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Belfast gets community FM radio service for “over 55s”

A scene from the BBC 2 "Belfast FM" series. Are these muppets over 55?

A scene from the BBC 2 “Belfast FM” series. Are these muppets over 55?

Northern Irelanders in the second half of their fifty-something years will soon have their own FM community radio station. The United Kingdom’s Ofcom agency says that “Belfast FM” will provide community radio “for people aged 55 and over in the City of Belfast.” The station is one of five applications that just got a green light from the broadcast regulator.

Here in the United States we more informally authorize such over 55 services. We just call them Classical, Big Band, Country, and Bill O’Reilly radio stations. As a card carrying 58 year old, I’m a bit touchy about these matters, especially since I picked up a copy of Game of Thrones, which begins as follows:

“Gared did not rise to the bait. He was an old man, past fifty, and he had seen the lordlings come and go.” Ouchie. Pass the pudding, I guess.

All tenderness aside, the over 55 group is a demographic to which Ofcom pays close attention, especially since its denizens tend to lag when it comes to broadband and mobile adoption. Some folks in the designated area may find Belfast FM a bit confusing at first. There’s a rather youngish looking band called FM Belfast. And BBC 2 ran a cute muppet series for a while called Belfast FM, about “DJ Steeky” and “Pablo,” who operate an “anarchic pirate radio station, Belfast FM, from a high-rise tower block in the city.”

But I’m sure Belfast Over 55s FM will turn out fine. I’ll even tune in when it gets going. And the envelope please for the other four license awards . . .

Raidió G (Raidió G Teo): ” . . . will serve the Irish language community, and those with an interest in Irish language and culture within the broader English-speaking community, in the Greater Maghera Area in south County Derry.

Bridge FM: “Bridge FM aims to inform, entertain and unite the population of Portadown and the surrounding area, regardless of age, ethnicity, ability or religious/political affiliation.”

Chaine FM: “Chaine FM will provide a community radio service for the population of the Borough Council area of Larne.”

fUSe FM: “fUSe FM’s service will reflect the traditions, language and culture of Ulster Scots in Ballymoney and surrounding areas.”

Licenses last for five years. Congratulations to all five of these terrific projects.

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  1. Report: new UK community radio station launched every 13 days | Radio Survivor - July 5, 2013

    […] for example, Ofcom has just authorized a Belfast signal for residents over 55 years of age and another for the “Irish language community, and those […]

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