A new online radio station based in Dublin is about to take off. What’s in store? We checked in with the DDR crew to find out.
So, a new digital radio station is in the pipeline. Tell us how it came about?
Brian Mc Namara: The idea was floating around in our heads for a while I think. A few of us have been involved in different forms of radio over the years and I think we all wondered why Dublin didn’t have something like this already. We went to Open Ear festival on Sherkin Island earlier this year and started talking seriously about it. A five hour car journey home with only national radio for company really got the wheels moving then. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I guess it’s a bit reactionary in that sense, we were a bit angry with the lack of coverage for certain areas of culture in Ireland so we are trying to fill that void in a small way.
We started to actually meet up and start doing stuff about it two months ago and it’s all just fallen into place since then. Everyone we have chatted to has been really positive about it and loads of sound heads have been helping out and giving us stuff. It went from an idea to launching with around 40 people involved really quickly.
Have the founders got much experience, did you look to other ventures abroad or past pirate stations for inspiration?
Brian: I first got into radio when I was in DCU. They have a great student station there (DCUfm). I ran a show there with a few mates for two years doing electronic stuff and awkwardly interviewing DJs. I also spent around seven months working as a studio assistant at Berlin Community Radio which was a great learning experience. Everyone involved there is sound. Shouts to them! The whole time I was there I was thinking this would be so good in Dublin. I guess we looked to what BCR, NTS, Red Light and other stations around Europe were doing. There is definitely enough talented people in Dublin so can’t we do something similar kind of thing. Although we will have a bit more talking and other stuff maybe than the other stations mentioned.
Sean Finnan: I’ve always had a big interest in radio and growing up miles away from any decent music shops late night radio was always the way I discovered music. Along with torrents. So my experience would have been mainly listening to radio and while in UCD I did a bit with Belfield FM. Earlier in the year I wrote a piece on what the demise of alternative radio in Ireland and through researching that, it kind of opened up how active the pirate music scene was here in Ireland during its hayday of the 90’s and how kind of DIY it was. It was interwoven with the various music scenes at the time and its importance as a kind of community platform was definitely an inspiration for me.
Brian Hyland: I have been a long time listener, but this is my first real experience with a radio station. Simon, myself and some friends have been running a radio show for the last year, broadcasting weekly as Bukeepsie Radio. For inspiration there are loads of great digital radio stations, in Europe and the US, just like NTS, BCR etc., and the lack of similar radio station in Ireland, is inspiration in itself.
Simon O’Toole: Like the guys have said radio has been really important in informing my own musical tastes, I would say nearly as much as going to gigs etc. As pirate stations in Ireland were before my time I have generally looked abroad for Independent radio, namely NTS, Newtown Radio in NYC and BCR. Myself and a few mates have had a little weekly radio show going for the last year and a bit called Bukeepsie Radio that is now going to morph into a fortnightly show on DDR.
The name and slogan are great, is it the intention to run it in that vein, with a collective ethos?
Brian: A slight wink and nod maybe ha. But yeah, we definitely want it to be a collective thing. The way everyone has been helping out, it already has that feeling. We want to have a nice family of people doing the good shit. I suppose the name too is a recognition that we aren’t a terrestrial radio station with an FM transmitter, that we are very much an online thing reliant on a little black box in the studio. Hopefully that’s something we can explore more in the future.
It looks like there are some great local DJs involved, and plenty from outside Dublin, it seems like it will link in well to the community, how do you envision that?
Brian: Yeah, we didn’t have to search hard, there’s so many great DJs around Ireland now. It’s nice to have local record labels, record shops, DJs, poets, activists, artists, musicians, jokers, chancers all in one place. To us, it’s worth showing what they can do and providing a platform to do so.
In regard to DJs specifically it’s also nice to have the freedom to play things that mightn’t necessarily work in a club environment. I’m looking forward to hearing some of the weird stuff everyone has hidden away.
Is it purely focused on the tunes or will there be more variety in terms of shows broadcast?
Brian: No, there will be more things going on. We have a show called Pussys Club which will be “talking about boys+girls, sex + sexuality, social media, dating + apps. parties/nightlife/going out, drugs, drinking, growing up + mental stuff. pop culture, subculture, club culture music, in the news, celebrities, art/music/style, dublin. Irish shit that needs a kick up the hole.”
The brilliant Oireachtas Retort is going to do something for us. ‘wherethetimegoes’ are going to be doing a sort of roundtable discussion thing and there are a few others on culture, history and bits like that. We have Dave Lordan of the Bogsman Cannon presenting a show, a voice we think will shake up the cosy notions of what a cultural or literary show are. Tune in and listen to find out more.