Downtown Radio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Downtown Radio
DownTown Radio 2013 Logo.png
CityNewtownards
Broadcast areaNorthern Ireland
FrequencyFM: 96.4, 96.6, 97.1, 102.3, 102.4, 103.1, 103.4 MHz
MW: 1026 kHz
DAB: 12D
First air date16 March 1976
FormatHot AC
OwnerBauer Radio
Sister stationsCool FM
Websiteplanetradio.co.uk/downtown/

Downtown Radio is an Adult Contemporary music radio station based in Newtownards, County Down, that serves all of Northern Ireland using a network of FM and AM transmitters.

History[edit]

The station, also known as DTR or simply Downtown, began broadcasting on 16 March 1976 - the same day as Prime Minister Harold Wilson resigned. The station had a mini-scoop, breaking the news over an hour before BBC Radio Ulster.

Downtown Radio has very much become part of the broadcasting landscape of Northern Ireland. Many of its presenters, such as Trevor 'Big T' Campbell and Candy Devine are household names - Campbell and Devine have been with Downtown since it began broadcasting.

Downtown was initially only contracted to broadcast to the Greater Belfast area, on 1026 kHz AM and 96FM (later 97.4 FM). However, following the collapse of plans for a station in the Derry region (Northside Sound) in 1983, Downtown applied to the former Independent Broadcasting Authority to extend its coverage. Transmitters covering the North West, the Causeway Coast and Fermanagh/South Tyrone were opened between 1985 and 1987, and the station briefly rebranded itself as 'DTRFM' to reflect its new audience reach.

The station reverted to Downtown Radio again in 1990 following the introduction of its sister station, Cool FM, although the latter only broadcast on the 97.4 frequency in the Greater Belfast area. Other transmitters remained with Downtown.

New FM transmitters in South Down/Armagh, and Mid and East Antrim opened in the 1990s to improve reception in those areas.

The station has been very highly regarded in the past for its news output, and has been a regular stop-off point for radio journalists covering Northern Ireland's Troubles over 30 years. It was the first radio station in Ireland to offer news bulletins, hourly on the hour. Changes in management made in 2007, as well as the success of the peace process, have led to Downtown reducing its news output somewhat. It is notable for being one of the few Independent Local Radio stations to still cater for minority tastes such as gospel and jazz. The country music programmes broadcast several times a week are among Downtown's highest listenership ratings. In December 2012 Downtown opened a small studio in Derry ahead of the UK City of Culture Year situated in the Food Quarter within Foyleside Shopping Centre. It remains open in use, mainly at the weekend with presenter-led programming on Saturday afternoon and Sunday covering a range of events in the region.

Schedules[edit]

As of May 2019, the schedules for Downtown Radio are as follows:

Mondays to Fridays

  • 6.00am - Downtown Breakfast with Gary and Rachel: The best music and craic to start your day along with the latest news, weather and travel
  • 10.00am - Downtown Years: An hour of classic hits from years gone by with John Kearns
  • 11.00am - Caroline Fleck: Lively mix of news, views, lifestyle, entertainment and music
  • 3.00pm - Downtown Drive: Neal McClelland getting you home with the greatest hits and the latest traffic and travel news
  • 7.00pm - Downtown Country with Big T: The best in American country music through the years (Friday edition hosted by Ken Bruce)
  • 10.00pm - Late Lounge with Paul Orr: Late night greatest hits show
  • 1.00am - All Night Downtown: Playing the best music through the night on Downtown

Saturdays

  • 6.00am - Saturday Breakfast with David Gordon: Wake up with David with all your greatest hits
  • 10.00am - David Coleman: David presents your weekend mid-morning music show
  • 1.00pm - Paul Francis: Great music for your weekend afternoon with Paul Francis live in the North West studio
  • 4.00pm - Kevin McAllister: Best music and chat in Northern Ireland
  • 7.00pm - Saturday Night Country with Ken Bruce: A country start to your Saturday night
  • 10.00pm - Saturday Night 80s with Paul Kennedy: Playing the best 80s music for your Saturday night
  • 1.00am - All Night Downtown: Playing the best music through the night on Downtown

Sundays

  • 6.00am - Downtown Years: John Kearns chooses the best songs from Downtown Day 1 in 1976 to the present day to start your Sunday morning
  • 8.00am - Sunday Morning Reflections: David Gordon hosts this Sunday morning programme with worship music, church news and faith issues
  • 10.00am - Easy Sunday with Kirstie: Kirstie McMurray hosts your easy listening Sunday music show
  • 1.00pm - Paul Francis: Great music for your weekend afternoon with Paul Francis live in the North West studio
  • 4.00pm - Kevin McAllister: Best music and chat in Northern Ireland
  • 6.00pm - Sunday Evening Reflections: Adrian Dempsey hosts the one hour Sunday evening religious show
  • 7.00pm - Big T Keeping It Country: Big T with all the best country music for your Sunday evening
  • 10.00pm - Ireland's Hot 7: Counting down Ireland's hottest top 7 country tracks
  • 10.30pm - Take it Easy with John Rosborough: Radio made for Sunday nights with classic artists and music to end your Sunday[1]
  • 1.00am - All Night Downtown: Playing the best music through the night on Downtown

Frequencies[edit]

  • 1026 kHz: Antrim, Armagh, Ballyclare, Ballymena, Banbridge, Bangor, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Comber, Cookstown, Downpatrick, Dungannon, Lisburn, Lurgan, Maghera, Magherafelt, Newcastle, Newtownards, Portadown, Portaferry
  • 96.4 MHz: Ballycastle, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Dungiven, Limavady, Portrush, Portstewart
  • 96.6 MHz: Dungannon, Enniskillen, Omagh
  • 97.1 MHz: Larne (East Antrim)
  • 102.3 MHz: Antrim, Ballymena, Clough Mills, Magherafelt, Randalstown, Rasharkin, Templepatrick
  • 102.4 MHz: Derry, Strabane
  • 103.1 MHz: Armagh, Newry
  • 103.4 MHz: Newcastle (Mourne)

Notable past presenters[edit]

Past presenters include Eamonn Holmes and Frank Mitchell.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]