By Ashley Farnie
Assistant Music Director
College radio holds a special place in my heart after being involved with KTSW for three years. Upon travelling to Ireland to study for the summer I wanted to ensure I had some dose of music to balance my studies of Irish Literature and Mythology. I checked out a guitar from the Cork County Library to play in my dorm apartment and met with the Faculty Advisor for University College Cork’s student radio station, UCC98.3.
As part of both the music and programming staff at KTSW, I wanted to see how college radio operates in another country. With a staff of one student director and a handful of volunteer DJs, UCC’s 98.3 runs a smaller operation than stations in the States.
Operating a 60% talk radio station, UCC98.3 shuffles playlists curated by the faculty advisor and volunteer DJs when talk segments are not programmed. To maintain consistent programming, the station will replay segments from the day’s live DJ sets afterhours.
UCC98.3’s leisurely summer schedule allowed me to have a weekly DJ set, much like my schedule here at KTSW. Without the requirements for Public Service Announcements, legal IDs, or weather breaks, the Irish airwaves gave me the freedom to maximize the hour and pack in as much music as I could. I took advantage of this programming freedom, cracking the mic after each track spun.
For my month-long DJ residency with UCC98.3 I themed each week, ensuring my programming was relevant to the location I was broadcasting in, as well as my friends tuning in online from the States. For my first week of programming, I themed my show as a crash course of Irish music I am familiar with across the ocean. Before traveling to Ireland, I researched Irish musicians and bands categorized within my favorite genres as well as shows I would have the opportunity to catch while in the country.
Before my stay in Ireland, I had a M(h)aol concert in Kinsale and All Together Now Festival marked on my calendar. I studied the Irish music scene and cultured myself with the country’s current indie scene, harkening back to post-punk influences like ’90s band Whipping Boy. I wanted local listeners to become aware of the musical impact Ireland has in the States. Check out the above playlist to hear some of my favorite Irish music. While many of the bands were recognizable to UCC98.3’s staff, I was excited to learn I had introduced the station to local acts they had yet to hear of.
After establishing my musical point of reference to my Cork audience, I decided to introduce the locals to the scene I call “home.” Only a few weeks into my study abroad program and my Austin, TX playlist made me homesick – I am so very happy to call the music capital of the United States “home.”
I wanted to expose Cork radio listeners to the diverse scene in the city, ranging from side projects of local artists, acts who have made it big in the industry since beginning in Austin, and featured production assistance. While it hardly scratches the surface of the local scene Austin has to offer, my playlist incorporates an array of alternative music climbing the ranks in the city.
Honing in closer to the 78666, my final show at UCC98.3 focused on the San Marcos music scene. A playlist of musicians I am proud to share as a portrayal of the city Texas State University resides in. KTSW’s local music department remains active and involved in the local scene, spinning artists on-air and booking bands for sponsored shows. The flexibility of UCC98.3’s programming allowed me to share ample information about each track, giving me time to brag about the bands I am fortunate to call friends.
Nearing the end of my time in Cork, my final on-air shift at UCC98.3 made me appreciative of my time experiencing the airwaves in Ireland, but hopeful to return to the lively central Texas scene – and my family at KTSW89.9.
My voice lives on in Cork through various station advertisements, and my experience made me realize I cannot remain sane more than 30 miles south of Austin, TX.
If you’re interested in experiencing the majority-talk radio produced by UCC98.3, stream online here.
Written by: Hannah Walls