8Radio.com returns to FM with ‘that human element’

The online music station will broadcast in Dublin, Cork and Limerick for 15 weekends

Simon Maher: “For us, it’s a 15-week business card.”

Simon Maher: “For us, it’s a 15-week business card.”

 

Music station 8Radio.com, set up by Phantom FM co-founder Simon Maher, will return for its second run of weekend FM broadcasts from Saturday under a temporary licence from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

The radio station went out on FM in Dublin, Cork and Limerick for 15 weeks last summer before continuing via online streaming and smartphone apps throughout the year.

“For us, it’s a 15-week business card,” says Maher of the FM licence.

Temporary licence

Under the BAI rules, an applicant for a temporary licence can broadcast on FM for

up to 30 days over a 12-month period. Maher says the three-city licence costs 8Radio.com about €8,000 to €10,000.

This year, 8Radio.com will go out on 94.3FM in Dublin, 106.7FM in Cork and 105.5FM in Limerick for seven weekends until July 6th, before taking a summer break and returning on September 6th for eight weeks to cover the “back to school/college” period.

“We got a good response last year, but once we went off FM, there was a noticeable drop- off, and we put it down partly to the fact that people were on holiday. It took us until January or February to get decent momentum back,” says Maher.

The station says it has about 6,000 monthly listeners, while its smartphone apps have been downloaded more than 2,500 times.

Under the terms of its licence 8Radio.com cannot accept spot advertising, but it is seeking online display advertising business and sponsorships for its programmes.

The station has the motto “playing the music we like”, in a bid to highlight the individual input its roster of 19 presenters have over the music it broadcasts.

“To give it some coherence, there is a playlist,” says Maher. “But there is a certain amount of time in each hour where we say to our presenters ‘go and make it you’. Our listeners have access to Spotify and similar services, so the only thing that will make 8Radio.com work is that human element.”

Maher says he is still in love with the idea that he had when he first started off in radio, where DJs “get a bag of records” and play the ones they want people to like, and listeners learn to trust the presenter’s recommendations.

Although there is airplay for classic tracks from old favourites such as Kate Bush and Radiohead, the station is committed to playing the kind of untried-and-untested new music that makes programmers on traditional stations break into a cold sweat.