Anyone who has studied in Limerick or is involved in Limerick’s music scene will have fond familiarity with Wired FM. The community radio station officially came into existence way back in November 1995, the same year that community radio licences came into existence themselves. They have recently applied for a ten year licence, so Wired FM is going to be around for probably several more decades to come.
Speaking to Manager Ray Burke, he explains that the station has a community of interest status, akin to that of Spirit FM or UCC Radio. “It is and always has been produced by students, for students, and of course as a community organisation we only enough money to keep things running. I’ve been with Wired myself for just over two years, though I’ve been involved in community radio a lot longer, working with Dublin South radio and others before. I had the opportunity to go into commercial radio when I graduated but I found my heart was very much with community radio.”
With around 150 volunteers passing through the station each week, the work is hard, but Ray says the rewards more than make up for that. As a community service, Wired FM works with a number of youth and education groups in the city, including Youth Reach and Enable Ireland. “It’s great to see the enthusiasm in older groups as well – we’ve been working with some senior citizens (though I’m not sure how happy they would be about being called that!), and they have a real interest in learning and producing with us, you get such a buzz from that.
We also recently had a young woman from Enable Ireland who produced a documentary for us about her first year of independent living. To provide those opportunities for stories to be told, and to watch students develop their skills, their confidence, even friendships with one another, it’s a great thing to see.”
Another aspect of the community that Wired FM exists to serve is emerging musicians. “Of course, we’re not just here to provide opportunities to develop skills, we need to entertain too. At the end of the day there is no point giving volunteers experience if we can’t draw in listeners. So our focus is very much about music, about playing tracks you probably won’t here anywhere else, and most of all supporting local bands and artists who are trying to break onto the music scene. For those who have their first gig in Cobblestone’s or Dolans, making their music in their bedrooms before that, we are the first broadcaster they speak to, the first time they every go on air is with Wired FM. That’s an important moment in any musician’s career and knowing they will be excitedly sharing it on social media, and friends and relatives will all be tuning in, there’s something exciting about that for us too. We hope it’s something they don’t ever forget either.”
To celebrate their past and present, Wired FM are holding a 21st anniversary celebration on 26th November, with a very special day and evening long event. They will be broadcasting live from the foyer, with a whole host of big media names set to descend on the city for informative talks and workshops.
All present students, alumni, past and present volunteers and everyone in the Limerick community will be invited to gain a fascinating insight into radio broadcast and the work of those who are or have been involved with Wired FM. Many of those who have volunteered with us are still working to this day in broadcast radio or journalism, so it’s going to be great to provide the chance for all those that have passed through or have some connection to come back and get together.”
The event will see the likes of Colm Tobin and Cian McCormac of RTE giving talks. “We want people to know that it’s not just for current students, there’s going to be so much going on for anyone with any interest in what we do and in radio and broadcast as a whole. Plus it’s totally free, all you have to do is register as attending – we’re overwhelmed by the response we’ve had already and we can’t wait.”
Article by: Kayleigh Ziolo
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