Sunday 18 February 2018

It might be uncool but it's still classic

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

THE problem with music radio is that they hardly ever play what I want them to play.

It's usually wall-to-wall chart pap or over-produced R&B wailing or nauseating ballads or whatever. Which is why I'm already smitten with new Dublin station Radio Nova. Only launched yesterday, with a broadcast from O'Connell Bridge, it already occupies a treasured spot on the dial (that's 100FM, by the by).

They play classic rock, all day, every day. Sounds a bit basic, maybe, but that's what fans like about classic rock: it's uncomplicated, unpretentious and undemanding. It's meat-and-two-veg music, straight-down-the-line music, one-two-three-four, cue-the-guitar-riff music. You either love it or you don't; ergo, you'll love Nova or you won't.

Personally, they had me with the opening salvo of AC/DC, Free and Blur. And five songs in, with Boston and Bon Jovi having joined the party, I was completely hooked.

Sure, classic rock is a bit uncool. Sure, a station devoted to this music seems vaguely reminiscent of Harry Enfield's Smashie and Nicey. Sure, there are trendier, edgier music shows and hipper broadcasters out there. Who cares? Like I said, you love to rock out or you don't, and coolness be damned.

And despite launching into a tough environment, I think a surprising number of people will choose to make Nova a success. First there's the name: the same as the fondly remembered pirate of the 1980s. And Ireland has a big population of 25-to 54-year-olds who are extremely nostalgic about their youth, their past.

Nova is like someone opening a door to that past and giving you a blast of its soundtrack. In fact, it's better than the past ever was: here, all you're getting are the best bits. Honestly, it was like they had beamed into my head, assembled my ultimate playlist from the memories floating around in there and then broadcast it live.


There are a few criticisms. It would be nice, for once, to see an Irish music station recognise that 50pc of the population is female; I count two women presenters out of about 20. And they cheekily opened the news bulletin with their own launch, announcing it like it was the biggest story since man landed on the moon.

But we'll forgive them that. To be honest, once you hear the first few bars of 'Sweet Child O' Mine', you'd be in the mood to forgive almost anything.

We who are about to rock salute you, Nova.

Irish Independent

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