For a station with such a small audience they get a lot of texts. The show moves along pacily. Kiberd has a hoot about an RTE newsroom gaffe over the age of a joyrider. Described in early news bulletins as a 12-year-old who cried for his mammy, he is magically grown to a 27-year-old.

3pm. Kiberd was the founding father of The Sunday Business Post, which he sold last year very lucratively and knows a thing or two about the problems of start-up media companies.

He had no experience at radio presenting, but lots at being a radio guest being a regular on Today FM, where he once had a famous blow-up with Pat Rabbitte. He has proved a very quick learner, according to his producer, and has had Rabbitte on as guest.

He loves radio and isn’t a bit disheartened that his two young children (10 and 13) don’t listen. His wife Teri, a former journalist, does, and is a good sounding-board. He believes in “pacey, spikey and provocative” radio which combines info with entertainment. “I’m a populist. My style is ‘broadloid’ [broadsheet/tabloid]”. He is 47. His own radio heroes are Pat Kenny (“on radio”) and Ciaran Mac Mathuna. “Oh, and Maxi she’s positive and upbeat.” That’s what he wants his show to be, and the station as well. He’s upbeat about its potential. “You get a critical mass and then you turn the corner.” And then you sell out. He laughs. He isn’t a shareholder in 106.

The old adage that broadcasting is a licence to print money needs to be amended to ” . . . provided you can stay the long haul”. Pete Lunn (out of Oxford via the BBC), the 32-year-old station editor, is sure the investors are in for the long haul. He is confident they have created a “quality product” but need to let people know. He says that research shows that the “conversion rate” to 106 is high.

As I leave, I hear for the hundredth time the station’s chief sting-cum-slogan: “You can watch it tonight, you can read it tomorrow, but you can hear it now on NewsTalk 106.”

Postscript. Next morning’s David McWilliams show had a discussion on neutrality featuring Eamon Dunphy, Tom McGurk and Norwegian Professor Galto, who lectured Ireland on selling our soul for a mess of oil. The sexy property item was about buying abroad. Damien Kiberd has recently replaced Vincent Browne on the Midnight Court TV show on RTE1, so he won’t be laughing as much at RTE’s newsroom blunders.

January 20. I meet a tired-looking Aidan Dunne, the station’s second CEO. He reluctantly confesses to being 50, and thus over the target age. “We don’t exclude anyone.” They wouldn’t want to, with an audience share of two per cent. He is confident that by August next year they’ll be up to eight per cent.

I have certainly listened in quite a lot since. It is a good, polished, bouncy station: perky, lively and informative. It sounds as if the presenters believe someone is listening to it.

Best of all, David McWilliams gives Michael O’Leary a good grilling over Ryanair’s retention of passenger service charges for no-show customers. And when the Columbia shuttle tragedy occurred, NewsTalk went into rolling news mode.

But just before I wrote this I went for a last sweep across the dial and at 106 I heard a lovely tune and I said, wow they play some good music too! It was The Judds’ Love Can Build a Bridge, but actually the station that played it turned out to be 106.8 Dublin’s Country. It is crowded on the dials. You can check that tonight, you can check it again tomorrow, but you read it here first.

Live nominations

Live 95FM, Limerick’s licensed local station, today received the highest number of shortlisted nominations of any radio station in Ireland for The Guinness Radio Advertising Awards. In categories open to advertising agencies and radio stations, they have been nominated for Public Service/Charity advertising and The Greenhorn Award for new talent.
David Tighe, the station’s chief executive, told Radiowaves News: “Limerick’s Live 95FM has some of the best creative people in the country. To make the shortlist against national competition is a tribute to Eric Murphy our producer, and all the staff. We are delighted to be nominated for such prestigious awards by an independent adjudication panel and we are looking forward to the ceremony next Friday.”
Submissions for this year’s awards, which are now in their tenth year, were received from 21 radio stations and 15 advertising agencies.

It’s Easy going live

New Limerick station Easy FM started live test transmissions on 103.3MHz at 4pm today. The tests were hosted by Gerry Hannan, formerly of fellow unlicensed station Radio Limerick One.

