Belfield FM are planning to broadcast for 20 weeks during the new academic year. The radio station will broadcast online for an additional 20 weeks than last year, bringing their time on air to 26 weeks. Belfield FM Technical Manager, Graham Harkness explained that he hopes to obtain status as a full-time radio station.
“The station isn’t doing a leap… from a temporary station to a full-time one” stated Mr Harkness. “Last year’s main purpose was to get the station up technically and get a code of practice for our shows where we’ll be able to do a full time radio station. This year will be about managing the station both linguistically and financially”.
Belfield FM Production Manager, Eoghan Ó’Braonáin was confident that the station would obtain a full time license, describing the extended air time as “the best chance we’ve ever had”.
“It’s all about having the manpower and motivation” explained Mr Ó’Braonáin. “The way the full time application license works is we’ll apply for a license sometime around February. We probably won’t know until August. If we can do ten weeks, we can do twenty weeks”
The station strategy to cope with the increased airtime was to restructure its management committee.
A Production, Technical and Marketing manager have replaced the traditional Station Manager position, a move Mr Harkness felt was necessary.
“Doing six weeks in the year is fine if you have only one station manager running the station and then concentrate on academia for the other week. You can’t run a radio station with a station manager working over 100 people with over forty shows a week [and then] having to take care of the shows.”
Echoing Mr Harkness, Mr Ó’Braonáin feels that “because there’s three of us, it takes a lot of pressure off. The greater you divide things down and give people more responsibility for what they’re doing, the less pressure there is. When you’re running a station like this for twenty weeks, you need people”.
Belfield FM had experienced various difficulties over previous years. The station was unable to go on air for a scheduled broadcast during the 2006-07 term. Additional problems emerged when the station relocated from a port-a-cabin, situated near the Student Centre, to a new studio in the Library building.
The run of problems encountered by the station prevented managers from applying for a full broadcasting license. Belfield FM is due to begin broadcasting on October 6th.