Paul Browne made some very kind comments about An tImeall some time ago. I didn’t respond at the time – mostly because I was on a blogging go-slow due to moving house – but also because – well, let me get to that in a minute.
Can I give my TV Licence fee to An tImeall? In the last 18 months Conn Ó Muíneacháin has done more for the Irish language via Podcasting than the entire team at RTE, so I’d like him to get my 150 Euro.
Thanks Paul, I’m hugely flattered! :-)
My personal opinion is that RTE’s two Irish language services in particular (Raidio na Gaeltachta and TG4) do a wonderful job with limited resources. In particular, I think it is regrettable that TG4 must resort to a high proportion of imported English language programming to fill the gaps in their schedule.
Not surprisingly, I support the principle of public funding for the production and broadcast of programmes which have cultural and public-service value, but perhaps not commercial value. Traditionally in Ireland this has been the exclusive domain of RTE and and, on the whole, I think they have done well in serving this function.
However, a positive development in recent times has been the acceptance of the idea that public service broadcasting need not be the exclusive domain of the state-owned services alone. The Broadcasting Commision of Ireland now operates a scheme called Sound and Vision which allows independent broadcasters to tender proposals for funding “the production of new television and radio programmes in the areas of Irish culture, heritage and experience and adult literacy”. This has resulted in a number of high-quality productions, in particular on local radio stations around the country.
Sound and Vision is designed to support public service broadcasting only. There is (as yet) no framework for public service podcasting! However, over the course of the past year, An tImeall has developed links with a number of Irish radio stations, and so, last April, I felt encouraged to submit an application to produce a radio series to be broadcast on Flirt FM in Galway.
I’m delighted to be able to announce that my application was successful. Last week, the BCI announced the projects which have been approved and offered funding in the second round of Sound and Vision. One of these is An Líonra Sóisialta (The Social Network), a series of 64 short episodes over 13 weeks, which aims to introduce the radio-listening, Irish-language community to the world of online social networking.
An Líonra Sóisialta will be broadcast on Flirt FM beginning in September. At least one other Irish radio station has also expressed an interest. In keeping with it’s theme, the series will aim to encourage audience participation and so it is hoped, by the time we go on air, that we will have agreements to syndicate the show across a network of independent local and commuunity radio stations in Ireland (and maybe even abroad!)
The ideas for An Líonra Sóisialta were developed based on my experiences with An tImeall, and in some ways it is a successor to it. However, it will differ significantly, primarily in the fact that it is a radio programme, not a podcast. It is designed for people who may have never heard a podcast or posted a message online. It is designed for Irish speakers, both fluent and learners. It will be for school groups and for isolated gaeilgeóiri. It will aim to introduce the larger offline Irish language community to the nascent global community who are already using online social networking to preserve and promote this ancient and vibrant culture.
Of course, each episode will be podcast as well. And the series will have a blog, a wiki, a mailing list and maybe even a message board. I’m also looking for sponsorship, ideally from the Information and Communications Technology sector. (The BCI funding will not cover even half of the costs.) Interested? Get in touch. I think it’s a unique opportunity to raise the profile of an ICT brand in Ireland.
What else? I need web hosting. And I need a logo, any graphic designers want to get involved? If you are a broadcaster and you would like to syndicate An Líonra Sóisialta, get in touch.
When Paul made his orginal post in June, I was too busy to reply, but I also must admit that I did have a superstitious fear that I would jinx my application by talking about it. Now I can say it looks like Paul has got his wish. The Sound and Vision scheme is funded by 5% of the TV licence fee.