Limerick

Live Chaos

Live 95FM, Limerick’s licensed service, caused chaos in the city yesterday when it gave away a prize of £10,000 in a competition they called “Four Play”. The prize was awarded for catching a particular four songs in a row and callers jammed all the telephone exchanges in an effort to win a choice of a trip around the world, a new car, a pot-bellied pig or the cash.

Comment: With CKR FM running a similar competition for it’s upcoming 11th birthday celebrations it’s not a bad time to point out that Radio Nova were first in Ireland with this idea too – nearly 20 years ago!

Lightning Live

Limerick’s Live 95FM were suffering transmission problems as a result of thunder and lightning this morning. The station was silenced in the middle of their midday news bulletin and remained off for about ten minutes.

Limerick Latest

Test transmissions from a station called Hot FM have been heard on 107.0MHz in Limerick in the past few days. The station had an RDS reading of HOT FM.
Country Gold has also been heard testing in Limerick on 103.0MHz with a playlist consisting of continuous Country and Sixties music.
Other unlicensed stations on in the city are: UCB on 87.7FM; Radio Limerick One on both 100.0FM and 105.0FM; Radio Galtee on 102.4FM; Magic 103.2; Image FM (RDS IMAGE FM) on 105.4FM and Kiss FM (RDS KISS) on 106.0FM and 106.3FM.

Hot Limerick Latest

Hot FM – on 105.8MHz in Limerick – will now launch on Monday, June 4th and not today as stated previously. The station’s RDS changed yesterday to ‘HOT105FM’ and they were broadcasting in mono. Today they had no RDS but were broadcasting in stereo.

Kiss FM Split?

Kiss FM in Limerick appear to have split the output on their two frequencies.
Today on 106.0MHz, the station’s usual live programming featuring dance/pop music has been dropped in favour of 70s, 80s and 90s slow, ‘radio friendly’ songs. The signal is in stereo with the usual RDS of ‘KISS’ but with none of the usual station jingles.
Meanwhile, on the other Kiss FM frequency of 106.3MHz, there is also no live programming but the favoured output is non-stop dance music. The signal is in mono with no RDS or station ident

Hot Hits Receive a Visit

Hot Hits Radio in Limerick were visited by the ODTR today. The officials arrived at the building hosting the station’s studios at about 2.30pm and gained entry through an open door. The studio itself was locked and entry was refused.
Fearing a return visit, the station is now off the air.

Magic Forced to Disappear

“The day we thought would never come arrived this Halloween,” a spokesperson for Magic FM in Limerick told Radiowaves News this evening. “We’ve had an official visit from the ODTR to the transmitting site issuing a warning to ‘cease the illegal broadcasting immediately or face prosecution’. We’ve decided to do what they’ve asked.”
Magic FM were an alternative rock station on 107.6MHz. They issued the following statement: “To all who’ve tuned our way in Limerick we want to say thanks. Thanks also to everyone involved in running the station over the past three years. Thanks to all at Radiowaves for the insight into what was going on around the country. Basically thanks to everyone who was involved, either directly or indirectly. We’ll miss the crack that was to be had.”

Country Gold Fight Back

The ODTR have given Limerick oldies station Country Gold 21 days to close or else face prosecution. Advertisers with the station have also been advised that they face prosecution and a possible fine of £20,000.

The station issued the following statement to Radiowaves News this evening: “A snooker tournament featuring Ken Doherty & Jimmy White took place at Jerry’s Bar at Daly’s Cross, adjacent to Country Gold’s studios, last Saturday night. Jerry, who advertises with us on a regular basis, was visited by a person from the ODTR and advised to disassociate himself from Country Gold or face prosecution and a possible fine of £20,000. The station was to interview both players before the tournament but the ODTR contacted Jimmy White’s manager – who was still in England – through the police and advised him he could face prosecution and a £20,000 fine if the interview went ahead. They did likewise with Ken’s manager. We did not conduct the interview out of respect for both the participants and Jerry even though they were both willing to go ahead.

“Country Gold has now decided to take a stand against the jackboot tactics of the ODTR and we are willing to face jail if necessary to highlight the problems facing stations like ours. We offer an alternative to the top of the pops played consistently on the legalised stations, and we also have a current affairs programme highlighting local issues of concern to our listeners. Whose toes did we step on? We are certain that there is political motivation behind this action by the ODTR. However, we also feel that as citizens living in a so called “Democratic society”(????) we should have the right to freedom of speech. Is that not part of our constitution? We are rallying support from all corners of our social order and we intend to fight this until some politician with spine decides to fight for a change in the laws that govern broadcasting at present. Why can they not do as they did with the taxis? After all, only the stations that can support themselves financially will survive.
We would like to thank the many, many listeners who called us and offered their support. We may need it in the days to come.”

