- 23 Nov 20
In a recent interview in Hot Press, RTÉ Radio One stalwart Ronan Collins spoke about the death of music radio. As if by way of answer to the implied call to arms, a group of former RTÉ 2fm DJs, mostly male, have come together to form Music One Ireland – an internet radio station that has great music at the heart of its mission.
Six former stalwarts of RTE music radio form the backbone of the presenter roster for a brand-new Irish online music station.
Launched only last month, Music One Ireland is already broadcasting all-day seven days a week, and promises to offer a fun diet drawn from five decades of pop hits for a “mature audience”, while also preparing plans to provide space especially for new Irish music.
The team at the new station includes Mike Moloney, Jim O’Neill, Liam Quigley, Bob Conway and DJ Lee (contributing from Hollywood), all ex-RTE, as well as the award-winning Thin Lizzy enthusiast Roddy Cleere, Chris Barry, Mick Mulcahy, Dave Lyons, Brian Walsh and, the sole woman, Lisa Gernon.
As a brief glance at their website biogs shows, these people have vast swathes of experience on radio both at home and abroad, nationally and in the regions, collecting a cabinet-full of awards along the way.
Among the latest to climb aboard is Robbie Irwin, long-time RTE producer, as well as a presenter on RTE Gold and more recently on Kfm in Kildare. As Irwin explained when he spoke exclusively to Hot Press, “Basically, there’s a feeling out there that a sizeable music-loving audience of over-40s is not being catered for any more in Ireland, and that’s where Music One Ireland comes in.
“It was primarily the brainchild of Mike Moloney but it didn’t take long to get up and running. The station is in its embryonic stage, but with a full schedule already on air and entirely focused on music, the feedback so far has been highly positive. We also have a regular Classic Albums feature.
"All the presenters have masses of experience and their enthusiasm for music knows no bounds, so it’s a very exciting time for me, to be getting back into music radio and helping fill a need that’s clearly there. So the only way is up, really.”
He also outlines a plan for the station to support local music under the banner Locked Down Rockin’ Out, due to hit the airwaves over the next few weeks. “This will be a showcase for all the brilliant Irish music that’s out there. It’ll start weekly, but there’ll be room for it to expand.”
Interested parties can submit tracks for possible inclusion to [email protected]
Irwin’s vast experience gives him the right to assess the big picture when it comes to assessing Irish music radio.
“These days, music radio has become so formatted,” he says, “and many stations draw on a couple of hundred tracks with which to entertain their listeners. So the same tracks keep coming around and around over and over, while there are other great songs that never get played at all. In contrast, we've got a policy of almost total music throughout the schedule, from a roster of thousands upon thousands of tracks.”
Irwin’s thinking on radio in Ireland today echoes the opinions of Ronan Collins in a recent Hot Press interview, in which he bemoaned the waning of music radio, which at its best means playing music for its own intrinsic value rather than just to fill airtime.
“Music radio has practically disappeared”, Collins argued. “I’ve often felt that some RTE broadcasters see music as a kind of interruption in their chat or a break from the programme, rather than a fundamental part of it.”
In its use of technology, Music One Ireland is very music a station of the 21st century, making full use of software that enables individual broadcasters to submit their programmes to a central point – which is controlled by Mike Moloney (of Moloney After Midnight fame on 2fm), whence the recordings are uploaded and go on-air.
“Current legislation doesn’t allow us to accept direct advertising,” Robbie Irwin says, “but it is totally legal and we’ll be forging sponsorship deals with suitable commercial partners as the station grows.
“In the meantime it’s great fun for all of us and the sky’s the limit.”
• Music One Ireland can be found at www.musicone.ie – Robbie Irwin broadcasts every Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 10am