Saturday, November 29, 2008

RTE Digital.

RTE's new Digital stations officially come online Monday. They are 2XM, Choice, Chill, Gold and Junior.

It's a pity that neither All80s or Mocha will continue on the platform. I heard the man behind those two stations, Dusty Rhodes, speaking yesterday on RTE Radio 1's Morning Ireland discussing the future of Digital Radio in Ireland. Dusty is passionate about the future of the platform here and I can only agree with what he says (well, the bits that I understand anyway)!

His latest Blog entry talks about how commercial stations are still waiting on legislation allowing them to continue on DAB. It's an interesting read:

Friday, November 28, 2008

NewsTalk News.

You may have already heard that NewsTalk and Today FM are to merge their news departments (now that they share the same building). Well, word reaches this Blog today that the Late Night Live show is set to be replaced by a re-run of the morning's Breakfast Show. Breakfast is currently repeated after midnight and this change would mean that live programming would then end at 10pm!
On another note after a really weird week on radio in Ireland, Dublin's 98 have parted company with their Morning Crew producer.
I'm going to lie down now...

Can It Be True??

How many presenters have laughed and sniggered at it?
How many of us have said "Oh I can't believe he's in it again"? and how many have pretended not to be interested in it at all? many have devoured all of the pictures and the features of new presenters and station launches and the annual awards for programming and presentation?

Well, if the rumour is true , then it's the end of the road for Xtrax Magazine.

Oh no, I hear you cry.
Hey, I'm actually a bit put out by this because I for one actually enjoyed the magazine. OK, I never used the prep with it's 'This day in History' type info...but the photos were great and it was nice to see a glossy, top notch industry magazine. It even included Ireland in it's pages - that was nice.
So, it looks like a Goodbye to Xtrax...unless the rumours have got it all wrong.

I'll miss the funky covers too.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

NY Times: 'Can Radio Save Itself' ?

There are a lot of frightened people in the US radio industry these days. Talk is of Satellite failing, distracted listeners and ad agencies pulling back on their spend..
New York Times article says: "Even though the audience for broadcast radio is actually growing, stations cannot seem to increase their revenue."
So audience figures remain the same or increase, yet the advertisers are pulling back.
According to Times reporter Stephanie Clifford, since consolidation radio companies "started to fight for share instead of being proactive and thinking of new ways to generate revenue."
The story continues, "There are some signs of hope, though," as RADAR figures show that radio reaches 235 million listeners a week, up from 232 million a year ago, and to the relative success of smaller-market stations".

Full article here:

It's Christmas Tomorrow!

Dublin's temp seasonal station Christmas FM goes live tomorrow (Friday).
The 'live' feed is still on and off, but is expected to be fully functional come the launch.
Oh and word has it that Welsh 80s Rock type man, Shakin' Stevens will get proceeding underway. No doubt we'll be hearing his version of 'Merry Christmas Everyone' a few times!
Good luck to Garv Rigby and the team with this worthwhile venture - proceeds going to the ISPCC.

Just to get you in the mood, heeeeeere's Shaky:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

American Satellite Radio Dead?

In his Blog, 'Technology Thinker' Mike Elgan says that US Satellite Radio will not survive.

Satellite radio depends almost entirely on subscription revenue. The biggest source of new subscribers has been new-car buyers. Unfortunately, the downturn has not only radically cut car sales, but is reducing the percentage of new cars that have the fancy satellite radio upgrade....
One advantage Sirius has is Howard Stern. But Stern is also a disadvantage because he gets paid $100 million per year. As the Sirius ship starts to sink, and the board starts looking for cargo to throw overboard, Stern and his giant salary will be the first to go...

The ugly truth is that satellite is simply an obsolete way to deliver sound. It's nothing more than an insanely expensive, limited, proprietary content delivery system that increasingly competes head-to-head against the Internet itself. The monopoly that provides satellite radio is billions in debt, with no way to pay off that debt and a looming recession characterized by dramatic slowdowns in consumer spending....