New Station in Limerick

A new station playing Country & Irish music has appeared on 106.4MHz in Limerick. The signal, occupying a frequency that was previously used by Estuary before their move to 107.7FM, is relatively weak.

Report: Liam Byrne

RLO Static

Radio Limerick One’s 104.2MHz and 105.2MHz transmitters were both relaying static last evening.

Report: Liam Byrne

Galway AM

A new medium wave licence for the Galway area has been awarded to Galway 2AM, the BCI announced today. Galway Bay FM are behind the new station and the licence award is subject to successful completion of the contract. The expected frequency is 1359kHz with 2kW of power. Start-up costs are estimated at €320,000 and the station hopes to be up and running at the start of next year.

Legal Battle Looms for RLO

Radio Limerick One are seeking a judicial review of the reasons why they were not granted a hearing at this week’s oral presentations for Limerick’s new medium wave licence. Two applicants presented their cases to the BCI at Monday’s meeting in Portlaoise, and RLO are angry that they weren’t also invited to make their case.
RLO’s application was rejected by the BCI on the basis that the station had previously lost a licence. The Commission also cited their belief that a mainly talk station would not be financially viable. But both reasons are rejected by station boss Ger Madden, who says that if the judicial review fails, they will seek a high court injunction preventing the BCI from awarding the licence to anyone.

Competition for Limerick’s Medium Wave Licence

Two applicants for a newly-created specialist medium wave licence for Limerick presented their case at the BCI meeting in the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise last Monday.
Speaking for North Munster Radio, the country-and-Irish service, Billy Donegan said that the station would create nine full-time jobs with at least six part-timers also employed.
Speaking on behalf of Limerick Family Radio, the Christian service, Stephen Cardy said that their station’s main focus would be on supporting the family unit. The station plans to run on donations rather than advertising.

RLO Court Action

Liam Woulfe, the chairman of the Board of Directors of Radio Limerick One Ltd, has taken High Court proceedings against the company, and its chief executive – Ger Madden. In proceedings under the Companies Acts, Woulfe is seeking a court order compelling Madden to buy out his 24% shareholding at a price to be determined by the court. He is also seeking damages for alleged breach of duties owed to him by Mr Madden. Woulfe claims that affairs of the company have – and are – been run in a manner which is oppressive to him. One of those claims is that, at the behest of and under the control of Mr Madden, Radio Limerick One Limited committed serious breaches of its obligations under a licence contract between it and the IRTC, and that the company adopted a ‘confrontational’ attitude towards the IRTC and its concerns. Radio Limerick One operated a licensed service from 1989 until 1996, when the licence was terminated.

Legal Problems for RLO

Radio Limerick One owner Ger Madden has explained why Gerry Hannon has not been on the station for a number of weeks.
On Friday evening, Madden explained on air that this was due to a court case being taken against the broadcaster, as well as Madden himself, by the Limerick TD Willie O’Dea following comments made on Hannon’s show in July in which it was alleged by Fianna Fail’s Tim Long that O’Dea had approached him during an election campaign and asked him to disconnect the telephone of a rival candidate. Long was an Eircom employee at the time.
Report: Lez Ferguson

New Station for Limerick to be On Air Within Ten Days

A new station, Serenity Radio, will be broadcasting in the Limerick area within ten days. That is the confident prediction made by Gerry Hannon, the former Radio Limerick One (RLO) presenter and owner, when speaking to Radiowaves News this morning.

RLO was raided by Comeg just before Christmas, a blow that has put the final nail in the coffin of the infamous pirate station which was renowned for its very public stance against radio regulation.
Gerry insists that RLO should have been allowed to continue. “It was not competing with the county’s only commercial station, in fact RLO’s average listener would be everything that Live 95’s wasn’t,” he says defiantly.

According to Hannon, Serenity Radio will effectively operate on a five year community licence, likely to broadcast in the lower end of the FM band.
He says: “We will be using a series of the new low-power ‘church licences’ to cover the Limerick area, with the construction and erection of transmitters and aerials in six different locations. Although these licences were not intended for the FM band, there is a clause that allows the Minister of Communications to change the details ‘at his discretion’. These are the details we are presently ironing out but I am confident we will be on air very shortly.”

None of the transmitters will be allowed to operate at higher than 4 watts but their planned locations should allow for full coverage of the Limerick area.

