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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

WLR FM Logo since late 2013.png
Broadcast areaWaterford City and County, Ireland
Frequency95.1fm / 97.5fm / 94.8fm
SloganWe Are WLR
Language(s)English, with dedicated Irish Language programme and occasional Irish spoken on other programming
FormatAdult contemporary with local news, sports and specialist programmes
OwnerThe Irish Times / Des Whelan
Beat 102 103
Cork's Red FM
Absolute Irish Radio
First air date
Sept 8th, 1989
Webcast [1]

WLR FM or "WLR" (Waterford Local Radio), licensed since 1989 (WLR had previously been a pirate radio station) by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, is the local radio station covering Waterford City and County. In addition to the official franchise area, the station also enjoys a considerable listenership in South County Kilkenny and East County Cork. WLR broadcasts on three frequencies: 95.1 MHz for most of the county (and a low-power transmitter also on 95.1 MHz for Waterford city centre), 97.5 MHz for Waterford city and much of East Waterford, and a low-power transmitter on 94.8 MHz to cover the East Waterford coast.

On 10 October 2019 and again on October 2 2020, at the IMRO Radio Awards 2019 & 2020, WLR was named Ireland's Local Station of the Year two years in sucession.[1] On 1 September 2018 WLR launched a new Country and Irish digital radio station Absolute Irish Radio.


The original WLR, which was a pirate station, launched on 23 June 1978 broadcasting from the garage of Rick Whelan at Killotteran just outside the city. This unlicensed operation was one of the longest lasting in the country and continued for just over a decade until its closure at the end of 1988 – new radio licences were to be awarded by the then IRTC (now BCI) in 1989. WLR, with a number of local businessmen on board formed a consortium to apply for the franchise to broadcast to Waterford city and county. This application had competition from two other applicants, one (Deise Broadcasting Company) involved former pirate ABC Radio and local business people including the Reid family (owners of the well-known 'Egans' licensed premises where ABC was based before its closure), and another application (Waterford Radio/WRFM) which was backed by the then Waterford Foods and The Munster Express newspaper. The IRTC held oral hearings for the Waterford licence at the Tower Hotel in Waterford city on 27 April 1989 where all three applicants presented their case. Shortly afterwards it was announced WLR's consortium was victorious. The licensed WLR FM launched on 8 September 1989 from studios on Georges Street above the Georges Court Shopping Centre in Waterford City. The station broadcast from these studios for many years until the building of the present purpose-built Broadcast Centre, at Ardkeen, Waterford. The station's licence has been unchallenged on subsequent renewals.

The station was 75% owned by Thomas Crosbie Holdings until that company went into receivership in March 2013. The 75% stake was acquired by Landmark Media Investments.[2]

In December 2017, a sale of the 75% stake was agreed to The Irish Times[3] pending regulatory approval. In July 2018, the sale of the station to The Irish Times was complete.[4][5]

Senior Management Team

Title Name With station since
Managing Director Des Whelan 1989
Programme Director Michael Byrne 2001
Financial Director Lena Murphy 2009
Sales Director Neil Gough 2006
Head of Digital Claire Power 2015

Operations Team

Title Name
Managing Director Des Whelan
Programme Director Michael Byrne
News & Sport Editor Julie Smyth
Current Affairs Editor Jennifer Long
Head of Online Content Claire Power
Head of Music Ray C


Weekday Schedule

Daily Programmes
Time Programme Presenter Day
06:00–10:00 The Big Breakfast Blaa Oliver Carroll & Mary O'Neill Monday to Friday
10:00–12:00 Déise Today Damien Tiernan (Produced by Jennifer Long) Monday to Friday
12:00–15:00 The Lunchbox Geoff Harris Monday to Friday
15:00–18:00 Drive-Time Aoibhin Fallon Monday to Friday
19:00–22:00 The Late Show John O'Shea Monday to Thursday
22:00–00:00 Déise Today (Replay) Damien Tiernan (Produced by Jennifer Long) Monday to Friday
19:00–22:00 The Weekend Shift Ray C Friday
Stand-alone Programmes
18:00–19:00 On The Ball Gavin Whelan Monday
18:00–19:00 On The Fringe Geoff Harris Tuesday
18:00–19:00 The Hot Desk Mary O'Neill Wednesday
18:00–19:00 Farmview Kieran O'Connor Thursday
18:00–19:00 Lar Na Pairce Tomas McCarthy Friday
WLR News & Sport
Julie Smyth News Editor
Sinead Aherne Journalist
Aoife Hearne Journalist
Eoghan Dalton Journalist
Nigel Kelly Sports Journalist
Tomas McCarthy Sports Journalist
Matt Keane Sports Journalist
Gavin WHelan Sports Journalist
Kieran O'Connor GAA Match Commentator
Ray Scott Soccer Match Commentator