Full article here:

Steven Cooper.

Best wishes to Steven Cooper, who hung up his headphones yesterday after two and a half years at Dublin's Q102.
I first met Steven when he was known as Elvis O'Brien on Atlantic 252.
We'll be hearing from you soon, eh Elvis?
Cooper and his adoring public !

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Q.

Expect a new logo and image for Dublin's Q102 very soon.
This will be gone :

To be replaced by something a bit more 'Dublin...'

And best wishes to my mate Marty Miller where ever he decides to work next. A real original.
The thing I like about Marty is the fact that he makes radio seem so damn easy. Sure all he does is play some music, crack a few gags and mess...right? Well, that's the beauty of experience married with talent - making it look and sound easy is the toughest job of the lot. When you hear a presenter like Marty doing his thing you know you are hearing a person that has worked incredibly hard and knows his craft inside out. His instinct for great radio is a natural gift and his spark and drive have always delivered on air.
He's tight, funny, unpredictable, creative and always prepped.
It ain't that easy to do...he just makes it sound that way.

Bubba the Love Sponge.

American radio original, Bubba The Love Sponge has been added to several new terrestrial US markets to go along with his gig on Sirius satellite radio.
Stations spicking up 'The Sponge' include 93 Rock in Miami, Y101 Richmond, WHTQ Orlando and 96 K-Rock in Naples Florida. The show comes from WHPT in Tampa.
These stations go live with the show first week of January.

Who is Bubba the Love Sponge?
Well, like any self respecting 'shock jock', he's been fined by the FCC ,sued by a guest, arrested and won national awards (of course)!
Good website here: ain't for the easily offended though. Lotta language and 'adult'themes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The i Family.

i105107's website went live at 7:30pm Monday and included this little clip from the team in Athlone 'serenading' their Galway sister station...cheers up lads, will ya???

Wogan to replace Ross?

This from yesterday's Mail On Sunday:
Sir Terry Wogan is being lined up to take over Jonathan Ross’s Saturday morning Radio 2 show, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
BBC sources said yesterday that high-level discussions have taken place that will lead to Ross being ‘phased out’ of presenting the programme in favour of Sir Terry.
One of the major reasons is that Ross, 48, is unlikely to be allowed to broadcast live when he returns to the Corporation on January 24 after his 12-week suspension.

According to one respected BBC presenter, he will be so heavily policed that radio broadcasting will cease to be a ‘pleasure’ for him.
The radical plan, part of wider scheduling changes at Radio 2, will see Sir Terry give up his weekday show to host Ross’s three-hour Saturday slot. It is understood the70-year-old veteran will be offered a Sunday morning programme as well, if he wants it.
The BBC insider said: ‘Jonathan Ross is going to be phased out. This has been discussed at high levels within the BBC. There is a lot of anger towards him at Radio 2. Presenter Jeremy Vine is on record as saying he cannot see how he’ll ever come back. Others feel the same.

i105107 Launch Today.

Today's the big day! The launch of the new station for the North East - i105107.
The Radisson hotel in Athlone will host the huge launch party. Proceedings kick off at 7pm with Tommy and Hector doing their thing for the invited audience and then the 'live' button will be hit at 8pm...and away they go!
Good luck to Dan and Deborah and all of the jocks, production and music people involved. It's been a long time coming, but no doubt will be worth the wait.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Smoking Gun emails.

In case you missed them during the week, hereare some of the emails between BBC staff leading up to the SachsGate' affair...!

Thursday 16 October
(Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross have left the offensive messages on Andrew Sachs' voicemail and the producer of Brand's Radio 2 show, Nic Philps, has heard a recording of them).
From Nic Philps to Dave Barber (Radio 2 head of compliance):
Could I have a chat with you at some point today re Russell's pre-record?

By now Philps has phoned Andrew Sachs (the exact time of the call is unclear). According to the BBC Trust report into the affair, published today, Sachs "was prepared to accept that it was possible the producer [had] taken away the view that his consent had been obtained and that the future appearance was in addition to the transmission of the existing material, but in his view that would, at best, have been 'wishful thinking'."

