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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019
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Tributes paid by Irish music lovers as TXFM marks its last day on air

Former presenters have spoken of their sadness at the closure.

WHEN THE FINAL track is played on TXFM tonight, it’s the last song that will be ever heard on the alternative station.

News broke in March that the station had not applied to have its broadcasting licence renewed, meaning it would have to go off air this month.

TXFM has been running for over two years and had six full-time employees.

Writing for TheJournal.ie, the station’s former CEO Peter McPartlin said:

It is sadly ironic that at a time when ‘indie music’, both international and Irish, has rarely been more diverse, interesting and talent-laden, that the industry is losing one of the few outlets that has helped promote, encourage and generate sales for artists involved in it.

The station had been known as Phantom 105.2 – which was originally a pirate station before getting a permanent licence in 2006 – and underwent a rebranding in 2014.

Journalist Nadine O’Regan, who presented the Songs in the Key of Life show on TXFM (which recently moved to Today FM), penned a tribute to the station today:

This time tomorrow, TXFM won’t exist anymore. Some people might say that means TXFM has been a failure. And maybe, commercially, that’s a valid argument (the radio station is closing because, in challenging times for rock radio, the backers chose not to renew its licence). But for me, spiritually, nothing could be further from the truth.
Why? Because for ten whole years, in both its TXFM and earlier Phantom 105.2 incarnations, these two little Dublin radio stations fought with all their might to bring indie-rock music to the masses; to offer an alternative station for indie kids (and their older incarnations) who wanted to hear music that was genuinely surprising and different on their airwaves.

O’Regan pointed out that “Irish bands who might have gone under survived and prospered because of TXFM and Phantom”.

Music fans went to gigs because of music they heard on both stations. Band bookers for big TV shows checked out the tunes on TXFM and Phantom. Even big-name presenters often admitted privately that they were listening to TXFM and Phantom.

Added O’Regan: “Sure, things weren’t perfect. We argued about the playlist. We argued about the presenters’ right to choose songs. We worried about direction. But we always knew that everyone’s heart was 100 per cent in the two stations. We know this even now, because as the station closes and people go off in their different directions (I’ve been very lucky to have been given a perch at deadly sister station Today FM), we still care.”

In April, Joe Donnelly – presenter of the station’s drivetime show TXFM Drive – published a tribute to the station.

“The most satisfying aspect was the relationship with listeners, and I really had no idea how strong this was until I had the horrible task of announcing the bad news on Wednesday evening,” he said.

People talked about how the station got them through their day or their job or their commute. How we helped them through a tough time in their lives. People talked about how we were ‘the best friends they’d never met’.

Yesterday, musician John Grant, who had appeared on the station a number of times, turned up to surprise presenter Claire Beck while she was live on air:

Source: TXFM 105.2/YouTube

That a star like John Grant would call into the station was proof of the impact TXFM had on those it supported.

The station’s Twitter feed has also been filled with tributes and supportive messages from regular listeners:

In an op-ed written for TheJournal.ie, the station’s former CEO Peter McPartlin said that the station’s closure marks a sad moment for Irish music fans.

“Radio is also still one of the most powerful platforms for any new or established artist to have their work heard at scale and frankly, put in danger of being purchased,” he said.

“Irish radio needs a station that can act as a champion for new artists from both Ireland and abroad; one which provides an outlet for the wealth of new voices, musicianship and production talent that exists but not given wider exposure.”

Do you have memories of your favourite moments on TXFM? Share them in the comments.

Read: There is a light that never goes out: Why we still need an alternative music radio station>

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