Weekend Schedule

Saturday Schedule
Time Programme Presenter
07:00–09:30 Saturday Sunrise Seán Organ
09:30–10:00 Farmview (Replay) Kieran O'Connor
10:00–12:00 The Saturday Show Maria McCann
12:00–13:00 On the Ball Nigel kelly
13:00–16:00 The Saturday Jukebox Timmy Ryan
16:00–19:00 Here's Ricky Rick Whelan
19:00–22:00 The Weekend Shift Ray C
22:00–00:00 Saturday Classics Michael Byrne
Sunday Schedule
07:00–10:00 Sunday Sunrise Seán Organ
10:00–12:00 Timmy On Sunday Timmy Ryan
12:00–13:00 Damien Tiernan on Sunday Damien Tiernan
13:00–16:00 The Sunday Jukebox Andy McCloskey
16:00–19:00 Here's Ricky Rick Whelan
19:00–21:00 ShowTime / Mar Dhea Wayne Brown
21:00–00:00 Absolute Irish John O'Shea


Award Winning Station
2020 WLR FM IMRO Local Station of the Year GOLD
2020 WLR FM IMRO Current Affairs Show (Local) GOLD
2020 Damien Tiernan IMRO Speech Broadcaster of the Year GOLD
2020 Big Breakfast Little Stories IMRO Short-Feature GOLD
2020 Damien Tiernan IMRO News Reporter of the Year SILVER
2020 Breast Cancer and Me IMRO Documentary SILVER
2020 YouthQuake IMRO Drama BRONZE
2020 Muintir Na nDeise Oireachtas Media Awards SHORT-LISTED
2019 WLR FM IMRO Local Station of the Year GOLD
2018 Radio GAA GAA IMRO Sports Story BRONZE
2018 WLR FM Drive-Time IMRO New Irish Music SILVER
2017 Billy McCarthy IMRO Hall of Fame GOLD
2017 Terms & Conditions IMRO Drama BRONZE
2016 Kevin Casey GAA McNamee Award GOLD
2016 Back from the Brink PPI Sports Story GOLD
2016 WLR FM PPI Local Station of the Year SILVER
2016 News @ 1pm PPI News Bulletin BRONZE
2016 Michael Byrne PPI Best Live Sound BRONZE
2014 Mar Dhea Ghlor na nGael GOLD
2014 WLR FM PPI Local Station of the Year BRONZE
2014 Deise AM PPI Current Affairs Programme SILVER
2013 WLR FM Love Radio Advertising Awards GOLD
2012 WLR FM PPI Local Station of the Year GOLD
2012 WLR FM Love Radio Advertising Awards SILVER
2010 Kevin Casey GAA McNamee Award GOLD
2009 WLR FM PPI Local Station of the Year GOLD
2009 WLR FM 2 National Advertising Awards GOLD
2009 2008 All-Ireland PPI Radio Awards SILVER
2008 WLR FM PPI Local Station of the Year SILVER
2008 Michael Byrne National Advertising Award GOLD
2007 Des Whelan PPI Hall of Fame GOLD
2007 WLR FM Digital Media Awards GOLD
2007 WLR FM IRS Radio AdvertIsing Awards GOLD
2005 WLR FM Radio Advertising Award GOLD
2005 In My Father's House PPI DRAMA GOLD
2005 Exeter City Nut PPI Sports Programme GOLD
2004 How are EU? PPI Community Focus GOLD
2004 WLR FM IRS Radio AdvertIsing Awards GOLD
2003 Billy McCarthy PPI Current Affairs Programme GOLD
2002 On This Day PPI Short Feature GOLD
2001 Geoff Harris IMRO Fairplay for Airplay GOLD
1996 WLR FM 2 PPI Radio AdvertIsing Awards GOLD
1994 WLR FM 3 National Advertising Awards GOLD


