Public Service Podcasting

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.

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17 Comments on “Public Service Podcasting”

  1. annette Says:

    Congratulations Conn. This is fantastic news – I heartiy endorse Paul’s comment and it appears that the BCI does also..


  2. FANtastico! Congratulations Conn. Well deserved. Again you’ve shown everyone else what can be done.


  3. Well done, Conn! Marvelous news. Look forward to hearing the fruit of your work.


  4. So very cool! I’d be interested in knowing how you’re measuring your listening audience because that’s the acid test question of a sponsor in waiting.


  5. Thanks all!

    Bernie, I’m not measuring the podcast audience very effectively I’m afraid. Not really sure what kind of metrics are important to sponsors. I’m considering signing up for Feedburner pro like you have done to see if the statistics are more useful.

    However, this isn’t podcast sponsorship I’m looking for – it’s radio! The plan is to syndicate on as many as 10 radio stations around the country.


  6. Well done Conn, that’s teriffic news. I only wish there was an English language version of the show 😉

  7. Gary Says:

    comhghairdeas a chonn, go n-éirí go geal leat, leis an bhfiontar seo. Agus mar chuid de na Gaeilgeóirí leithlisithe táim ag súil go mór leis.


  8. Well Done. I am only sorry that you did not get enough to do all that you want. I hope you get a White Knight to bankroll the project. An eBay auction of advertising slots?
    Brendan

  9. Kay Says:

    Táim ag rince le háthas, a Choinn.

    Go n-éirí go geal leat.


  10. […] In other good news Conn Ó Muíneacháin has announced that he will have a new Irish language radio show on Flirt FM, Galway (and probably elsewhere) revolving around social networking tools. This is one of those rare occassions where a podcaster moves into the mainstream media but if anyone in Ireland was going to do it it was always going to be Conn. the show sounds quite interesting; it will be broadcast on radio, via podcast have its own blog, wiki, mailing list and possibly bulletin board too. What’s even cooler is that it will be (part)funded by the BCI Sound and Vision scheme which makes Conn the first podcaster to recieve licence fee funding! Another well done there (do you know how hard it was to not say CONNgratulations? Oh, damn). […]


  11. Conn,

    I’m delighted with this news. Because the entrenched Irish Language Industry has done such a poor job at promoting the language anything that encourages people to want to use their national language should be applauded.

    This is spoken as somebody who did their Leaving Certificate through Irish and would do so again, but prefers the Carrot (encouraging the Love of Irish) rather than the stick (make everybody learn it, including those who have absolutely no interest).

    As for the licence fee , do I send you the cheque directly , or go the normal route via An Post? 🙂

    Paul


  12. […] A while back , I wrote about wanting to give my TV Licence fee to An T-Imeall. Now in some great news for Public Service Podcasting, it turns out that I can. This makes Conn Ireland’s first public service podcaster , and possibly one of the first 10 worldwide. […]


  13. […] Another well done to Conn Ó Muíneacháin who got funding for a new radio series. Blogger, podcaster, radio producer and great role model. The blurb about his new show: 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. […]

  14. Sarah Says:

    “Irelands first public service podcaster” I like that a lot! Well done Conn.

  15. brendan Says:

    Onward and upward! 🙂


  16. […] Podcasting in Ireland is really on the up as of late; for example Conn’s great news on BCI funding has been bolstered by the news that Raidio na Life will also be broadcasting his upcoming social media show “An Líonra Sóisialta”. Plenty of other worthwhile podcasts have been making their mark across the community too, it will never match blogging for its ease of use but there’s certainly a justification in it; IE.PODcast being just one example. […]


  17. […] Since we moved house two months ago, I’ve struggled to publish a daily podcast without even a telephone in the house, not to mind broadband. With the launch of An Líonra Sóisialta next month it could not be sustained under those conditions. […]


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