Sunday 10 December 2017

Shared programming is the only viable option – Coast FM

Coast FM believes a stand alone radio station is not viable in the North West.

In its detailed 255 page submission to the BAI, Coast FM point out the area is one of the smallest in the country.

The stand-alone model has failed with shared programming and resources the only way forward, it says.

Coast FM, if its gets the licence, intends sharing programmes with Mid West Radio.

It says such syndicating of programmes will only occur in "areas of mutual interest and where we know it will add to the relevance and appeal of radio listeners in the North West."

It pointed out that between 1990 and 2004 North West Radio operated the licence based on an arrangement with Mid West Radio.

This included sharing a number of programme and administration services.

The submission adds that a shared programming arrangement has historically proven to be significantly more popular than "a complete stand alone model."

Coast FM has earmarked a three storey 15,000 square feet commercial premises at Finisklin Industrial Estate as its Sligo studio.

It plans to locate another one about 2k from Donegal town.

Coast FM say its application paints "a bleak but true picture of the local radio landscape" in the North West today.

It claims market share levels have slumped from an average of 51% in 2003 to 29% in 2013, the lowest in the country.

It also says the 'Yesterday Listened' averages dropped from 68% at its peak in 2003 to 49% at present.

Coast FM further claims cumulative profits of €970,000 at North West Radio have been replaced by cumulative losses of €765,300 at Ocean FM.

They say €604,000 of this was recorded between 2008 and 2012.

Coast FM says this proves a stand alone radio station for the region "simply cannot cope with a downturn in the economy."

The new consortium carried out its own listener poll.

This showed national radio stations in the area were the preferred stations for news, current affairs, sport and interest programmes rather than Ocean FM.

Coast FM claims a "serious disconnect" has occurred between listeners in Sligo, North Leitrim and South Donegal in its local radio station in the last ten years.

The new group says its primary objective is to provide a broad-format radio service targeting all adults with a particular focus on those over 25.

It will also have an emphasis on "what's Irish and local" and will implement "urgent and remedial strategies to increase listenership."

The board of directors of the applicant station are: Michael Hughes with an address in Stockholm, Sweden and Rosses Point, a business development leader, strategist and coach with the DeLaval Group.

He has been chairman of Mid West Radio since 1989.

Other directors are: Paul Claffey of Ballyhaunis who has been Managing Director of Mid West Radio since its inception; Chris Carroll of Claregalway who is Sales Manager at Midwest Radio; Michael Guilfoyle of Ballygawley, Sligo who is General Manager of Aurivo; Sean Carey of Belmullet, who also works for Aurivo; Fr John O'Boyle of Salthill who is education secretary for the Archdiocese of Tuam; Margaret Heffernan of Rosses Point, a retired Registrar for the Civil Registration Service; Martin McHugh from Kilcar, former Donegal footballer and Assumpta Clancy of Glenfarne, owner of a bed and breakfast and operator of a post office.

Sligo Champion

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