It was a very warm sunny evening in Castlebar back in 1995 when the airwaves crackled to the sound of broadcast "pips" at exactly 6pm. The attention grabbing introduction was followed by a welcome, firstly as Gaeilge and then in English, by Aidan Crowley. CRCfm was "On Air" and community radio in Ireland was launched. Castlebar had led the way with the country's first community radio station.
Over the past 20 years, many voices have come and gone and some have passed on to their eternal reward. The Castlebar station was the first step in a broadcasting career for some while others were involved for the promotion of a particular cause or charity. And that's what community radio does so well. It allows everybody to have their say. There is space for every cause, every voice. Minority music gets an airing and minority groups host their own programmes. Community radio is truly "your station" - owned by the community with no shareholders.
Community Radio Castlebar (CRCfm) will celebrate 20 years of broadcasting from the county town on Tuesday June 30th with a live broadcast from the Upper Plaza at Market Square. The event will begin at 10am and continue until 6pm, with a host of current and past presenters, local politicians, former town councilors, business owners, charity representatives, community groups, members of the public and musicians.
Past broadcasts will be aired over the coming month where you can expect to hear former presenters like the late Nan Monaghan and Willie "The Shoe" McNeely. Teaser soundbytes will be broadcast at the end of all ad breaks, top and bottom of the hour every day, featuring moments from the past 20 years.
Castlebar can be proud of its community radio station and can look forward to many more years of programming that is fast becoming an audio history of our county town.