By James Reddiough
When I was young, people loved to hear the radio and if they did not have one in their own home they would go to the neighbour’s house to hear the news. They loved to hear Take the Floor and Ceili House or indeed the Sunday GAA match where the clear familiar voice of Micheál Ó hÉithir would follow the action.
Radios became more common when rural electrification came along. Before that there were the battery radios with the dry and wet battery, one of these the wet battery had to be brought to the shop in town to be charged and this meant that the radio was only turned on a few times a day to hear the news and a music programme or to hear the match on Sunday.
Imagine the scene on a Sunday afternoon when the big match was on. The men and boys would gather from far and wide to the neighbour’s house to gather around the window where the radio would be placed. They would hang on every word of the commentary of Micheál Ó hÉithir as the action of the match unfolded.
In the evenings they would gather to hear Take the Floor with Dinjo and the Céilí House too. There would be the finest of music and dance as well as singing. There were dance classes on the radio too with Denis Fitzgerald as he took them through the steps of a dance routine or set and the listener would be encouraged to take to the floor. It made for a lively evening’s entertainment. There were sponsored programmes at the time too and they lasted 15 – 20 minutes.
Radio continues to be a popular form of entertainment and source of information to this day. Local and community radio is especially popular in more recent times. It is possible for people all over the world to tune into local radio via the internet and this keeps people in touch with the homeland no matter where they are in the world. It is still good company to this day. The radio is on 24/7 now and there is a good choice of channels to tune into. There is access to radio via digital sources and the worldwide web as radioland grows and grows each year with the ever – increasing technological advances that are in the world.
Despite the growth in popularity of TV in 1962 and for the next decade radio continued to have a wide and varied listenership and continues to have to this day. It is informative and interesting and you can close your eyes and imagine and visualise the scenes as described by the broadcaster or presenter of the programmes. Farmers, tourists, commuters and fishermen, among others, depend on radio for weather and shipping forecasts.
Also the radio caters for a broad range of musical and cultural tastes in general, and there is a nice blend of modern and traditional programmes. There are music shows, arts programmes, farming programmes and the joys of nature and the outdoors as well as news bulletins, current affairs weather and the traffic reports; all of these are very important. Sport is a major part of the radio schedule at the weekend too.
Late night radio is a sheer delight for people who like to tune in and sit up late before they retire for the day. Some of the popular Radio programmes from times gone by include: The Kennedys of Castleross and Harbour Hotel, The Angelus, Take the Floor, The Thomas Davis Lecture Series, Programmes for Children, and Living with Lynch.