From Nic Philps to Dave Barber:
The first hour of the programme is here [hyperlink]
Scroll through to the phone call at 52 mins in. Russell and Jonathan call Manuel's answerphone ... (Andrew Sachs AKA Manuel is aware of it and happy - I spoke to him afterwards). The problem comes when Jonathan says that Russell 'f*cked' Sachs' granddaughter ... I would say take it out, but it forms the crux of the call and is VERY funny. In the second hour of the show, they go on to call the answerphone back about three times to apologise and it makes for some brilliantly funny radio ... Let me know what you think! Russ and Jonathan both VERY keen for it to go out.

Barber has "listened to the identified section of the programme twice and then rang [Philps] who confirmed that he believed that Andrew Sachs was content for the calls to be broadcast".
From Dave Barber to Lesley Douglas (Radio 2 controller):
Russell is pre recorded this week with Jonathan Ross as his co-host.
Jonathan uses the f-word 52 mins into the first hour in a sequence about Russell 'f******' Andrew Sachs granddaughter. They are speaking into Sachs's answer machine at the time, and it's very funny - there then follow more calls to the answerphone in the 2nd hour, again v funny.
Having discussed it with [Philps] and listened to the sequence, I think we should keep in and put a 'strong language' warning at the top of the hour. I think it's editorially justified in this context and certainly within audience expectations for Russell's show and the slot. Certainly preferable to bleeping, which would make it obvious anyway (and we don't bleep now for this reason). Jonathan also apologises and Russell's shocked reaction is hilarious.
Andrew Sachs is aware and is happy with the results which were recorded his end for him to hear). Are you happy with this as a plan of action?

Friday 17 October
From Lesley Douglas to Dave Barber:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Announcement: New Service Coming Soon.

BmacMedia will launch a new service very soon, which will enable Programme Directors and Talent Coaches to save time airchecking their talent.
This simple and inexpensive initiative will make life easier for PDs/Coaches while benefiting the talent and overall station sound.
Free up your time.
Aircheck consistently.
Maintain control.
For a sneak peak at how this will save you time and effort, contact:

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Boss Is Back!

Back in the mid 60s, a brand new format and a whole new style of presentation came on the air in Los Angeles. It was a style that was to go on and influence the Pirate ships broadcasting to the UK as well as a huge number of stations in later years (wherever CHR was sold)!
It was called Boss Radio.
Tight links, loud and energetic jocks and just the hits.

Some of the legendary guys from that era include The Real Don Steele and Robert W. Morgan. Steele was to become the best known voice of the Boss format and is seen by many as the template for the early CHR presentation style: tight, energetic and individual.
Well, Boss Radio is back...KHJ is online now at

Broadcasting from Boss Angeles, I took a listen to the streaming feed for an hour or so and heard the massive 60s and 70s hits that made the station famous...but for some reason they also included 50s songs. The 50s was never a part of Boss Radio...but we'll see how that works.
No live jocks yet though - that would be the business !

This clip is Robert W. Morgan on KHJ. Sounds corny now, but back in the day, this was awesome.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mike Read goes to Star.

Former BBC Radio 1 'DJ', Mike Read is to host a new mid morning show on Gloucestershire station Star 107.5FM...which will also be simulcast on Big L (where he has been for the past few years).
A lot of people still remember the TV documentary set in Big L, which was on our screens last year. It showed Mike, David Hamilton and the other Big L presenters living together in the radio station (it broadcasts from a large house in Frinton On Sea).
It was...shall we say, an unusual programme in that they all seemed to be re-living a scene from a pirate radio station in the 60s or 70s.
Big L now broadcast online only.
Here's a nice clip highlighting Mike at work...make up your own mind.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Robbie Robinson.

Glad to hear my old boss at Sunshine 101 is on the mend after his heart bypass surgery and is back at home in the Canary Islands. A lot of folk will know him better as Robbie Dale from his Radio Caroline days...but I'll always know him as Mister Robinson Coo Coo Ca Chew (The Very Generous General Manager)!!

