We Are The Sound Of Waterford
WLR has its foundations back in the radio days of the late 70s when almost one hundred stations went on air in response to the void in the market for an alternative to RTE Radio One. In Waterford alone there were three music stations catering for a mainly under 30s audience. In 1979, new national music station 2fm came on air and many stations like WLR found that rather than pop music their unique attraction was their ability to be local. In 1989, after over 10 years of broadcasting WLR was one of just two “pirate” radio stations to apply and receive a licence to broadcast to their respective area, in WLR's case, Waterford City and County.
From studios in George's Street, Waterford the new WLR went on air on September 9th 1989 and was an almost instant success with programmes like Timmy and Nicola on Breakfast, Billy McCarthy on Déise AM, Tony Weldon's Sunday Morning Melodies and Eddie Wymberry proving hugely popular.
In 1998 WLR opened new offices and studios in the county capital of Dungarvan which gave the station and its staff an important base in the west of the county. At this point stations across Ireland had become part of the hugely important JNLR radio research conducted by MRBI. WLR quickly established itself as one of the top stations in the country and since the inception of the research, WLR has year after year delivered the best reach and share of any city-based local station in Ireland.
The quality of programming on WLR has also been recognised with the station winning many PPI National Radio Awards, the first in 2002 for Julian Walton's iconic series, On This Day. This was followed by a host of further IMRO radio awards including the ultimate accolade of being Ireland's Local Radio Station of the Year in 2009, again in 2012 and more recently WLR completed a historic, never been done before 4 in a row - winning the title in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022!
WLR has been an innovator from its earliest days and in 2002 brought Beat 102-103 on air to fill the gap in the South East for a youth radio station. To cater for both stations WLR built the only purpose-built radio building in the independent sector in the republic, The Broadcast Centre on a greenfield site at Ardkeen. The complex includes nine radio studios and a video studio and was officially opened by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahearn in 2004.
In 2004 WLR was awarded the first Local TV licence in Ireland for its Waterford @ Eight programme.
In 2007 newspaper publisher Tomas Crosbie Holdings bought out a majority shareholding in WLR and joined Managing Director Des Whelan as the station's owners. In 2018 The Irish Times Group purchased the TCH shareholding and take an active part in the running of both stations.
Currently, WLR is Ireland's Local Radio Station of the Year for the third year running. Each day 50% of all adults living in Waterford City and County listen to WLR, while each week 69% of all adults listen to their local station. The station is managed by a committed team who along with a talented group of producers and broadcasters share a real passion for radio and for Waterford. Shows like The Big Breakfast Blaa, Damien Tiernan's Déise Today, Geoff Harris on The Lunchbox and Rick Whelan's Here's Ricky command a huge audience locally. For news and sport WLR prides itself on being first for Waterford's news and it's very rare that the station is beaten to a story, on-air or online.
WLRFM.com receives almost 1 million visits each month and the station continues its quest to become a multi-platform broadcaster giving Waterfordians across the world the opportunity to catch up on all things local whenever and wherever they like.
With hundreds of TV, radio and social channels available at the touch of a screen, WLR continues to believe that just like in the pioneering early days of radio in Ireland that talent, professionalism, hard work and being local will continue to win the day with Waterford listeners.
We love Waterford. We are WLR.
South East Broadcasting Company Limited trading as WLR.