Morning Focus – Tuesday 10/09/19

Today’s show was certainly a special one as we marked 30 years of being on air.

It was a jam-packed show which began with a review of the front-page newspaper articles from September 10, 1989. Just days before the station launched, Clare had lost the 1989 All Ireland Minor Hurling Final to Offaly, although the team were hailed by that week’s Clare Champion as a ‘New Hope’ for Clare hurling.
One David Fitzgerald was in goal. Conor Clancy started too, and James O’Connor came off the bench – they’d taste success against Offaly six years later of course.
The lead story focussed on concern about Shannon Airport losing out on services to Dublin – some things never change.
The fifth annual World Barbecue Contest had been held in Lisdoonvarna, you could rent a Ford Fiesta for £25 a week, and the most expensive site for a house ever sold at auction in Clare fetched £27,000. That was front-page news in the week which saw the paper report how Clare FM had been launched here at the Old Ground Hotel in front of a “huge and distinguished gathering.”
The launch was conducted by Clare native, and then-President of Ireland, Patrick Hillery.

Throughout the show, we listened back on past audio clips and advertisements. We heard from Clare native and then-President, Patrick Hillery. He described Clare Fm as the type of radio station that would respect the value of customs and traditions while focusing on community activity. 30 years on we feel as though we have done just that.


Susan Murphy the general manager of Clare FM, also popped into us to reflect on how Clare FM began in 1989. At the time Susan was working in London, however, this did not stop her mother from constantly reminding her of this amazing local station back home. Susan mentioned how people were reluctant to give local radio a chance at this time. In a world with no laptops, mobiles, google maps, she wondered how they survived, but they did! Susan joined the team in 1993 and for the following five years she said it was tough but 30 years later it’s safe to say the hard work of Susan and the team at that time paid off.

We welcomed the Bishop of Killaloe, Fr. Fintan Monahan, as he congratulated Clare FM on 30 years on air. He highlighted the value of Religious services within the radio, most importantly as a form of communication in regards to aspects such as the death notices. Also Fr. Monahan mentioned how Clare FM does not favour pop music rather a variety of music is played at the station including traditional Irish music which he enjoys, this led us nicely into welcoming our next guests.

The Kilfenora Céili Band joined us in our celebration this morning as they played their music for us on air.

Now, Clare FM’s isn’t alone in turning 30 today. Mullagh native, journalist and communications consultant, Colette Sexton, shares her birthday with us, and the fact that she was born on the same day has lead to her informal christening as ‘The Clare FM Baby’.

We were then joined by Kitty Leyden from Tulla. Kitty is a west Clare native and is among Clare FM’s most loyal listeners. She’s also been a regular guest on shows including the West Wind and Morning Focus. She told Morning Focus Producer Fiona McGarry what the Kitchen Sessions (live trad shows) coming to her daughter’s house in Tulla meant to the family.

Clare’s Senior Hurlers won the Liam McCarthy Cup in 1985, this was particularly memorable for Tulla’s Kitty Leyden.
She spoke recently to Morning Focus Producer Fiona McGarry to share her own highlights from the last 30 years. She’s a loyal listener and has been a regular guest. Her appearance on air includes one from 1985, when she told Clare FM how the big win for the hurlers was (literally) a dream come true for her.

The Kilfenora Céilí Band spoke to us further toward the end of our show. They highlighted certain aspects which 30 years ago had not been heard of on National Radio, traditional music being a massive one which was not recognised nationally on air but also particular accents were unheard of on National Radio. As a result, they commented on how fabulous it was when Clare FM came along as they pushed through these boundaries in radio. A beautiful rendition of ‘Clare My Heart My Home’ closed this special edition of Morning Focus.

Huge thank you is due to all of our listeners past and present, here’s to another 30 years and beyond on air.

Listen back to our birthday special below: