Rumours that the future of Carlow’s local radio station, CKR FM, hung in the balance were emphatically denied this week as the station’s Chief Executive Deborah O’Neill claimed that the company was in “great health”.
Concerns over the station’s future were raised earlier in the summer when it was revealed that CKR Ltd. had been struck off the Companies Register for failing to file accounts, thereby depriving it of a legal status. A spokesperson at Companies House in Dublin confirmed that Carlow Kildare Radio Limited was dissolved on June 16, 2000 and he added that the company had not filed annual returns and had been struck off the Companies Register. However, James Morrissey of PR company, Fleishman-Hillard Saunders said that company returns would be filed today (Tuesday) and Ms.O’Neill also denied rumours that CKR, which employs a staff of 18 full time and 10 part time workers, was in financial trouble. We have invested very heavily in Information Technology and broadcasting equipment over the past year and we’re ready to grab the next ten to twenty years by the scruff of the neck,’ she revealed.
Listener figures for the station have also caused concern in the past and recently released Independent Radio and Television Commission figures show that the station holds a market share of 22% and a reach of 37%. Ms. O’Neill, however, says that the station is performing well. “We’ve gone from strength to strength in the past few years and there has been a listener increase of 27% in the last two years. We’re in a growth area, the market is growing all the time and we have managed to hold our position.” Revealing that CKR was the most listened to station in its franchise area, Ms.O’Neill claimed that the station had a weekly reach of 87,000 people and added that it boasted a wide range of specialised programming.
Licensing processes for stations across the country will begin this year and will carry on into 2001 while the re-advertisement of existing radio licences will take place in 2002. Suggestions that CKR’s listener ratings and their present troubles with the Companies Act may complicate the licensing renewal procedure have also been raised, but Ms.O’Neill says that the station is on good terms with the IRTC.