Century Radio was Ireland's first independent radio station, and it came on air on September 4th, 1989 after a series of test transmissions. I'd never been a fan of national stations. The few times I had heardRTE radio, I found it far too Dublin-based and out-of-touch with any of the other cities in the country. With the demise of the pirates, slogans like RTE Radio 2's "Ireland's number one hit music station" became irritating; of course they were - there weren't any others!
Century changed that, and while the overall background of the station is
currently under investigation, I have to say that the station itself proved me wrong. I'd been a great believer in local radio, but the occasional shift to 98.4FM
(Century's Limerick frequency) diluted that a bit. Yes, RLO (the original one) was good, and doing it's job well, but the lack of alternatives meant that as the license holder RLO had to produce a lot of minority programming - Century filled that gap.
It seemed to catch on at UL, as well. Ireland's new national
station seemed to
have a lot of listeners. Unfortunately, the surveys didn't seem to reflect the
grassroots, the Dublin audience didn't take to it, so it was to be short-lived.
I was listening as normal on the way home in the car, listening to Century's news bulletin. I pulled up outside home at 5.58pm, went inside, and switched on the radio to find dead air - Century was gone, and I'd missed the final item in the news bulletin - "As of 6 o'clock this evening, Century Radio will cease broadcasting".
When Century went off air, it was the talk of the canteen at UL. A week or
so later, when Oliver Barry proposed to get it back on air, it was the talk
of the canteen again, alas it wasn't to be.
Century radio was gone.
When the main audio clip completes, click the play button to hear Marty Whelan & Suzanne Duffy on Century's breakfast show