Battle rages for the airwaves

KILKENNY’S community radio station has claimed it is being obstructed from broadcasting in the city environs by the dominant station with the commercial licence, KCLR 96FM.

KILKENNY’S community radio station has claimed it is being obstructed from broadcasting in the city environs by the dominant station with the commercial licence, KCLR 96FM.

Despite having reported Community Radio Kilkenny to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, KCLR deny obstructing the community station’s application.

Cathal Cullen, who is heavily involved in Community Radio Kilkenny said that they have been blocked in obtaining a broadcasting license by KCLR. During trial broadcasts by Community Radio Kilkenny, KCLR FM reported them to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for breaches of their temporary services licence.

In order to secure a permanent broadcast licence, Community Radio Kilkenny must secure 100 days of broadcasting without incident.. A number of objections have been upheld in the past against the community station.

“We can stand over that KCLR did object to our licence,” said Mr Cullen. “KCLR have a right to object – it is a free society,” he added.

KCLR chief executive John Purcell said it was inaccurate to suggest that KCLR was obstructing any other group from obtaining a broadcast license.

“KCLR understands that the difficulties in securing temporary licences for Community Radio Kilkenny City centre around repeated and serious breaches of the broadcasting licenses for temporary services which that group have been awarded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland on two occasions in the past,” he said.

Mr Purcell added: “KCLR is in on-going communication with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland on a variety of issues. From time to time, this company as a legally entitled interested party, has raised concerns with the BAI about the compliance record of KCCCS (Kilkenny Community Communications Co-operative Society) in relation to: its operation of temporary licenses; the manner of the promotion of their organisation and their negative characterisations of this company which have sought to undermine our business.”

Mr Purcell said it was entirely appropriate to raise concerns with the BAI when other broadcasters breach their licenses.

Mr Cullen admitted that mistakes were made during their trial broadcast period. However, he believes that given the chance the two stations could complement each other.

“I believe we could share resources. We have a mast up in Johnswell that we could share. We’re in community radio for 30 years – our whole raison d’être is community. We are not interested in winning radio Oscars, but in providing a service for people to talk to each other and provide the community with a sense of ownership,” he pleaded.