The ‘Irish Show’ is broadcasted on Tuesday evenings 6pm until 8pm on Inspiration FM (107.8). Its main audience is the Irish community in the Northampton area but it also provides entertainment for those interested in rock, folk and country music genres. The presenters on this show are called John Connor and Joe Strong.
The radio station has been running since 18th November 1996 and the Irish Show
A large section of the listeners are from the Irish community based in Northampton, however due to the presentation of the show it draws a large audience from other segments of the population. An interesting factor of the show is that the presenters are not actually Irish, even though the show is called the ‘Irish Show’. This could have been set up purposefully so that other communities wouldn’t feel disconnected and will tune in.
Idents were played between the introduction to the show and adverts. It was also played between songs. This is an effective way to remind listeners of which show/radio station they are tuned into. The presenters played a trailer of the ‘Drive Time’ show and spoke about what happened on the show, which informs listeners of other shows they might like, widening their audience numbers. By talking about their new Facebook page, the presenters try to involve the audience.
The links in the show are not scripted. This can be seen in the overlap between links and the audio (song). For example, there is a section when John makes a comment that he thought appropriate whilst the introduction to the song was being played. This wouldn’t happen if the link was scripted. This ensures that different segments of the show link together successfully.
Due to it being an Irish show, and that’s the way it is advertised, it has a policy to play music that hold Irish roots. However, this can be in the form of rock, folk, country and live tracks. The show plays a mixture of live and pre-recorded tracks, most of which are from the folk/country genre. This gives the audience a variety of qualities to listen to. The presenters continue to introduce the song/talk about it while the song is starting to play. Otherwise, there is no music bed while the presenters are speaking.
After each song (or songs) is played, the presenters have a short discussion about it or the artist, including a short story. This provides the audience with a small amount of background which allows them to find out more if they want to.
The music that is played on the Irish Show is mainly from previous years, it is not a show to play new music or upcoming bands. This could restrict the number of listeners as they may have heard all the music previously. “The unique blend of cultures and music and interviews & information will give listeners a new choice of station to listen too.” Inspiration FM holds a 70% music 30% speech policy during daytime shows. I think this is definitely represented accurately during the Irish Show.
The Irish Show seemed to have unstructured scripting. It was evident that the presenters were given set items to include, like advertisements and the ‘100 hits & legends’ section. The presenters introduce the show and then begin with talking about the weather. This something the audience can relate to.
The sections of the show which were spoken seemed unrehearsed and were relaxed. This allowed for easy listening, which would be appealing to audiences at that time of day. They speak of personal experiences and what is happening in their lives (colds, “man-flu”, and wife’s kitchen).
The way in which the radio show is delivered has a conversational tone, it’s very relaxed and flows nicely from one piece of music to the next with regular speech interludes. The show is humorous and relaxed and shows that the presenters have a good working relationship, which encourages the audience to listen.
Ways to contact the show was mentioned in detail, this is a good way to involve listeners and get them to participate in the show.
The presenters continually talk about Irish artists, those that are playing locally or that they’ve seen live. This involves the audience and makes them want to know more.
They mention local establishments such as O’Neill’s or the Swan & Helmet in Northampton. By mentioning these and talking about the previous Saturday night in a positive light, it is good advertising for the companies and encourages the audience to get involved and visit these places. It is a good marketing scheme for Northampton communities. The presenters also mentioned a teaser about an event (11th February), which would be explained later. This urges the audience to keep listening in order to find out more about this event.
In the last 12 minutes, the presenters discuss the statistics of last week’s show. This positive reference to the growing number of listeners encourages the audience to continue to listen and tune in again next week.
As the presenters are local to Northampton they offer an in depth and personal perspective on the town. They appear keen to promote the town and its features.
It is very unusual for a radio show not to include any news included. For the first hour of this show no news or bulletins were broadcasted. However, there was a short news package before the show started which included all the main headlines. This was also repeated after the first hour of the show, but was not introduced.
