By Helen Riddell
Broadcasting to the Beara Peninsula on 100.1FM and worldwide on the internet, Bere Island FM station went live one recent Sunday.
John Walsh of Bere Island Projects Group was guest presenter and was joined by fellow islander and co-presenter Dominic Hallahan.
The three-hour programme featured local news reports, from Bere Island and community groups throughout Beara, and also from Whiddy Island and Sheep’s Head and interviews with islanders living overseas.
Island school children from St Michael’s National School prepared items, and transition year students in Castletownbere are also involved in preparing future programmes.
Bere Island is one of a number of partners in the EU Grassroots Wavelengths Project which aims to set up low-power community radio stations in rural communities in Europe which include Romania, Portugal, Madeira and Bere Island.
Grassroots Wavelengths is based on technology, which allows for radio content to be created and broadcasted in a very simple manner, using mobile phones and low-power radio transmitters that work on a very small radius.
The islanders have erected a mast on the island’s highest point and have set up a radio studio in the local heritage centre.
Bere Island was recently awarded a temporary broadcast licence form the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland which allow them to broadcast for 30 days this year which they’ve decided to break into three hour slots every other Sunday.
John said anyone is welcome to be part of the station either in programming or presenting: ‘We’re encouraging everyone to come along and undertake some basic training, and get involved. We’re working with the Community Radio Forum of Ireland (CRAOL) and can offer training to anyone who is interested in joining us. It’s a fantastic resource for Bere Island and the whole of Beara.’