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Dublin: 17°C Monday 20 September 2021

Phantom FM founder launches new radio station

8Radio.com will go on air 30 March.

Image: 8Radio.com

MUSIC LOVERS ACROSS the country will be treated to a new radio station from next weekend.

And this one has pedigree.

A long-time mission of one of the founders of Phantom FM, 8Radio.com aims to offer a more eclectic mix of tunes to listeners than traditional stations currently provide.

The thought will probably excite many fans of the former pirate station as it was in its hey-day. A young pup operating from a shed in Sandyford, Phantom launched the careers of many of today’s mainstream radio personalities, as well as bringing new music to the masses.

As the station grew up, the wobbly teenage years brought about the official licence it craved but also some problems. Eventually, founder Simon Maher departed the now part Communicorp-owned Phantom FM in 2011. Until then he had worked as the station’s deputy programme director and afternoon DJ.

He had a decision to make. “I wasn’t sure whether to do something else in radio or to move on,” he told TheJournal.ie.

“But I had always wanted to create a station that plays music that people like listening to. It should not be revolutionary for a bunch of people who love music to play what people want to hear.”

The Dublin man, who now moonlights as a teacher by day, asked his students what they now listen to and, almost more importantly, how do they listen to it?

The answer was overwhelmingly “not traditional radio”.

“They said they would listen to online radio or hit shuffle on an iPod. It showed me that people can cope with a bigger selection of music than we give them credit for.”

Maher has been working on the venture for the past nine months and the fruits of his labour will be heard at Whelan’s in Dublin on launch night this Wednesday.

“What should we expect?” Other than domestic wine from a box and sausages on sticks, there will be three bands, a mix of DJs and a chance to meet the people behind 8Radio.

“This isn’t a product of research,” he explains. “It is the product of people who like music and like radio.”

Maher said the team plans to play around with the format for a least a year and “see how it goes”.

“Phantom went in having to raise €1.5 million a year to survive, this is a lot less risky,” he adds.

The station will air on FM in Dublin (94.3), Cork (106.7) and Limerick (105.5) under a temporary licence for 15 weekends beginning 30 March. It will also continue to be available online for about six hours every day from Easter Sunday.

Listeners should expect to hear a mix of Passion Pit, Daft Punk, The XX, David Bowie and KD Lang during the daytime, while night time listening will bring the sounds of Joni Mitchell, Mick Flannery, INXS, Leonard Cohen and more.

A recruitment campaign for volunteer presenters, tech personnel and researchers began earlier this year and there are now 22 people training ahead of the launch.

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