As every avid music fan knows, the variety of music available on Irish radio is, erm… limited. Niche stations, like Radio Nova, break the mould by catering to a specific style of music and find there are huge audiences disenfranchised by playlist-driven broadcasting that clutters the dial.
Rock has its saviour in Nova, but what about our taste? That scattershot love of everything on the spectrum, from Adam and the Ants to Yeah Yeah Yeahs and back again?
It looks like our saviour has risen in the form of 8radio.com, a new station set to light up Dublin every weekend on 94.3FM until July, as well as online every day and on its Apple and Android apps.
Their eclectic mix has been putting a big smile on faces in this office and everywhere else it has been heard across the city, and Gazette Music caught up with its creator, Simon Maher, and asked where the idea for the station came from.
“I was general manager and one of the presenters on Phantom when it was taken over, and when I left, I was thinking about what I wanted to do next.
“As my day job, I teach media at Ballyfermot College, and I was asking students about what they listen to now, they said they tend to put on iTunes and hit shuffle. I asked them to hit shuffle and tell me the first five tracks that came up, and they were a really eclectic mix. I realised people are able to cope with an unexpected mix of music, so why don’t we create a radio station that does exactly that?”
The audience that 8 are looking to capture are a unique group, something that Simon’s experience in broadcasting has taught him is possible to achieve.
“When we went to the BII to get the temporary licence, they asked if we would be taking people away from the established radio stations, and the fact was that we wouldn’t. A lot of the people who would listen to 8 would have been lost to traditional radio, and we knew that would be our target audience. It’s a different kind of radio.
“The majority will always listen to traditional radio or watch traditional TV, but it’s the other people who we are after.”
Simon is keen to spread the word, and hopes that this fledgling period for 8 will lead to a more permanent place, whether that be online or on the airwaves.
“We would hope by July that we would have around 2,000 to 3,000 listeners a week logging on to the web version of the station. The 15 weeks of the temporary licence will be used to drive people toward that. If people trust us musically, we will see where we go next.”