Source: Francis Dunne

High five for Live 95

UTV-owned Limerick’s Live 95FM have achieved a large number of shortlisted entries in this year’s Phonographic Performance Ireland (PPI) Radio Awards. The radio station has been nominated in five separate categories including the Best News Story category for the third year in a row. They are also shortlisted in the Best Sports Coverage, Best Presenters in a music driven format (Mark and Catriona of the Breakfast Show), Best On-Air Competition and Best Local Station of the year categories.
Live 95’s Chief Executive David Tighe said: “We received nominations in all areas of our output. It’s been a great year for the on-air team:. Firstly, [we had] a massive vote of confidence from our listeners, and now the radio industry recognise what Limerick listeners have known for a while, that they have a station to be proud of.”
The PPI’s are considered to be the Irish equivalent of the Oscars and honour the highest radio standards in local and national stations across the country.
Limerick’s Live 95FM previously won PPI news awards in 2003 and 2004 and earlier this year won a New York Radio Award for news coverage.
The awards ceremony will take place at The Burlington Hotel in Dublin on October 14th and both national and local radio personalities will be in attendance on the night.

Today’s Newspapers: February 10th 2021

Irish Times – Digital fails to usurp FM as main way to consume Irish radio

Digital fails to usurp FM as main way to consume Irish radio

Listeners here have stayed loyal to analogue methods, Ipsos MRBI report shows

Laura Slattery

Irish radio remains an FM affair despite the advent of multiple digital devices and apps, with the time spent listening through the FM band clocking in at about 15 times higher than the time spent consuming live Irish radio through digital methods.

FM accounts for a whopping 12.5 million of the 13.3 million hours a day Irish listeners collectively spend “tuning in” to Irish radio stations, a report by Ipsos MRBI has found.

Just 5.9 per cent of the time spent listening to Irish radio by people aged 15-plus is done through digital devices. Although this figure is higher among just 15-24-year-olds – standing at 17.2 per cent – the ongoing importance of FM to the industry emerges loud and clear from the Radio in a Digital World report.

The figures are based on the most recent Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) survey conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the radio and advertising industry.

The dominance of FM in terms of listening time is partially explained by the fact that people who listen through FM car radios or traditional home sets tend to do so for longer each day than people who listen through smartphones and other digital devices. The reach of FM also remains way out in front, however, with almost 77 per cent of Irish people listening to Irish radio on FM each day compared with 8.4 per cent doing so through digital devices. Digital reach has increased, but only from 7.2 per cent in 2015.

“Routines are very hard to break,” said Damian Loscher, managing director of Ipsos MRBI. “Around the edges, there are behaviour changes, but they are happening relatively slowly.”

Radio apps

Only 20 per cent of adults have downloaded a radio station app, according to the report. Among digital devices, mobiles are the most popular for listening to radio with a reach of 4.8 per cent, followed by PCs/laptops on 1.9 per cent, smart speakers on 1.7 per cent, listening through a TV set on 0.6 per cent and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) devices on just 0.5 per cent.

Ipsos MRBI began tracking the reach of smart speakers for radio consumption in January 2020, and its research up until the end of September suggests 66,000 Irish people use such speakers for this purpose. Mr Loscher said he suspected they have since overtaken PCs/laptops for radio listening and that this will be confirmed once the face-to-face JNLR survey can resume post-lockdown.

Mr Loscher said digital had made only modest inroads in the Irish market, in part “because FM is so big”. This stands in contrast to some European countries including Norway, which controversially switched all national FM radio to digital-only in 2017; and Switzerland, which is eyeing a complete switch to digital by 2024.

UK situation
In the UK, where DAB technology has been adopted by listeners, digital means overtook analogue consumption of radio three years ago. The UK government previously said this milestone would trigger a review of FM radio, but there is little sign that it will pursue a switch-off plan in the near future.

The Ipsos MRBI report also highlights that the daily reach of Irish radio remains ahead of the leading audio streaming service Spotify, even among younger listeners. Some 69 per cent of 15-24-year-olds listen to Irish radio daily, while 38 per cent use Spotify.

“Radio is a ridiculously robust medium,” Mr Loscher said.

While the proliferation of smart speakers and increasingly sophisticated car audio systems may have some impact on FM listening in the next few years, any regulatory intervention similar to that in Norway is likely to be “much further down the road”.