Downtown to start broadcasts from city

LONDONDERRY’S local radio stations are to face competition from an unexpected quarter as Downtown Radio announces its intention to start broadcasting from the city.

The Belfast station said a new broadcast pod will go ‘live’ from the Maiden City’s Foyleside Shopping Centre on December 7, 2012, broadcasting several Downtown shows per week and marking the station’s on-going commitment to the North West region.

“The Derry area has always been a great supporter of Downtown and we felt it was important to show our support for the city – especially as 2013 is going to be such an important year,” said Managing Director of Downtown Radio, Mark Mahaffy.

“We’re keen to get involved and show the rest of Northern Ireland what an exciting, vibrant and welcoming place Derry is.

“We would also like to pay tribute to the team at Foyleside Shopping Centre who have shown great vision and enthusiasm in this joint venture.”

Fergal Rafferty from Foyleside Shopping Centre said: “Foyleside is absolutely delighted to welcome Downtown Radio to our Shopping Centre.

“Their new studio, located in our Food Quarter, will add a new and exciting dimension to our shopper experience. Foyleside will be host of much of the 2013 City of Culture programme and this new partnership presents a great opportunity for the Station to get closer to the North West audience and discover some of the great local talent.”

The first broadcast from Foyleside Studios will be on December 7 at 10am, with several Downtown presenters making an appearance, including Big T, Kirsty McMurray, Owen Larkin and Coleraine-based presenter Caroline Fleck who will also host several of her daily shows from Foyleside each week.

Caroline commented: “Being from the North West myself, I can’t wait to start broadcasting from Foyleside - it’s a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase everything that’s great about the city and the wider region – the people, the culture and the craic!

“And with 2013 being such an amazing year for Derry/Londonderry, we couldn’t be more excited to be here!”

The station has been playing a popular mix of chart, classic hits and country music since it first came on air in March 1976 and is Northern Ireland’s second biggest commercial station, after its sister station Cool FM.

Mark Mahaffy concluded: “Our latest audience figures showed an increase of 20,000 listeners compared to the previous quarter which we’re confident is due to the investment we have made in our line-up and content.

“As the only commercial station with a broadcast area covering Northern Ireland, we’re delighted to invest further in our content by showcasing more of the country through our new ‘broadcast pod’ in Derry.”