We Live on Air - Or We Suffocate.

Danny Carthy, John Sheehan, Tony Allen, Phil Coulter, Councillor Willie Penrose, and Johnny Duhan at the meeting in Dail Eireann on Wednesday 28th of September 2016.


On Wednesday the 28th of September I attended the meeting, "We Live on Air" in Dail Eireann. The meeting was organised to garner support from the government to counteract the erosion of Ireland's indigenous music from primetime slots on national radio stations. Labour Councilor, Willie Penrose is supporting the campaign to introduce quotas. If introduced, the percentage of indigenous music played on the radio would increase from the current figure of three to five percent, up to, possibly thirty percent. The umbrella of indigenous music is not limited to the traditional Irish form, it includes folk and other forms of new music, very little, if any, appears on prime daytime slots.
Singer-songwriter, Johnny Duhan, recently published an article in The Independent, outlining the need for "quotas" on commercial radio stations. The article points out that the French Government demanded a forty percent quota on the grounds that their language was under threat from English based popular music. The forty percent was approved by the EU. There is one technicality, Irish culture, for the most part, is expressed through English. The language has long been a part of Irish life and kudos to us Irish for embracing it and creating our own style with it. However, it could be said that our use of English dilutes our Irishness somewhat, technically we're a cultural anomaly. Add to this our geographical position between England and America and it's easy to see that Ireland is influenced by pop music before any other European countries which, consequently, commands a powerful influence over Irish culture.

Read the full article here.
From my own perspective, as a "professional" musician, I am in favour of the introduction of quotas, I believe there is a valid argument to have quotas introduced. Indigenous Irish music is disappearing, beneath the 'boom' and 'wiggle' of music flooding in from outside Ireland. My own music exists on radio thanks to the likes of 'It's All in the Song" by Peter Grogan and Noel Casey's show 'After Midnight" both on DublincityFM  These men actively attend gigs, they interview and highlight musicians. They create a balanced mix on their respective shows. Shows like this keep a line of contact between musicians and listeners who have to seek out indigenous Irish music.

Here's the problem, if we continue to let "world music" dominate our airwaves we are encouraging our young people to accept "popular" music as the standard, subsequent generations will, naturally, accept the same without question, thus, our own music will be banished to the shadows, or worse. We need to have a respectable amount of indigenous music broadcast on primetime slots to re-enforce our culture, to offer hope to those musicians starting out  and mostly to show musicians that their efforts are not wasted or falling on deaf ears....