WLR FM

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WLR FM
WLR FM Logo since late 2013.png
Broadcast area Waterford City and County, Ireland
Slogan We Love Waterford!
Frequency 94.8, 95.1, 97.5 FM
First air date Friday 8 September 1989
Format Adult Oriented Pop Music with local news, sports and specialist programmes
Language(s) English, with dedicated Irish Language programme and occasional Irish spoken on other programming
Audience share 48.4%
Sister stations Beat 102 103
Cork's Red FM
Webcast Here
Website wlrfm.com

WLR FM (Waterford Local Radio), licensed since 1989 (WLR had previously been a pirate radio station) by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, is the local radio station covering Waterford City and County. In addition to the official franchise area, the station also enjoys a considerable listenership in South County Kilkenny and East County Cork. WLR FM broadcasts on three frequencies: 95.1 MHz for most of the county (and a low-power transmitter also on 95.1 MHz for Waterford city centre), 97.5 MHz for Waterford city and much of East Waterford, and a low-power transmitter on 94.8 MHz to cover the East Waterford coast.

On Friday 10 October 2012, at the PPI Radio Awards 2012, WLR FM was named Local Station of the Year.[1]

History[edit]

The original WLR, which was a pirate station, launched on 23 June 1978 broadcasting from the garage of Rick Whelan at Killotteran just outside the city. This unlicensed operation was one of the longest lasting in the country and continued for just over a decade until its closure at the end of 1988 - new radio licences were to be awarded by the then IRTC (now BCI) in 1989. WLR, with a number of local businessmen on board formed a consortium to apply for the franchise to broadcast to Waterford city and county. This application had competition from two other applicants, one (Deise Broadcasting Company) involved former pirate ABC Radio and local business people including the Reid family (owners of the well-known 'Egans' licenced premises where ABC was based before its closure), and another application (Waterford Radio/WRFM) which was backed by the then Waterford Foods and The Munster Express newspaper. The IRTC held oral hearings for the Waterford licence at the Tower Hotel in Waterford city on 27 April 1989 where all three applicants presented their case. Shortly afterwards it was announced WLR's consortium was victorious. The licensed WLR FM launched on 8 September 1989 from studios on Georges Street above the Georges Court Shopping Centre in Waterford City. The station broadcast from these studios for many years until the building of the present purpose-built Broadcast Centre, at Ardkeen, Waterford. The station's licence has been unchallenged on subsequent renewals.

The station was 75% owned by Thomas Crosbie Holdings until that company went into receivership in March 2013. The 75% stake was acquired by Landmark Media Investments.[2]

Management Team[edit]

Title Name With station since
Managing Director Des Whelan 1989
Programme Director Billy McCarthy 1989
Operations Manager Michael Byrne 2001
Sales Manager Tim Hassett 2006
Head of News Liz Reddy 1989
Financial Controller Lena Murphy 2009

Schedule[edit]

Weekday Schedule[edit]

Daily Programmes
Time Programme Presenter Day
07:00 - 10:00 The Big Breakfast Blaa Timmy Ryan & Karen Tomkins Monday to Friday
10:00 - 12:00 Déise AM Billy McCarthy (Produced by Jennifer Long) Monday to Friday
12:00 - 15:00 The Lunchbox Ian Noctor & Aoibhin Fallon Monday to Friday
15:00 - 18:00 Drive-Time Oliver Carroll Monday to Friday
Varies - 22:00 Waterford's Biggest Playlist Geoff Harris Monday to Thursday
22:00 - 00:00 Déise AM (Replay) Billy McCarthy (Produced by Jennifer Long) Monday to Thursday
00:00 - 02:00 Déise AM (Replay) Billy McCarthy (Produced by Jennifer Long) Friday
Stand-alone Programmes
18:00 - 19:00 On The Ball Kevin Casey (Reporter: Matt Keane) Monday
18:00 - 19:00 Farmview Kieran O'Connor Thursday
18:00 - 19:00 Gaelic Ground Kevin Casey Friday
19:00 - 22:00 The Friday Night Social Zoe Staunton Friday
22:00 - 00:00 Ultimate Floorfillers Rod Layman Friday

Weekend Schedule[edit]

Saturday Schedule
Time Programme Presenter
07:00 - 07:30 Mar Dhea Míchéal Ó Drisleáin
07:30 - 09:30 Weekend Breakfast Sean Organ
09:30 - 10:00 Farmview (Replay) Kieran O'Connor
10:00 - 12:00 The Saturday Café Maria McCann
12:00 - 13:00 On The Ball Kevin Casey (Reporter: Matt Keane)
13:00 - 16:00 The Saturday Jukebox Geoff Harris
16:00 - 18:00 Here's Ricky Rick Whelan
18:00 - 20:00 School Anthems Karen Tomkins
20:00 - 00:00 Ultimate Floorfillers Rod Layman
00:00 - 02:00 The Green Zone (Replay) Oliver Carroll
Sunday Schedule
07:00 - 07:30 Faith Matters Billy McCarthy
07:30 - 10:00 Weekend Breakfast Sean Organ
10:00 - 12:00 Timmy On Sunday Timmy Ryan
12:00 - 13:00 The Week Maria McCann
13:00 - 16:00 The Weekend Mix Geoff Harris
16:00 - 18:00 Here's Ricky Rick Whelan
18:00 - 20:00 Billy's American Country Show Billy McCarthy
20:00 - 23:00 Guaranteed Irish John O'Shea
23:00 - 01:00 The Green Zone Oliver Carroll
01:00 - 02:00 The Week (Replay) Maria McCann

Studios[edit]

The station have purpose built studios at "The Broadcast Centre", Ardkeen, Waterford City (shared with regional youth station Beat 102 103) and at the Dungarvan studio at The Plaza, Dungarvan Shopping Centre. The Broadcast Centre was opened by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2003 replacing WLR FM's previous studio at Great Georges Street in Waterford City, while the new Dungarvan studio was opened by Head of the BCI Michael O'Keefe (a Dungarvan man) on 10 November 2007 replacing the existing studio at Harbour Bay in the town.[3]

The studios at The Broadcast Centre were revamped in late February and early March 2009, to change to a new playout system, from P Squared, and new microphone and computer monitor stands from Yellowtec.

Notable former presenters[edit]

  • Carrie Crowley – Having worked on WLR in the early 1990s, she went on to compere the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest with Ronan Keating, working on RTÉ Radio and TV and has acted on stage and in film.
  • Tony Weldon - The well known Waterford entertainer from days past was also a presenter on WLR FM for many years, and was known for his catchphrase "get up out of the feathers". His last show, Sunday Morning Melodies, popular with older listeners, ended in 2003. Tributes were paid to him by many WLR FM staff, current and former including Head of Programmes Billy McCarthy and former presenter Eddie Wymberry, as well as by other Waterford entertainers such as Val Doonican when he died on Sunday 29 June 2009.[4]

Market share[edit]

According to the JNLR 2012 National Radio Listenership Survery, WLR FM had an audience reach of 41,000 in Q2 2013.[5]

Technical information[edit]

Outside Broadcasting[edit]

WLR FM has an outside broadcast unit known as the "Blastercaster". For indoor outside broadcasts they have a fold-up OB desk equipped with an internet connected laptop (allowing access to email and text messaging in addition to IM), an audio mixer, ISDN equipment, wireless microphones (and other assorted mics). Using the outside broadcast unit or the indoor OB equipment, the live feed from the OB is sent back to the studio via a high speed ISDN telephone line.

External links[edit]

References[edit]