By Roshni D’Souza
A recent study done by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) found that 70% of youth in Ireland (aged 15-34) would listen to an Irish-language radio service if it had content targeted to them. This study shows an interest among the youth in more Irish-language radio services.
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD said she encourages more Irish-language content targeted towards the youth.
“It is, however, important that we understand not only how young people engage with audio content, both on FM and online, and the level of interest in a new Irish language service, but also what they want from such a service and what is must deliver for them,” she said in a public statement last week.
Less Advertising Might Help
Lillis O’Laire, author and Irish literature professor at the University of Galway, said he doesn’t know how Irish language radio stations would compare in terms of listenership to English language ones.
“It would depend on whether there was advertising. I have read recently that young people would like an ad-free space so that if they were to have it with pop music and no ads, they wouldn’t care too much about the Irish language either way,” he told Galway Pulse.
He also said there wouldn’t be a problem looking for Irish-speaking radio hosts because of the growth in Irish medium education in the country since the 70s.
“Irish has become more creolized because of the growth of Irish medium education. Despite some disapproval, this level of more informal English-influenced Irish has begun to become acceptable. Raidió na Life has been to the forefront in this matter,” he said.
Irish Speaking Hosts are Interested
The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media (TCAGSM) responded to questions about the press release, saying that having Irish radio show hosts won’t be as difficult.
“The experience with current radio services in Irish has shown that there is a consistent interest among Irish speakers in securing opportunities in radio broadcasting, especially among young people, whether on a voluntary or professional basis”, the department said.
“Indeed, this can often be a pathway to a career in broadcasting whether in Irish-language, English-language or bilingual services. It can be argued that being fluent in both official languages provides greater opportunities in broadcasting services which might not be available to those with English only,” they added.