By Michael Fox
After 14 years of continuous broadcasting Irish Country Music Radio has established itself as Ireland’s leading dedicated online Country and Irish music station, with a loyal growing listenership worldwide, and a good rapport with artists whose music is played on the station. The station’s programmes, attract a listenership, in Ireland and elsewhere, particularly in the UK, the US & Canada, Continental Europe, and Australia & New Zealand.
The station’s headquarters is located in King’s Island, in the heart of Limerick city, adjacent to the Shannon and Abbey rivers. ICMR operates on a “not for profit” basis through a network of voluntary presenters based in Limerick and in satellite studios around Ireland, in the UK, and Australia, and this network is currently being expanded.
The station was started as a “hobby pastime” by Limerick City-based Pat Garrett Butler and his son Mark With the popularity of its musical output coupled with the development of internet radio generally as an entertainment medium away from conventional radio, the station quickly became the only 24/7 dedicated online Country and Irish music station broadcasting from Ireland. It is now the premier online station of its type in Ireland with its very substantial listenership. ICMR enjoys a very good ranking in the world league of “niche” online Country music stations.
The station’s output (live and recorded programmes, and a running jukebox), uniquely, is broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year. Listeners worldwide enjoy the station’s programmes on their computers, tablets, other smart devices, and internet radios. The station’s jukebox and support for technical matters is maintained in Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim
Many regular listeners to the station consider themselves part of the “ICMR family of listeners”, and enjoy live inter-action with presenters through Facebook and other social media, as part of their daily routines. The station fulfils a particular role in inter-acting with listeners whom, for one reason or another, may be alone, and for whom ICMR, and its presenters, provide contact and friendship. This was significant during Covid 19 and related “lockdowns”.
The station’s objectives are to produce and present quality music programmes for listener enjoyment. The “hub” studio in Limerick, and programme presenters, maintain their own musical libraries and “jukeboxes” to facilitate this, and they are required to maintain their studio equipment and internet connections to a good standard. ICMR invites applications from presenters with the ability to produce and present programmes embracing the music genres promoted by the station.
The genres promoted are, essentially, Irish & American Country, Folk & Ballads, Traditional Irish and music from the Irish Showband era. There is particular emphasis on giving new “up and coming” artists exposure that they may not enjoy with other conventional radio stations, national and regional, in Ireland. This has been an ongoing major objective of the station. Listeners have opportunity to request particular artists and songs/music. Requests can be submitted via the station website, through Facebook, or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The station held a first, and very successful, Awards Night in Athlone in 2014 with attendance on the night including listeners whom had travelled from overseas. Awards in various musical categories were presented to established artists from the Irish Country music scene, and, importantly, to talented up and coming artists.
A second, unique, Annual Awards took place in 2015, with ICMR presenters visiting venues throughout Ireland where Award Winners were performing, to present their Awards to them “on stage” in front of their audiences. As the station’s 15th anniversary approaches plans are already being formulated for the celebrating of, in a fitting manner, this milestone in the station’s operation.
The station’s website, www.irishcountrymusicradio.com, contains much information, and a “listen live” facility.