Meanwhile Gerry confirmed that he will be running in the upcoming election with the primary objective of “opening up Limerick’s airwaves & advocating greater freedom of expression”.
Gerry contends that: “…for far too long the people of Ireland have been deceived by the lies, misinformation, dishonesty and lack of information from our so-called leading politicians.”
He doesn’t mince his words and his distaste for the controlling excesses of authority continues unabated: “The purpose of my candidacy is to highlight the frightening new trend of reallocation of decision-making power to independent authorities such as the BCI and ComReg. Elected representatives have run for cover from issues such as this and protected themselves by blaming the unpopular decisions on these quasi non-governmental organizations; such organizations are financed by the government yet act independently of the government. Meanwhile, the politicians pay themselves exaggerated salaries for merely reassigning their power over to non-elected bureaucrats. The time has come for a change in Irish politics and for the reintroduction of truth, decency and justice. The only way to really achieve this is by permanently replacing the corruption and arrogance, which seems to have become the norm of Irish political life, with new, younger and less traditional politicians with new fresh approaches and attitudes toward contemporary issues.”

Strong words, and anybody who would treat his election campaign lightly should be warned that in his last Euro election campaign he gained enough votes to represent Limerick if the numbers were transferred across.

With just one commercially-licensed station available in the Limerick area, one of the largest population centres in the country, Hannan’s anger at the way the radio industry has been subjected to government interference and control shows no signs of dying down, despite the fact that he has now spent 25 years broadcasting to his listenership.

He says: “The existence of the BCI has stunted the growth of the national airwaves by not only restricting the amount of licences issued, but also the manner in which they are issued.”

There is a sense that his election promises are not empty ones, unlike the ones that voters the world over have become all too familiar with.
Gerry says: “It is time to convince the electorate, with actions rather than words, that there is still truth and honesty in Irish politics. I will demonstrate this, if elected, by showing other politicians, by clear example, how to restore faith. I have pledged to donate my salary to pay for the upkeep of Serenity Radio as a free and legal service to the thousands of people who support me. I have no interest in the ‘gravy train’ and by donating my salary I will continue to live my life like the people who have elected me.”

Even if elected, Gerry’s trademark and outspoken late-night show will continue. He plans to use it to educate his constituents on the workings of the Dail, and to communicate directly with them on the issues that matter to them.
He says: “I will consult with them on all matters put before me and will further allow them to have their say on the open airwaves with regard to every single solitary decision I have to make. The entire purpose of my tenure in Dail Éireann will be to act exclusively on behalf of my constituents and the power they bestow on me will be to do their bidding and not my own.”

Love or loathe his show, and anybody who’s heard it certainly has a strong opinion of it, there is no doubt that it has a huge audience of listeners who are not catered for by any other station. Gerry told me a story of a funeral of a listener he attended recently, a woman he had never met, and on the coffin was placed a picture of him and a radio. You sense that it’s moments like those that convince him that his fight is one that is worthy.

RLO on Test as Serenity Licence Bid Denied

An audacious plan to fill the void left following the pre-Christmas raid and closedown of pirate station Radio Limerick One has been denied by ComReg. The idea was to broadcast a new station, Serenity Radio, using multiple ‘readily-available’ WPAS licenses to provide a non-commercial community-based service. These licenses are issued by ComReg for €100 each under a licensing scheme planned to allow the retransmission of religious services and other community events for the benefit of people in local communities throughout the country.

Serenity Radio, to be run by Fr. Joe Young and Gerry Hannan, was denied the licences because the submission made (a sixty page document outlining the plans) was too broad and did not fit the criteria as laid out for securing the licences.

Gerry Hannan, who intends to run in the forthcoming General Election on broadcast issues, says that the refusal came as no surprise to him: “I have been dealing with broadcasting authorities in Ireland now for over a decade and I am convinced that I may as well be talking to a stone wall.”

Fr. Joe Young has also expressed disappointment and bewilderment.
“The application was intended to do something good for the housebound, the elderly and physically and mentally challenged in the region,” he says”

Serenity Radio is no more which means that Gerry Hannon will now go to an alternative plan to restore Radio Limerick One, legally, to the airwaves and confirmed that this can be done in a matter of days.

Gerry explains: “I have washed my hands of illegal broadcasting but will not let my loyal listeners down. I have spent the last month negotiating deals to legally allow the restoration of RLO to the airwaves. I can now confirm that Radio Limerick One is already legally test broadcasting on WiFi Radio and will be relaunched as a full legal service in a few days.”

No licence is required for the service now being proposed and, according to Gerry, this guarantees the uninterrupted future of the station.

RLO have struck a deal with a UK-based company to become a main supplier of low cost WiFi Radio units in Limerick and they will be for sale from his store, Filmdrome in William Street, from this week. He has invited his listeners to call to his store to get full details as to how they can tune into Radio Limerick One.