The Future of The London Ear

Close up of the knobs on an audio mixer

So it was my birthday last week. I also happened to be at home in Ireland when I got a WhatsApp from my friend with a link to a news report that RTE 2XM was to be no more. This was confirmed the following morning, my birthday, by our Station Editor. For some reason, there was a bit of inevitability about it, once 2XM came off DAB, I had often wondered how long the station would last.

(Spoiler – I’m not going to let that stop me!)

RTE 2XM to close

I don’t know how long the station will remain on air but for now, I intend to play as much Irish music and speak to as many artists as possible. RTE 2XM has been an amazing outlet for Irish musicians. A ‘6 music for Ireland’, I remember someone called it, which leads me to where I point out some concerns.

If there isn’t a public service broadcaster, with the remit of promoting new and alternative music, with a focus on Irish music, where will Irish musicians get airplay? With many independent stations just having an hour or two of scheduled Irish music shows a week, how are the new artists going to get heard? Where will they get a platform to ‘break through’ to the mainstream? Supplying listeners with playlists is great but it’s the presenters that separate radio from Spotify. With a playlist, you’re directing the already converted. Even artists saying that they got played on RTE is a big thing for them. RTE, the national Irish broadcaster.

The same can be said for radio presenters. In days gone, there were pirates to cut your teeth in. There are still independent online stations, obviously, but DAB or online stations like RTE 2XM or Pulse could also be a training ground for the next set of RTE FM presenters. It’s silly to take that away.

The Future of The London Ear?

I’ve presented shows on RTE 2XM since July 2011, yup, that long. And, The London Ear since I moved to LDN in September 2013. I’ve always been very grateful for 2XM and the platform RTE has given me.

I’m not sure there’s anything else around like The London Ear. There are lots of us Irish outside Ireland and, there are a whole lot of talented Irish people in music and the arts around the world who have stories to tell. As I’ve previously said, I don’t know how long we’ve got left. But, we’re still on air. There are still stories to be told and songs to play, I can help get them out there. That was my ethos to start with, it still is.

One way or another, I’m determined to keep The London Ear alive and to continue to support creatives, and musicians, including and especially those who are Irish. I’d love to see a reprieve, but I’m not sure that will happen. I am determined to either find or create a platform to continue.

As always, thank you for listening.

Listen Live to The London Ear on RTE 2XM every Saturday at midday. You can find an archive of all episodes of The London Ear here and on Mixcloud.