The news bulletin that was played before and after the first hour of the show contained news headlines and stories from all over the nation, even though it is a community radio station. The news bulletin lasted for only 01m: 30s which is short enough that listeners do not get distracted or miss any of the Irish Show, but long enough to include the important news headlines.
Overall, Inspiration FM offers listeners hourly news features of 3-5 minutes long, interviews with councillors representing different topics and interviews with a variety of voluntary and community organisations.
Inspiration FM is a community radio station Broadcasting 24/7 with a mix of music to suit all tastes. It provides interviews, phone-ins, news, traffic reports, and discussions of topics that really matter to the people of Northampton town and county. The slogan for the station is “Putting unity back in the community”. This is a positive motto that invites listeners and gives them a sense of involvement, just by tuning in.
Another of the station’s aims is to promote the views and opinions of others and to involve as many cultures and age groups within the audience as possible in the planning, sound and style of broadcasting. I think this is accomplished by Inspiration FM as it has established an excellent report with its audience and continues to introduce new shows aimed at a variety of the population.
At the start of show, it is obvious that the volume levels of the presenter’s microphones are different. The difference between them is huge and affects the quality of the sound. The quality of the music played in the broadcast was excellent as they were pre-recorded tracks and pre-recorded “live” tracks. However, the speech audio was of less quality as there seemed to be a problem with the microphones and their settings.
The show sounds fairly professional. However, it is difficult to put across how professional the show is as it is delivered in a relaxed, conversational manner. Many of the people involved in community radio shows are volunteers, this could mean that they have little or no experience in presenting/producing a successful show. In my opinion, I believe that the ‘Irish Show’ is delivered in a similar manner to many of the shows on Radio 1 and therefore it can be considered very professional, as they have a reputation to be so.
The Future of Radio
Competition from other technologies is growing as people are now listening to radio through other devices. These devices include mobile phones, laptops, games consoles, social networking etc. These other types of medium allow radio to be easily accessed. I believe that this is widening the audience towards the younger generations. Even though competition is high, it is evident that listeners still value information provided through local and commercial radio. Additionally, social media and the rapid growth of new technology have resulted in non-professional individuals shaping the content being created for broadcast media.
“Traditionally radio reaches a higher proportion of young adults than the population as a whole, but this difference is beginning to disappear.16-24 year olds listen to less radio per week than the population as a whole. The future of listening by this key group as they get older is difficult to predict.” (Ofcom, November 2006) By working with the new types of media available, it will be easy to target younger generations to try and increase this declining audience.
In the future, with the increasing technology, it may be possible to convert analogue radio to digital radio. This will make the spectrum more flexible and free-up some of that spectrum to establish a higher number of radio stations/shows; thus increasing audience numbers. This ‘digital change-over’ will create easily accessible, widely varied radio.
In regards to community radio, I believe that there will be an increase in community radio stations across the UK, as the public are becoming more aware of how they can have a positive effect in their community. However, as many community radio stations rely on funds from advertisements it may prove difficult to find the money to run the station as now businesses are more likely to advertise online as it is cheaper. Due to this increase in community radio stations and the idea that radio stations are easily set up, it is likely that an increase in college/university radio stations across the UK could also occur.
Satellite radio and its market have already grown enormously. Sirius XM provides a satellite radio service and claims over 20 million subscribers. It has had great success in in-car receivers and it is likely that car manufacturers will start to include this feature in their designs. Therefore, satellite radio could affect the market of analogue and digital radio in the future.
Since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was put into effect, the consolidation of the industry has created a homogeneous and in my opinion, a far less creative industry. Innovation and new talent simply are not being drawn to the industry. This could be due to radio not being represented enough in media forums and being presented in a negative way. If radio was to support new topics and have a more varied disposition, this would reflect in the increase of listeners and more people would want to get involved.
In regards to my chosen radio station and show, Inspiration FM will look to produce a 24 hours broadcasting service seven days per week in the future.