Robbie told the story recently of how last year the late Chris Cary called him asking if he would be interested in setting up a station in the Canaries. Robbie thought, "That could be fun". The thought ended abruptly though when Stella (Robbie's wife) got wind of it. Two words put the brakes on the venture - they were "No" and "Way"!!

Get well soon Robbie.

Where are they now? - Dickie Bow.

I first met the man they called Dickie Bow, in Atlantic 252 back in the mid-90's. It was during one of my returns to Ireland from Canada. At that stage, Dickie had come off mornings and was presenting his own evening show on the station. He was a friendly, inclusive and very warm personality who made me feel very much at home. Always the sign of a class act at any radio station.

After leaving Atlantic, I guess most people presumed he would up sticks and head back to The UK. But no. The next stop on his travels was to Tipp FM in Ireland.

If you are in Limerick these days you will hear now his tones on Live95.
But you won't hear the name Dickie Bow mentioned - have the days of crazy radio DJ names gone? Yeah, probably. It was all very much of it's time wasn't it.
Dickie hosts the breakfast show now under the name Mark Whelan. The show is Mark and Catriona In The Morning.
The last time I saw Mark was at a PPI Awards night and it was just like meeting an old friend again. He was the same warm and welcoming guy I remembered and he seemed to be really enjoying his work and life in Limerick.
Check the show out on
You'll hear what all of those years of training and learning can do. Mark is a natural behind the mic, but I also know he works very hard at his craft.
His style is fun, informative and cheeky. He appeals to both Male and Female listeners (no easy thing) and I believe it's down to the fact that he comes across as real and sincere, no matter what he is talking about.
One of the good ones (as they say)!!
Clip of Mark (then Dickie) in his old A252 days:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas FM Update.

Dublin's specialist Festive station comes on air on the 28th of this month, running straight through to Stephens' Day. Freq is 88.9.
The man behind this worthwhile project is Garvan Rigby and he has secured some big names from across the pond to help out on air with inserts and content - you may be surprised at who they have set up!
Oh, and I say worthwhile because part of the reason behind the station is to raise funds for their charity partner, the ISPCC.

Monday, November 17, 2008

When The Guest Takes Over !!

This is Gene Simmons from KISS on air with Mark & Mercedes In The Morning on Mix 94.1 in Las Vegas.
Like him or not - he's good radio!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ace & TJ make promos !

Now this is how Promos should be made....!
(You've got to click the link YouTube available).
Ace & TJ are syndicated out of Charlotte NC to eight stations across the US South.
Originating station is WNKS - KISS 95.1

Ross Fill-In.

Nice to see BBC Radio 2 are making an effort and putting some thought into filling the Saturday morning gig while waiting for 'Wossy' to come back on air.
Zoe Ball and Danny Baker will co-present four of the shows starting next Saturday.
Baker was back on 5Live during the Summer hosting some special '606' phone-in shows.
The combination of the two will be good to hear and it's a sign that 'event radio' is very much the way to go.
Ross is back on air on January 24th.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

i105107 Launch Date.

Contrary to popular rumour (and very popular it was too)! - the new station for the North East will not go on air this Monday.
The launch date is set for Monday 24th at 8pm.
I had a sneaky listen to some of the breakfast show audio and there's a comedy piece involving Louis Walsh, Brian Cowan and Ray D'arcy that will be a regular feature. Nicely put together.
Brekkie show is 'Bernard and Keith'.
Another week or so to wait....

