New bosses predict a bright future for West Limerick community radio

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

THE NEW managers of Ireland’s largest community radio station, West Limerick 102FM, have said that they hope that evolution, not revolution, will be the watchwords of their tenure.

THE NEW managers of Ireland’s largest community radio station, West Limerick 102FM, have said that they hope that evolution, not revolution, will be the watchwords of their tenure.

Connie Broderick and Joe McGill have been appointed dual managers of the Newcastle West-based station, and have already embarked on an overhaul of the station’s weekly schedule and training programmes.

The pair previously worked at the station as volunteers before jointly forming their own company, Keeshla Communications, which specialises in marketing, multimedia and production.

Mr McGill, a native of Portmagee in Kerry, said that the lifeblood of the station will remain its community volunteers. “We’re welcoming people from all different community backgrounds. We want to reflect West Limerick. We’re introducing new shows, for example we want to bring in one that will feature people from different communities and ethnic backgrounds.

“We’ve training courses every Tuesday and Thursday, so now anyone who’s coming in will have a certain skill set.”

Mr Broderick, who is a native of Mountcollins, said that after recent bouts of cost-cutting at the station, West Limerick 102FM now has a stable platform as it begins a new ten-year broadcasting term.

“We’re always looking to try and cut more. We’re looking into several things - phones are always a concern. Also, with the three studios, we might look at getting rid of the ISDN lines and using an IP system instead.

“We’re excited about the changes to the schedule. One of the main things we want to see is continuity. We want people to be able to turn on the radio at 4pm and know what’s coming up each day.”

Part of the revisions to the station’s operations, which were included in the terms of its licence renewal by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), is that more of West Limerick 102’s schedule should be devolved to its satellite stations in Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale.

Mr Broderick said that the station will take this as an opportunity to further widen the scope of its broadcasts, to include outside shows and packages which will place a “spotlight” on small, quiet corners of West Limerick.

Mr Broderick said that the station will be introducing more discussion programming, as well as well as once-off documentary programs.

At present, the station has three paid staff, two Tús scheme workers and one FAS worker supplementing the efforts of a growing panel of over 60 volunteers.