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Scariff Bay Community Radio awarded second 100-day licence

AFTER outstanding service to the communities of East Clare during the lockdown, Scariff Bay Community Radio has been awarded a second one hundred day FM licence by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). The station is also pursuing plans to open new studios in O’Callaghan’s Mills, Tulla and Killaloe in the near future.

The licence came into effect last Monday, and once again allows the station to broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am on both 88.3FM and 92.7FM, throughout the east of the county. The station will also continue to stream all shows on-line and on its website scariffbayradio.com, as well as on the Tune In app for smart devices and phones.

Led by Chairman Jim Collins, the roster of 30 volunteers has continued to present its shows during the Covid-19 crisis. Using a range of remote working technologies, they have broadcast to the local communities and a wide diaspora abroad. Hosting shows and interviewing guests using social media including WhatsApp, Zoom, Facebook and Twitter have kept both themselves and their guests safe. Broadcasting from kitchens and living room across the region, volunteers have provided music, chat and entertainment to connect with the audience many of whom have been cocooning and isolating. An important part of the schedule, for many, has been the broadcasting of Mass throughout the lockdown, as well as news updates tailored to East Clare audiences.

“We really worked hard to keep communities connected,” said Eoin O’Hagan, producer and presenter. “We had a huge reaction, particularly when we checked in with members of the diaspora to see how they were coping during Covid-19.”

During the lockdown, the station also came to the rescue of the Mountshannon Arts Festival, when restrictions meant that most of its live schedule had to be re-worked. The ‘wireless’ arts festival went on air over the June Bank Holiday weekend and featured an interview with renowned musician and cook Mike Hanrahan, as well as an evening of stories hosted by Carol McNamara and Órla Mc Govern, with storytellers phoning their stories in live from around Ireland.

Also broadcast on the station, as part of the festival weekend was a special edition of Roisín Bugler’s ‘Flow of Words’. The show focused on the topic of ‘Identity,’ which was the overall theme of this year’s scaled-back festival.

Ever innovative, in terms of platforms and content, one of the newest endeavours by the station is a radio play, currently in production, entitled Mr McGuffin’s Plot Device and Writer Unblocking Emporium. The station has teamed up with The Sliabh Aughty Drama Group for the drama which was written especially for radio by Tuamgraney native, Tara Sparling. The play is described as “a hilarious trip through the whole gamut of stereotypes and sound effects as the actors play writers in various states of distress over their unfinished works, which only Mr McGuffin can help them with from his stock of devices”.

In rehearsal at the moment for recording on July 12, the radio play is directed by Ruth O’Hagan. It will feature several stalwarts of the local acting scene and Sliabh Aughty Drama Group regulars, Jim O’Brien, Siobhan Quinlivan, Pat Duggan, Ger Condren, Noel Hogan and Joe Dillon and will be narrated by Tara Sparling. Eoin O’Hagan, who is producing, engineering and editing, said it is likely to air by the end of the month.

Scariff Bay Community Radio first took to the airwaves in 2016 and is planning, in time, to apply for a ten-year licence. “We would have the option of broadcasting seven days, but wouldn’t have the roster of volunteers to keep that going,” Mr O’Hagan explained. “What we could consider is going on air from Friday evenings, right through the weekend. We are looking at opening studios in O’Callaghan’s Mills, Tulla and Killaloe in the not-too-distant future and as more people come on board and that will really facilitate people to record shows as they will have other options than travelling into Scariff. There really is a great energy to the station. There’s a great team and it’s great fun.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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