IT’S a milestone week for WLR as the station celebrates 20 years of great radio from Dungarvan!
West Waterford and Dungarvan are key areas for the station and this week marks the 20th birthday of the station operating from Dungarvan, currently centrally located at the Plaza in the heart of the town.
Not only in this studio the base for some of WLR’s key weekday and weekend programming but it’s also the sales and promotion hub for the station in the West Waterford area, under the stewardship of Sean Drohan.
The original studio opened in Harbour Bay back in 1998 and the current complex later opened in 2008 by Michael O’Keeffe who is the CEO of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and also a Dungarvan man.
WLR is, of course, considered one of the best local stations in the country. The station boasts a 9-studio state-of-the-art complex in Waterford city and is one of few stations across the country that has a second base that is as active as Dungarvan’s studio 5.
Dungarvan and West-Waterford are key areas for the station. The studios are currently used by up to twenty staff members per week.
WLR Managing Director Des Whelan says the station is delighted to be celebrating 20 years broadcasting in West Waterford.
“We love having studios in Dungarvan and of course, having so many of our key broadcasters from this area like Eamon Keane, Kieran O Connor, Timmy Ryan and Sean Organ means that WLR really is Dungarvan’s local station,” he said.
“We are very grateful to our listeners and advertisers in a West Waterford for their support over the last 20 years.”
Over the years, legendary broadcasters such as Billy McCarthy, Kevin Casey, Bob Heuston, Tony Weldon and Eddie Wymberry have presented regular programmes from Dungarvan.
Many of the staff who currently use the studio are from the Dungarvan and West Waterford area, including Sean Organ, Kieran O’Connor, Tomás McCarthy, Eamon Keane, Jennifer Long, Gavin Whelan, Micheal O’Drisleain, Michael Byrne and Sean Drohan to name but a few.
WLR has also recently invested into the technical infrastructure in their transmission sites in Ballymacarbry, Ring and Dungarvan.
Only in the past week, a new transmitter has been installed to improve the signal across the area. A dedicated IP link has also been installed which allows the station produce and present more content on a daily basis while having a direct access link to the Waterford base. This type of investment really cements the future of the studio for the years ahead.
Michael Byrne, WLR’s Programme Director, was on the committee to find a new location in 2008…
“We had outgrown the Harbour Bay studio and we needed a bigger and more central location. The Plaza is ideally located between the Square and the shopping centre,” he said. “WLR listeners are very loyal in the West-Waterford area and a number of the programmes that broadcast from the West Waterford studio boast massive numbers each week in terms of minutes listened. We’re lucky to have such a facility in this area and it is used every day.”
WLR is, of course, a media sponsor of many festivals and events in the West Waterford area and runs an annual ‘Be a Little Star’ Christmas Appeal for the St. Vincent De Paul in West-Waterford.
WLR is the number one choice for Waterford people when it comes to sourcing daily news. This was one of the main findings from the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, released last week. The report, which is funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, highlights a fall in the use of social media for accessing news, not only in Ireland but across the world.
Over the past 20 years, radio listenership has remained as strong as it was before Internet and Social Media. And WLR’s commitment to providing a service to Waterford has strengthened.
WLR Dungarvan may be 20 years old but this is only the start of the next chapter for the station…