|Broadcast area||Waterford City and County, Ireland|
|Slogan||We Are WLR|
|Frequency||95.1fm / 97.5fm / 94.8fm|
|First air date||Sept 8th, 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|
|Owner||The Irish Times / Des Whelan|
|Sister stations||Beat 102 103 |
Cork's Red FM
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. On September 1st, 2018 WLR launched a new Country and Irish digital radio station called Absolute Irish Radio
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.
Senior Management Team
|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|
|Managing Director||Des Whelan|
|Programme Director||Michael Byrne|
|News Editor||Liz Reddy|
|Current Affairs Editor||Jennifer Long|
|Head of Online Content||Teresanne O'Reilly|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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.
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bob Houston RIP
- Eddie Wymberry RIP (2018)
- Dermot Graham RIP
- 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
According to the JNLR 2018-1 National Radio Listenership Survey, WLR FM had an weekly audience reach of 64,000 in Q1 2018.
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.
- "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]
- "WLR FM Dungarvan is on the move!". The Munster Express. Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
- Clancy, Michelle (2009-07-03). "Sad passing of broadcasting legend". Munster Express. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
- 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
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.