Downtown Radio in 1979 

7 October 2017

Downtown Radio・16 March 1976

Downtown Radio (Community Radio Services Ltd), Kiltonga Radio Centre, PO Box 293, NEWTOWNARDS, Co Down, Northern Ireland
Tel: 0247 815555 (Sales: 0247 815151; News: 0247 815211)

Directors N Kennedy (Chairman); D Alexander; D Birley; J T Donnelly; J P Hinds; G Lavery; H A Nesbitt; J C G Rodgers; E B Walmsley; J S Long.

Officers Ivan Tinman (Chief Executive); Colin Lecky-Thompson (Programme Controller); Gavin Crothers (Company Accountant and Secretary); Brian McCusker (Chief Engineer); David Sloan (Head of News and Sport); Alastair McDowell (Promotions Manager).

IBA Local Advisory Committee for Independent Local Radio in Belfast Miss Moira Seale, MBE (Chairman); Brian Carlin; Cllr S J Cowan; J Ford-Smith; Cllr H McLean; Cllr T Patton; Mrs Elsie Rice.

David Sloan, Head of News, David Hannon, former Managing Director and Tony Fleck, the IBA’s Regional Officer for Northern Ireland, discuss the quality of transmissions with Brian McCusker, Chief Engineer (right), on the first day of parliamentary broadcasting from Westminster.

Downtown Radio in its second full year on air has maintained the large audiences built up over the first year. Despite the ever improving situation in Northern Ireland the regular news and information service continues to hold a wide cross section of the listening public.

A detailed survey of musical tastes carried out in advance of broadcasting led to a musical sound which is a judicious mixture of popular, ‘pop’ and particularly Country and Western music. Irish originated music from the folk scene right across the spectrum and including Irish country music, has also been included and has helped to retain sizeable listening audiences even during main television viewing times.

A major element of programme planning has been the continued use of the company’s radio cars to take programmes out into the community and to meet the people. This is particularly important with the security situation in Northern Ireland making it difficult for the station to hold open house for the general public.

On the serious current affairs side the weekly Dial Downtown series has given listeners the opportunity to phone in and discuss with experts subjects as diverse as central heating and the Open University. The Northern Ireland Office has also volunteered to arrange for Ministers of State to come in and discuss their Departmental responsibilities directly with the public, dealing with health and social services, housing, farming and the decision to change over to comprehensive education.

Unsuspecting visitors to the station with specialised knowledge or interesting personal histories are likely to find themselves on air in either the morning or afternoon programmes.

Sports coverage has been extensive, featuring over thirty different games or pastimes, and the catchword ‘take your “tranny” to the match’ has been welcomed by sports authorities who feel that this indicates that Downtown’s primary purpose is to add to the public’s information wherever they may be rather than to encourage them to stay at home as a slave to the talking machine.

Since the very earliest days the station has concentrated on ‘selling’ vhf and stereo as the best way to listen to radio; special attention is drawn to stereo through a regular spot on the late evening Sunday show and again a number of programmes in the Dial Downtown series.

IBA Transmitters
VHF Transmitter
(FM with stereo capability)
Black Mountain (NGR: J 278 727)
96.0 MHz
Max erp 1 kW
Circular polarisation
Aerial ht. 1748 ft aod

MF Transmitter
(medium wave, mono only)
Knockbreckan (NGR: J 372 675)
293 m (1026 kHz)
Transmitter power 1 kW

Air Date: 16.3.76

VHF COVERAGE. The map shows the area within which most listeners should obtain satisfactory mono reception on VHF and, with adequate aerials, good stereo reception. Medium wave coverage is designed as far as possible to match VHF.

Predicted coverage

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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