Owenea FM, the Ardara-based community radio covering Glenties, Portnoo and the immediate area, looks set to return to the airwaves as scheduled on Saturday November 9th.
It will be transmitting from a specially converted building on the edge of the festival town, with a new studio, meeting room, canteen and disabled facilities.
The green light for the station, which has a potential audience of over 3,500 local listeners, follows final agreement from the Broadcasting Authority Ireland which has granted a 100-day licence allowing broadcasting on two days a week.
When the station ceased transmitting in August to allow it to prepare a detailed application for a new licence, it was reaching over 400 listeners every weekend via the internet.
With the majority from the UK, Australia, Germany, USA, Norway and Dubai, there were also more locally based internet followers on www.donegalsounds.com.
“A considerable number listened from Donegal Town, Kilcar, Dungloe. Glencolmcille, Dublin, Cork and the Midlands,” said station chairman Pauric Gallagher. “Our objective is now to ensure the community is aware of what the station can offer. We will be open to all community groups who want to make their news heard.”
Among many who value the local radio are those living in the sheltered housing complex in Ardara, They listen in, take part in competitions and text requests.
And the care of the aged group, which meets at the day centre there on Tuesdays, is equally as enthusiastic about the station, according to care of the aged manager Breda Boyle.
“For them it is like being among friends, getting all the news and hearing their favourite songs. They missed the radio when it stopped broadcasting in August, but they are delighted that it will be back next month.”
Work is nearing completion on the studio at Kentucky, and when the station returns to the airwaves on 100.8FM on Saturday November 9th it will operate on one day for the first five weekends. During that time additional presenters will be brought in, then transmission will be from midnight on a Friday to midnight on Sunday.
“We are about to sign the contract for the 100 day licence which will take us up to November 8th 2014,” said treasurer Bosco McGill. “Gaining it has been a lengthy process with the preparation of a detailed business plan, information on the technical aspects and the meeting of many other requirements.” The station now has seven directors and a management committee.
The considerable costs involved in returning Owenea FM to the airwaves is being assisted by generous donations from local residents, supporters and businesses.
Much of the alteration work necessary in preparing the new headquaters is being carried out by John McBrearty, secretary, and helpers, while director John Molloy is overseeing the technical side. The new licence allows an increase in the wattage output which should assist where homes were not receiving a strong signal.
Country music stars will be performing at the radio station’s celebration dance at the Nesbitt Arms Hotel, Ardara, on Saturday November 2nd.
The line-up, organised by Chris Collum and Martin Gildea, includes Lisa Stanley, Shaun McMonagle, Gerrard McTaggart, Simon Peters, Johnny Garvin, and support band Wagon Wheel. Tickets for the dance, which will also include a jiving competition to find Owenea FM’s champion for 2013, are on sale at just €5.Tags: