WLR FM

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WLR FM Logo since late 2013.png
CityWaterford
Broadcast areaWaterford City and County, Ireland
SloganWe Are WLR
Frequency95.1fm / 97.5fm / 94.8fm
First air dateSept 8th, 1989
FormatAdult 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
OwnerThe Irish Times / Des Whelan
Sister stationsBeat 102 103
Cork's Red FM
Webcasthttps://www.wlrfm.com/player/?playerID=955
Websitewlrfm.com [1]

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] On September 1st, 2018 WLR launched a new Country and Irish digital radio station called Absolute Irish Radio

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' licensed 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]

In December 2017, a sale of the 75% stake was agreed to The Irish Times [3] pending regulatory approval. In July 2018, the sale of the station to The Irish Times was complete. [4][5]

Senior Management Team[edit]

Title Name With station since
Managing Director Des Whelan 1989
Programme Director Michael Byrne 2001
Financial Director Lena Murphy 2009
Sales Director Neil Gough 2016

Operations Team[edit]

Title Name
Managing Director Des Whelan
Programme Director Michael Byrne
News Editor Liz Reddy
Current Affairs Editor Jennifer Long
Head of Online Content Teresanne O'Reilly

Schedule[edit]

Weekday Schedule[edit]

Daily Programmes
Time Programme Presenter Day
06:00 - 10:00 The Big Breakfast Blaa Oliver Carroll & Mary O'Neill Monday to Friday
10:00 - 12:00 Déise Today Eamon Keane (Produced by Jennifer Long) Monday to Friday
12:00 - 15:00 The Lunchbox Geoff Harris Monday to Friday
15:00 - 18:00 Drive-Home Teresanne O'Reilly Monday to Friday
19:00 - 22:00 The Shift Ray Colclough Monday to Thursday
22:00 - 00:00 The Late Show John O'Shea Monday to Thursday
19:00 - 22:00 The Social Network Rachael O'Shea Friday
22:00 - 00:00 The Green Scene Zoe Staunton Friday
00:00 - 02:00 Déise Today (Replay) Eamon Keane (Produced by Jennifer Long) Friday
Stand-alone Programmes
18:00 - 19:00 On The Ball Gavin Whelan Monday
18:00 - 19:00 On The Fringe Mary O'Neill Tuesday
18:00 - 19:00 The Hot Desk Julie Smyth Wednesday
18:00 - 19:00 Farmview Kieran O'Connor Thursday
18:00 - 19:00 Lar Na Pairce Tomas McCarthy Friday

Weekend Schedule[edit]

Saturday Schedule
Time Programme Presenter
07:00 - 09:30 Saturday Sunrise Seán Organ
09:30 - 10:00 Farmview (Replay) Kieran O'Connor
10:00 - 12:00 The Saturday Show Dermot Keyes
12:00 - 15:00 The Saturday Jukebox Geoff Harris
15:00 - 18:00 Rock N Roll Sport Timmy Ryan
18:00 - 21:00 Here's Ricky Rick Whelan
21:00 - 00:00 Totally 80s Mojo Murphy
00:00 - 02:00 The Green Scene (Replay) Zoe Staunton
Sunday Schedule
07:00 - 10:00 Sunday Sunrise Seán Organ
10:00 - 12:00 Timmy On Sunday Timmy Ryan
12:00 - 13:00 The Week Maria McCann
13:00 - 16:00 The Weekend Jukebox Aoibhin Fallon
16:00 - 19:00 Here's Ricky Rick Whelan
19:00 - 21:00 Catch-up / Mar Dhea Oliver Carroll / Michael Drislane
21:00 - 00:00 Absolute Irish John O'Shea
00:00 - 01:00 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.[6]

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 (RIP)[edit]

  • Tony Weldon RIP (2009) - 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.[7]
  • Billy McCarthy RIP (2016)- Known as "The Voice of Waterford" who first presented “The Good News Programme” on Saturday mornings on the then WLR pirate station from 1983 to 1988. On obtaining a licence, Billy took over Deise AM from 10am-midday in December 1989. Billy was also Programme Director of WLR from 1989 to 2014. In 2003 he won a PPI Radio Award for Best Current Affairs Programme. He died on November 20, 2016 at the age of 62 after a short illness.[8]
  • Kevin Casey RIP (2017)- A sports editor known for presenting the sports shows "On The Ball" and "Gaelic Ground". He was originally from Glenflesk, Killarney, County Kerry. He has been honoured many times for his work in sport with WLR FM winning a GAA MacNamee award in 2010 for his programme which celebrated the jubilee of Waterford's All Ireland win in 1959. In October 2016, he won a PPI National Radio Award for his programme. He died on January 3, 2017 at the age of 40 after a short illness.[9]
  • Bob Houston RIP
  • Eddie Wymberry RIP (2018)
  • Dermot Graham RIP

Alumni[edit]

  • Paul Renyolds -RTÉ News and Current Affairs
  • Carrie Crowley -RTÉ TV
  • Ian Noctor -RTE Radio / Today FM / TV3
  • Paul Byrne -CEO of Radio Kerry
  • Paul Collins -Today FM Sport
  • Shay Searson -Tipp FM Production
  • Zara King -TV3 News and Current Affairs
  • Lisa Dignam -RTE Radio
  • Gabrielle Cummins -CEO of BEAT FM
  • Andy McCloskey - BEAT 102103 Drive
  • Cephas Power - BA, LLB
  • Julian Walton - Historian
  • Mark Graham - King Kong Company
  • Dermot Keyes - Munster Express Editor

Market share[edit]

According to the JNLR 2018-1 National Radio Listenership Survey, WLR FM had an weekly audience reach of 64,000 in Q1 2018.[10]

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WLRfm is chosen as Local Radio Station of the year- for outstanding achievement in broadcasting". WLR FM Website. 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2009-10-03.[dead link]
  2. ^ http://www.rte.ie/news/business/2013/0306/374490-thomas-crosbie-holdings/
  3. ^ http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/the-irish-times-to-acquire-landmark-media-business-817451.html
  4. ^ https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2018/0710/977737-irish-times-completes-purchase-of-irish-examiner/
  5. ^ https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/business/irish-times-complete-purchase-of-landmark-media-pledge-to-protect-identity-and-independence-of-titles-854228.html
  6. ^ "WLR FM Dungarvan is on the move!". The Munster Express. Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  7. ^ Clancy, Michelle (2009-07-03). "Sad passing of broadcasting legend". Munster Express. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20161121115935/http://www.wlrfm.com/shows/4-deise-am-with-billy-mccarthy/4375-wlr-fm-announces-the-death-of-waterford-s-favourite-broadcaster-billy-mccarthy.html. Archived from the original on 21 November 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  10. ^ http://www.wlrfm.com/2018/04/26/54576/

External links[edit]