Friday, November 14, 2008


Congrats to stations and presenters on the latest JNLR ratings book.
Some highlights:

FM104 Dublin: MS 13.8 (Up o.1)
Dublins 98: MS 12.2% (Same)
Q102: MS 6.9% (Up 0.1)
Spin 1038: MS 6.6% (Up 0.4)
Country Mix: MS 2.8% (Up 0.3)
Phantom 105.2: MS 1.5% (Up 0.2)

Spin SouthWest went Up 1.5 to 9.8
i102104 are Up 3.6 to 5.2
Beat 102-103 hit 11.2. Slight increase of 0.1

In Cork, 96 dropped 1.3 to 35.9
Red FM went up half a point to 11.3 and
C103 dropped slightly to 12.7

Live 95 fell 3.0 to 58
Clare FM UP 4.0 to 43 and
Highland Up 2.0 to 66 (!)

Nationally, Lyric rose 1.0, but 2FM, Radio 1, NewsTalk and Today FM remained unchanged.


Valerie Geller.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday in Limerick attending a radio conference. The speaker was one of my radio heroes - Valerie Geller.
To my mind, Valerie is one of the world's greatest radio thinkers. Her passion for radio is completely genuine and her knowledge on what makes radio incredible is awesome.

This Monday's BmacMedia Ezine will have more detail on some of the points she made that will interest you, as a radio presenter.
To sign up for the FREE Ezine, just email me and I'll put you on the list.

Meantime, I would very strongly advise grabbing a copy of Valerie's book 'Creating Powerful Radio'. You can't go wrong with it...and I mean that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Famous Dublin Store to Close.

I received this notice today from the folks at Abbey Discs in Dublin:

"It is with sad regret that ABBEY DISCS Record Shop will be closing it's doors on the 25th of November for the last time, after 25 years in the music business.
From the early days in the ABBEY MALL (if you're old enough you'll remember), to where we had been for for the last 12 years in Liffey Street, all the staff from ABBEY DISCS past and present *especially Billy* would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for the custom and support over the last quarter century.
We are at present having a massive clearance sale (ideal for Christmas presents and nostalgia). So come on in while stocks last!
Again, we would like to thank everybody for their support and we hope to be back in the New Year doing what we do best - selling record breaking records!
So watch this space !

On a personal note, I remember shuffling through the 12" singles in Abbey Mall, getting music together for my gig on DCR back in the early 80's. The amount of club and radio jocks you would meet in the shop was incredible. Great place. Good luck to the guys in the New Year.

Monday, November 10, 2008

So long to a great station.

I've been lucky enough in my career to work for some really amazing stations in Ireland, The UK and Canada. One of these stations is CISL based in Vancouver. I had two stints with this fantastic Oldies outlet doing weekends, middays and evenings. It was quite the ride there and I loved every minute of it.
CISL began as 940CISL, then moved down the dial to 650AM.

One of the reasons I took a gig there in the first place was the lure of working alongside Canadian radio God and Rock'n'Roll Hall of Famer, Red Robinson. It's not often you get to sit alongside and learn from a man who has interviewed Elvis and The Beatles.
Red Robinson.
What an awesome experience.
Then there is Gerry O'Day. Gerry is PD and Morning Man at CISL and is a living, breathing radio machine.
Gerry O'Day.
My second time at CISL saw the introduction of 'Oldies Radio' in the title when the station broadcast to Edmonton as well asVancouver. The signal was heard as far south as Sacramento California and east to the Canadian Prairies. Quite the footprint!

Today, 650CISL signed off for the last time and has been re-born as 'AM650 - All Time Favourites'.
The change has come about with the closure of cross town rival 'AM600'. '600 played Adult Standards and was incredibly popular (considering the AM quality). CISL saw the opportunity to add to their listener base by taking 600's format and incorporating it into their own.

I had the honour today of being part of the final Morning show on CISL when I went on air with Gerry during his Morning Show.
Thanks for that Gerry and best wishes to all at Horseshoe Way.

So long CISL...and thanks for the memories.

Tommy and Hector.

There are very few 'must listen' shows on radio these days. You know, shows that just suck you in and keep you with them due to their creativity and spontanaiety..

