No pictures required on radio goo-goo

RTÉjr Radio takes its place in broadcaster’s cross-media strategy for under-sevens

RTÉjr Radio 
Happy Days
 presenter Emma Power and the host of TRTÉ Radio’s 
Radioactive
, Colm Flynn, at the launch of the new television, radio and online service RTÉ studios on Monday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

RTÉjr Radio Happy Days presenter Emma Power and the host of TRTÉ Radio’s Radioactive , Colm Flynn, at the launch of the new television, radio and online service RTÉ studios on Monday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

 

A children’s radio station is a concept that will seem novel to anyone who grew up in the pre-digital media age, but it makes sense that the proliferation of channels since then has included services aimed at amusing/placating/ captivating toddlers.

RTÉjr Radio now has a new schedule from 7am to 7pm for 0-7-year-olds featuring “stories, music, leaning, fun, games and lullabies” through programmes such as Early Birds , Happy Days and The Cosy Corner , while from 7pm to 9pm, TRTÉ, aimed at 7-11-year-olds, takes over.

“It wouldn’t be an immediate thing for children – they won’t be saying ‘I want to listen to the radio’,” says RTÉ’s cross-divisional head of children’s content, Sheila de Courcy.


Need to entertain
“It’s parent-mediated. Everything is parent-mediated for this age group,” she says. “I know they put it on in creches as well.”

Content, both radio and television, can be downloaded via the RTÉjr app and stored for whenever the need to entertain or comfort arises.

Music education shows such as Meet the Orchestra , which received funding of €50,000 from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland in its last Sound and Vision round, obviously lend themselves to radio as well as television, while the 70-part Tell Me a Story series is another of the new programme strands that is designed to work across both platforms.

De Courcy says she surprised some people at the Cartoon Finance conference last November by suggesting that animation production companies could develop a character for radio first before progressing to a television series. “Making an animation series is expensive, so you have to start somewhere.”

But radio has distinct advantages as a children’s medium, she believes. “I just think that sound fuels the imagination in a way that television doesn’t.”