Sunday, 18 January 2009

Radio Nowhere?

Like the buses you wait an hour for and then three arrive at once, I'm lucky to be back on the airwaves this week not once, not twice, but thrice.

I began this evening on Radio Tallaght, a new Community Radio initative broadcasting from the new Rua/Red building beside the Council Offices and the Civic Theatre in Tallaght. Radio Tallaght is run by Tallaght Community Arts, that fine organisation who do so much across the arts in Dublin 24, along with the Tallaght Radio Forum, a group of community radio activists.

Having worked for a few months a few years ago in Newstalk - unpaid I hasten to add - and done a few radio shows, I was delighted with the professionalism of the set up. Radio Tallaght will be broadcasting for six weekends this year, and we rounded up the January broadcast with a quiz between local politicians and students.

To my mild amusement I was on a team with Fianna Fáil's local TD, Charlie O'Connor, and Fine Gael Cllr for Tallaght South, Karen Warren, competing against three Tallaght IT students.

The show was hosted by Eoin Sweeney of RTÉ Radio and Newstalk fame. A number of times he referred to me keeping the red flag flying, a phrase I can be partial to myself, but one which sturck me as unusual from a radio presenter - until I found his profile on the website for the Bread and Roses project, which I suppose brought the 'Red Flag' song back to the Irish left.

Despite being up against three students well versed in quizzes, 'we' managed to triumph by three points. I found it a little awkward being on a team of politicians, given that I don't see myself as one, but liking the odd quiz myself, I acquitted myself respectably, even managing a few political jibes in between the questions :)

One nice moment was during a question on the meaning of 'Tamhlacht,' an Ghaeilge ar Tallaght. With the students getting it wrong, the question was passed to our team. The so-called 'Mr Tallaght,' Charlie O'Connor TD, insisted it meant 'black stone,' but my interests in local history meant I pushed for 'burial mound.' I felt a little bad slagging Charlie off after my answer was accepted but all in good fun and all that...

I'm looking forward to the next broadcast from Radio Tallaght in March, whose diverse programming really shows up a lot of the commercial nonsense we hear on the airwaves.

It's the first of three radio programmes for me this week. Tomorrow - Monday - I am speaking about my candidature, the Labour Party, education and the economy on 103.2 Dublin City FM (formerly Anna Livia) from 1.30-2pm on the 'Student Talk' show with two local secondary students. You can hear it online at

And to round up the radio appearances - surely that word can't be right - beidh mé ar Raidió na Life ar oíche Dé Máirt idir 6 agus 7, ag caint faoin feachtas Obama agus an baint a raibh agam leis i Virginia. With Obama's inauguration leading the news, I'll be speaking about my involvement in the Virginia campaign between 6 and 7pm with Paul Mulville. You can tune into it at 106fm or listen live at .

Off now to the Foclóir Béarla-Gaeilge to find out the Gaeilge ar 'inauguration' anois...