The station has purpose built studios at "The Broadcast Centre", Ardkeen, Waterford City (shared with regional youth station Beat 102 103) and at the Dungarvan studio at The Plaza, Dungarvan Shopping Centre. The Broadcast Centre was opened by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2003 replacing WLR FM's previous studio at Great Georges Street in Waterford City, while the new Dungarvan studio was opened by Head of the BCI Michael O'Keefe (a Dungarvan man) on 10 November 2007 replacing the existing studio at Harbour Bay in the town.[6]

The studios at The Broadcast Centre were revamped in late February and early March 2009, to change to a new playout system, from P Squared, and new microphone and computer monitor stands from Yellowtec.[citation needed]

Notable former presenters (RIP)

  • Tony Weldon RIP (2009) – The well known Waterford entertainer from days past was also a presenter on WLR FM for many years, and was known for his catchphrase "get up out of the feathers". His last show, Sunday Morning Melodies, popular with older listeners, ended in 2003. Tributes were paid to him by many WLR FM staff, current and former including Head of Programmes Billy McCarthy and former presenter Eddie Wymberry, as well as by other Waterford entertainers such as Val Doonican when he died on Sunday 29 June 2009.[7]
  • Billy McCarthy RIP (2016)- Known as "The Voice of Waterford" who first presented The Good News Programme on Saturday mornings on the then WLR pirate station from 1983 to 1988. On obtaining a licence, Billy took over Deise AM from 10am-midday in December 1989. Billy was also Programme Director of WLR from 1989 to 2014. In 2003 he won a PPI Radio Award for Best Current Affairs Programme. He died on 20 November 2016 at the age of 62 after a short illness.[8]
  • Kevin Casey RIP (2017)- A sports editor known for presenting the sports shows "On The Ball" and "Gaelic Ground". He was originally from Glenflesk, Killarney, County Kerry. He has been honoured many times for his work in sport with WLR FM winning a GAA MacNamee award in 2010 for his programme which celebrated the jubilee of Waterford's All Ireland win in 1959. In October 2016, he won a PPI National Radio Award for his programme. He died on 3 January 2017 at the age of 40 after a short illness.[9]
  • Bob Houston RIP
  • Eddie Wymberry RIP (2018)
  • Dermot Graham RIP


  • Paul Renyolds – RTÉ News and Current Affairs
  • Carrie Crowley – RTÉ TV
  • Ian Noctor – RTE Radio / Today FM / TV3
  • Paul Byrne – CEO of Radio Kerry
  • Paul Collins – Today FM Sport
  • Shay Searson – Tipp FM Production
  • Zara King – TV3 News and Current Affairs
  • Lisa Dignam – RTE Radio
  • Gabrielle Cummins – CEO of BEAT FM
  • Andy McCloskey – BEAT 102103 Drive
  • Cephas Power – BA, LLB
  • Julian Walton – Historian
  • Mark Graham – King Kong Company
  • Dermot Keyes – Munster Express Editor

Market share

According to the JNLR 2018-1 National Radio Listenership Survey, WLR FM had an weekly audience reach of 64,000 in Q1 2018.[10]

Technical information

Outside Broadcasting

WLR has an outside broadcast unit known as the "Blastercaster". For indoor outside broadcasts they have a fold-up OB desk equipped with an internet connected laptop (allowing access to email and text messaging in addition to IM), an audio mixer, ISDN equipment, wireless microphones (and other assorted mics). Using the outside broadcast unit or the indoor OB equipment, the live feed from the OB is sent back to the studio via a high speed ISDN telephone line.

Outside Broadcast Unit 2020
Outside Broadcast Unit 2020
Outside Broadcast Unit 2020 2.jpg
Outside Broadcast Unit 2020 3.jpg
Outside Broadcast Unit 2020 4.jpg
Outside Broadcast Unit 2020 5.jpg


  1. ^ "WLRfm is chosen as Local Radio Station of the year- for outstanding achievement in broadcasting". WLR. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009.[dead link]
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "WLR FM Dungarvan is on the move!". The Munster Express. Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2009 – via
  7. ^ Clancy, Michelle (3 July 2009). "Sad passing of broadcasting legend". Munster Express. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  8. ^ "WLR FM announces the death of Waterford's favourite broadcaster Billy McCarthy". WLR FM. Archived from the original on 21 November 2016.
  9. ^ "WLR FM announces the death of Sports Editor Kevin Casey". WLR FM. 4 January 2017. Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  10. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 3 November 2020, at 08:57
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