One show that I always try and make a point of catching is Tommy and Hector on i102104 from Galway.
I just love Tommy Tiernan, always have. He just doesn't give a's seat of your pants stuff. Anyone who has ever seen his live stand-up show will know what I mean. The man is a genius.
Hector O'hEochagain is a live wire. He's like the kid that shouldn't have been allowed to eat the red Skittles! Hyperactive and loud. What a combination these two are...and they're in a studio together every Friday!!

Tommy ended up with the radio gig after announcing on RTE TV's Late Late Show that radio was something he always wanted to get involved in. Dan Healy, CEO of iRadio saw the interview and thought 'Hey, now that would be mad to get him on our station'. So Dan got in touch and away they went. What a piece of inspired programming.
Putting comedians behind a mic doesn't always work - when it does, it really does!
I'm wondering are they going to network the show on i105107 when it comes on air in a few days...?

Catch Tommy and Hector every Friday at 4pm on
Watch the lads in action:

Bruce says Bye.

BBC Radio 2 are preparing themselves to say Goodbye to veteran mid-morning presenter Ken Bruce.
He is preparing to step down from his show and word has it that his replacement will be 5Live and ex-Radio 1 'DJ' Simon Mayo.

Mayo is very visible in the Beeb with his daily afternoon show and Simon Mayo Book Club. He sounds like a decent man to fill the boots of Bruce.
Don't worry though, we're getting plenty of notice- the change isn't due to happen until 2011 !

Now that's what I call working out your notice.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ireland could get full iPlayer.

Mark Huggers, The BBC's Director of Future Media and Technology, has said that he wants to see the BBC iPlayer go global.
This is great news, as it means that in Ireland we would be able to access all of the features on the Player that are blocked to us now.
You can access the radio feeds and listen again to audio in this country, which of course is great. The chance to use the TV sections as well though, would be a real bonus.
Speaking at a Screen Digest conference he also spoke about using the BBC website in a more interactive way:
"I know that is the third biggest web property in the country, yet every time I go there I feel completely alone. Instinctively, I know there are other people on the site so the idea is connecting audiences with programming and with each other, embracing that big theme of social media".

It's beginning to look a lot like...

With Ireland's first festive station coming to FM at the end of this month (Christmas FM in Dublin), I thought it interesting to take a look at stations in the US that have already flipped to Santa Songs.
(Info from R&R).

- Capital smooth jazz KBZN/Salt Lake City
- Wilks AC KCKC (Star 102.1)/Kansas City
- Entercom AC KUDL/Kansas City- CBS oldies WODS (Oldies 103.3)/Boston- Greater Media classic hits WROR/Boston- Clear Channel oldies WWBB (B101)/Providence- Clear Channel AC WNIC/Detroit- Clear Channel AC KSOF/Fresno
- Regent AC WLHT (Lite Rock 95.7)/Grand Rapids- Clear Channel AC WOOD-FM (Star 105.7)/Grand Rapids- Greater Media AC WNUW (Now 97.5)/Philadelphia- Bonneville's WMVN/St. Louis- Clear Channel adult hits WRIT (My 95-7)/Milwaukee
- Entercom hot AC WMYX/Milwaukee
- SMAHH oldies KEGK (Eagle 106.9)/Fargo, N.D.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Those darn kids.

New report by Paragon says that 14-24 year olds are listening to radio more than in the recent past.
Could it be true?
Are they shunning their iPods and MP3s and tuning into FM/Digital/Satellite?
Full article (in PDF) at this URL:

Russell of the Caribbean.

Poor old Russell that he has no radio gig, how is he going to make a living?

I know - as 'Jonathan', Captain Jack Sparrow's younger brother in the next 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie.
That's what Disney are hoping for anyway.

That would be the business - Depp and Brand! You can onnnnnnly imagine.

i Test.

i105107 are testing out their frequencies and playing around with noises (and doing whtever technical people do - I have no clue)!
If you're in these locales, then have a listen why don'cha?
Saggart 104.7, Cavan 104.8, Mt.Oriel 105, Athlone 105.6, Birr 105.6, Dundalk 106.2, Capard 106.2, Drogheda 106.2, Monaghan 106.7