Issue more digital radio licences to broaden listener choice, alternative station urges celebrates 10th birthday with call for more recognition of niche channels

The largely volunteer-run alternative music station 8Radio has called on the newly minted Coimisiún na Meán to issue more digital radio licences in order to give music fans greater choices or more platforms.

The station celebrates its 10th birthday this month having broadcast its first song on September 16th, 2013. However, it has a longer history, having started out as Phantom FM more than 20 years ago before being acquired by Communicorp, which subsequently shut it down.

Its latest incarnation was brought to the virtual airwaves by ex-Phantom FM manager and presenter Simon Maher in 2013 and while it is allowed access to the FM airwaves for 30 days each year, he has called for more “niche licences” to be issued.

He said that in an “era where algorithms often dictate musical choices, prides itself on its team of passionate and knowledgeable human curators. These curators invest countless hours into uncovering hidden gems and tracks that might have slipped through the cracks of mainstream playlists.”


The station prides itself on its eclectic musical choices with Mr Maher saying the station’s playlist is “a testament to its dedication to providing a platform for musical diversity as well as new broadcasting talent. This approach has attracted a dedicated and diverse listener base, united by their shared love for exceptional music.”

While it can be accessed via its app, and TuneIn Radio as well as on FM for 30 days a year on a temporary licence, Mr Maher called for a greater opportunity to reach the widest possible audience.

“As celebrates its 10th birthday, we look ahead to a future brimming with exciting possibilities,” he said. “The station remains committed to exploring new avenues for musical exploration, engaging listeners in innovative ways, and continuing to champion artists that deserve to be heard, particularly home-grown acts.”

He added that the station was taking a proactive step by encouraging the new media commission “to license localised DAB radio multiplexes immediately, allowing niche Irish broadcasters access to a low-cost broadcast platform. With the rise of digital media, is poised to make an even greater impact in the years to come.”

The station is back on FM for a special 10-day broadcast until September 17th and can be accessed at 105.2FM in Dublin, 105.5FM in Limerick, 106.7FM in Cork, and 87.9FM in Galway. It will also broadcast live from Whelan’s of Wexford Street, Dublin on Saturday, September 16th to celebrate its birthday.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast