The Radio Room

The work IS working!

To mark International Women’s Day, we went along to a Breakfast event at the Facebook HQ in Dublin this morning. Coffee and croissants galore and a fabulous line-up of people from right across the business world with wise words and great tales to tell. Here’s few lessons we picked up this morning, for the day that’s in it!


This was one of the main themes of the morning. The Facebook global business team repeatedly told a room of 200+ ladies that our work IS working. That we are not to loose sight of the great work we ARE doing… and to stop being so different to men when it comes to blowing our own trumpet! Men are particularly good at going for the big gigs. The senior roles. They are more comfortable with their worth. They have more faith in themselves. They don’t use nearly as much energy as us questioning and justifying our position in the home or in society. VP of Global Business Ciarán Quilty told us that not enough women are applying for the big jobs; the management jobs. He wants us to do more of it because he knows that is a very strong chance we’ll get the gig; but he can’t offer it to us if we don’t put our name in the hat.

Lesson 1: Take a deep breath, and jump right in.


The totally inspirational Sinead Burke blew us all away with her keynote speech. My god can that girl make a point! She tells a story, pulls from her experiences, is modest and grateful for all the good things that have happened in her life, and she’s thankful that her disability forced her to think outside the box. To see things from a different point of view. Not to look at who’s in the room… but who’s NOT in the room. Diversity and collaboration breeds success. Quite simply, Sinead is amazing. Make it your business to watch this lady’s first TED talk. She didn’t know it at the time but she said it changed her life!

Lesson 2: Don’t drown in the size of a great opportunity. Grab it by the hoo-ha’s and own it. What’s the worst that can happen?


I thought this sounded odd when I heard it. But by the fifth mention I was loving it! Re-invent yourself. Always. Never settle with a ‘what you know is what you know’ outlook. Trends and ways of working/ living are changing every day. Embrace change.  Don’t let it rattle you. Be curious and willing to learn. That’s what will make you better professionally and personally. It will give you strength you didn’t think you had. Look back now and again to see just how far you’ve come, but don’t look back wishing today was like yesterday. You’ll be very disappointed. 


Lesson 3: The University of Life does exist. Always want to learn… and be curious enough to un-learn what you know, bringing new strengths and opportunities your way.


Happy International Women’s Day to all the wonderful, powerful, inspirational women out there!


Entertainment, real time

Is it just me, or does anyone else only watch Pretty Woman and Willy Wonka at Christmas-time even though it’s available on demand all year round?!


We’re all on the wind down for the Christmas break. Looking back, it’s been a good year. Business has been good this quarter; hopefully a positive sign for next year. Add to that the oodles of new ways for brands to reach people coming on stream every week and we’re in for an exciting 2020! Podcasts are on the up and audio prompt and voice activation are flying.


On demand news and entertainment is part of our daily lives, but at the risk of sounding soft, I absolutely love being part of the community who consumes media in real time. I can call up Die Hard, Pretty Woman or The Sound of Music at anytime of the year… but I have ZERO interest in watching these in March! Anyone else? 

Audiences will tune in in their thousands to Joe Duffy’s Christmas Eve show live from Grafton Street on Radio 1. Families all over the country will make it their business to tune into the Mrs. Brown’s Boys or Eastenders Christmas Day specials. We settle down to listen or watch and it’s sort of comforting to know that millions of people across Ireland and the UK are watching it too. There’s something about that shared experience that keeps us hooked. It’s the same sentiment that radio holds dear. Getting the news first, and at the same time as everyone else. Listening to the same music track as everyone else. The human touch.

Whether you’re listening to Christmas FM this week; or watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ for the 40th time, know that you’re part of a club. And as long as you’re part of that club, you’re never alone.

Music and Entertainment.

Companionship and relevancy.

Real Time. Real Life. 


Merry Christmas!

Siobhan x

Goosebump alert!

“Santa will bring them what they want. This… is from me.”

Can we just take a moment for one of the most beautiful radio ads of all time. 90 seconds of calm. One voice. One story being told. It pulls you in. It grips your imagination. It makes you look back. It makes you stop in your tracks. Listen. Feel.

Here it is. The theatre of the mind in full flight.

Pump the volume up and enjoy.

Thank you Barry’s Tea xx

U2 Choose Radio!

We already know that Irish People LOVE radio; tuning in for over four hours every day compared with just over two and half hours in the UK. It turns out Irish Rock Stars love radio too! Our very own U2 just announced the launch of U2X Radio during a special livestream on stage in Tokyo.

U2X Radio is a new creative partnership between the band and SiriusXM, which will include a dedicated SiriusXM channel and exclusive content available only to SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners.

“Generally when I open my mouth people prefer if I’m singing, but on U2X RADIO, maybe they’ll forgive me the odd interruption…,” joked Bono of the announcement.

Larry Mullen added, “It all sounds exhausting to me but if people really want to listen to us for 24 hours a day, this is the way to do it.”

The band will take to the airwaves with U2X Radio, featuring their music from the last 40 years, never before heard interviews, live concert recordings and surprises from the archive. The Edge boasted “So I get to sit around having a laugh with my musician friends and playing our favourite music. As I always say, I have the best job in the world”.

We think this will be the first in a line of many global music artists whose fans can subscribe to have them in their lives 24/7.

… editor’s head tilts as eyes gaze skyward…

Take That FM. Oh yeah.

(Sorry, darn hackers.)

Voice: our most powerful tool

As we sat in the departures lounge on the way back from an event in Manchester last week, we overheard a lady in the seat behind… “Turn off wifi”. Her phone swiftly followed command and we all heard confirmation that her wifi was now off. She chatted on… “Facetime Deborah” and seconds later, Debs was online! Not one tap or swipe. Just one voice talking. Another one listening. The job gets done. No touch. Just sound. Lovely!

Voice Activation and the world of audio consumption is in full swing. People are using less and less touch commands and replacing it with audio. Weirdly, although you might still feel it odd ‘talking to yourself’ when in the company of your smart phone/ Alexa/ etc, very soon anyone caught twiddling their knob (easy) or heaven forbid even touching a piece of paraphernalia to generate information and audio, will be the ones who feel silly and out of touch. Keyboards, keypads (and twiddly knobs) will very soon be unnecessary. Even touchscreens like this one will have less and less relevance. We’re already pushing keypads into extinction as we ‘tap’ our debit and credit cards, so it’s happening without us even noticing.


(Probably worth mentioning that the lady in the departures lounge was in her thirties so it’s not all Millennials broadening their audio experience. Spotify’s biggest growth area by a country mile is the 35+ age group)

According to Amplify in the UK, 50% of search will be voice activated by this time next year. Technology will continue to disrupt… BUT in change lies opportunity! Peoples’ listening habits will be easier than ever to measure; because the measurement tools are being created at the same time as the listening technology. When radio started out, there wasn’t a single way of tell just how many people were listening. That was half of the fun and intrigue about radio. Thankfully we have come a long way in measuring radio and we can compete on CPTs, demographic targeting, audience reach and OTH. Because measurement is being created at the same time as the platform, it is now easy to target audio listeners in the RIGHT CONTEXT (my new favourite word), making messages relevant to them and reducing waste of messaging… and advertisers’ budgets. 

This is not to take from traditional radio listening… Look how strong radio remains for music consumption! Plus we still appreciate the power of drive time, the school run, business listening and so on. It simply means that we are a breath away from the stage where digital audio can’t be left off marketing plans. Even this big ‘FM’ fan is saying okay, it’s now time to give it wings. It doesn’t disrupt. It simply enhances radio and audio activity. 

It’s probably not for all brands just yet but if you are looking to tap into the voice-activated generation and music/ content listening, digital radio should at least be on your radar.

If you’d like to chat about including digital audio or hear more about how it compliments radio plans, drop us a line!

Smart ads don’t have to be complicated



Have you heard the new radio ad for FREE NOW? 

In case you haven’t, it’s the new name for the MY TAXI app and service – and it’s so simple and clever that we had to give it a shout out! 

The producers managed to get “MY TAXI is FREE NOW” into their 30second ad not once; not twice; not even 3 times. A lovely, powerful 4 times (and they even managed to squeeze in a sneaky fifth spout at the end)! Multiply that by the number of times the ad is running in any given week and that’s HUGE recall and a well-driven message. 

No explanations, no background why they’ve changed the name, no information other than “MY TAXI is FREE NOW”. 

A brilliant example of a dynamite couple: A simple message with a great voiceover artist in the booth and BOOM! A great radio ad.


That’s it. Short and sweet. A quick commercial nod to FREE NOW. Not MY TAXI. They’ve just changed names you know 😉  


The Original Influencers?

There’s just days to go until broadcaster and social media star Doireann Garrihy takes the reins on 2FM’s new Breakfast Show alongside Eoghan McDermott (May 31st). Doireann is no stranger to the airwaves with a very credible radio CV that includes Spin’s Zoo Crew and her first National broadcast on Today FM earlier this year (Boat missed there peeps!)

If you follow Doireann on her social media channels, you’ll probably feel like you know her already. I don’t know what my closest pals had for breakfast… but I DO know that Doireann lives with her sister and soon-to-be brother in law… and her dog is called Bobby. Not forgetting that U2’s Beautiful Day is one of her fav “tzunes”. Juicy stuff eh?!

So who came first? The radio or the social media star? Who are the original influencers?

Research published this year by the European Commission shows that radio is the most trusted medium in Ireland with 68% of Irish people trusting radio ahead of TV (62%), press (47%) and social media (25%).

So if radio is the most trusted medium, that surely means that the on-air personalities are driving this trust?

Social media users see ‘Influencers’ sort of like friends. They let us into their lives; and we let them influence what brands we buy. Marketing genius! The research suggests however (… and not to take from Pippa, James, Vogue – I too love my fix of #OOTD and #GIFT posts) that Radio Presenters have more clout than marketers give them credit for. (Radio trusted by 68% of people v social media trust at just 25%)

So it appears that people have a more authentic ‘friendship’ with radio personalities. Listeners believe what they hear when it comes to familiar voices.

Great news! It’s a mammoth sentiment that good radio is built on.  

National and International brands are investing huge sums of money in social media influencers. Who can blame them looking at these sorts of figures???

… but who’s pulling in the biggest chunk of followers? 

Joe Duffy: 375,000  

Tubridy: 338,000

Ian Dempsey: 181,000

Matt Cooper: 152,000

Tracy Clifford: 147,000

…and the personality out-doing Ireland’s #1 Influencer Pippa O’ Connor???

I reckon that makes Marian a pretty strong influencer! Looking at the fees that the top bloggers pull in for their #AD #SP services, spot rates and media fees for these radio shows suddenly don’t seem too pricey after all. Smart brands still take the hugely cost-effective route to reaching audiences; by using the original influencers to sell products.

One final thought. Although I’d absolutely consider booking a mini-break on the back of a Ray D’Arcy or Alison Curtis endorsement, younger radio listeners need more influencers on air who they can resonate with. Doireann Garrihy is one lady doing just that. I reckon this is the start of a new burst of young radio listeners…

Okay, I lied, HERE’S is my final thought… RADIO STATIONS OF IRELAND (yes, I’m shouting now!), collaborations are king. How about a little more James Patrice, Louise Cooney and Suzanne Jackson on the airwaves?? No matter what we say, this new wave of personalities are grabbing the attention of younger (and older) audiences. Make of them what you will; these people are perfecting the craft of presenting every day on their channels. Maybe there’s there’s something they could bring to yours.

Thanks for listening 😉



Meet Emma Harney. Well-known Entertainment publicist, International Media Buyer and now… a member of the The Radio Room team!

Emma profile photo

Emma is no stranger to the inside of a radio station.

For the past 20+ years, Emma has been a regular visitor in radio stations all over the country, promoting a wide range of multi-platinum selling international and local artists.

Since 2016, Emma has worked on the client side of the business, buying radio advertising, promotions and sponsorships for local, national and international brands; so she knows a good deal when she sees it! 

Emma is our ideas person and has a keen eye for activity that involves more than just ‘spot advertising’. Emma can build , price and execute anything from a tailor-made promotion to an outside broadcast and everything in between!


Over the course of her career Emma has cultivated authentic professional relationships with radio presenters and producers in stations all over Ireland, and she brings a wealth of audio knowledge and experience to The Radio Room.

Welcome aboard Emma!



Feel free to drop Emma a note if you’d like to chat about radio and audio options for your brand!


T. 00 353 (87) 2807019


What does your brand sound like?

To mark World Radio Day 2019 this Wednesday, we thought we’d do something a little different. We can’t really close our ears… so whether we realise it or not, we know the ‘sound’ of lots of our favourite brands without seeing a logo or even hearing its name. There’s one problem here though. There are not enough smart brands showcasing what their business sounds like! 

A study of International companies in 2018 showed that 86% of brands have visual guidelines. However just 17% have audio guidelines! Why would you want your brand to look hot but sound… well, like someone hit the mute button?!

We teamed up with our friends in SoundCrater to bring you a little something that re-enforces the power of Radio Advertising; and how important it is for a brand to have a ‘sound’ – not just a ‘look’. Click on the image below for a listen…

Happy International Radio Day you SOUND bunch!



Alexa versus Radio. Who’s winning?

We welcomed a new addition to the family this Christmas. She’s pretty, low maintenance, no night-feeds and she doesn’t answer back. Okay, so she does answer back but with less ‘lip’ than a toddler. Everyone… meet Alexa!

I’m a little late to the party with a smart audio device in the house but eventually got there. I felt like I was doing the dirt on Robert (my old reliable radio)… I still kind of do. I walk to the kitchen in the mornings and I want to hit the button on my radio. I’m torn! It’s like turning your back on your first-born.. but you can’t have a favourite, right? 

So what’s the big attraction with in-home audio devices? 

Amazon Echo (Alexa), Google Home and the many other audio devices offer fast, hands-free access to music, news, information, weather, and the rest. You simply call its name, tell it what you want and your pretty robot friend will deliver. It feels strange at first. Like you’re talking to yourself. Or an attractive-looking air freshener. And yes, you feel like a right twat when you’re on the phone and you have to interrupt your pal calling from New Zealand to tell Alexa to keep it down. It’s like having another child to shout at. Doh.

You can also use your little virtual friend to connect to other in-home devices. Provided they’re compatible, you can do everything from change a radio station to turn your heating on, dim the lights and so on. It’s pretty magic actually. Although I’m still at a basic level, the possibilities are endless.


43 million Americans own a smart speaker like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. This is 18% of the adult population, in just 2+ years of existence.

Judging by these mammoth figures, it is without a doubt changing the way we consume audio; and the questions about the word ‘Radio’ disappearing don’t seem completely unrealistic when we look a decade or two down the road. However, every country consumes radio and audio differently and although it’s important to keep on eye on trends, we must not get so bogged down looking into the virtual crystal ball that we take the focus of what works for us here and now. If the industry fails at this, there will be fast, pointless plunges in commercial revenues.


Not at all! Surprisingly, the age group engaging most with Alexa and Google Home is 45 – 54!


They are definitely adding another choice to listeners; but no way are they a problem. In fact, podcasting is offering HUGE opportunities to Radio stations to partner on. Irish Radio stations are creating more and more podcasts; and so they should! Irish people love podcasts. Ireland listens to more podcasts per head of capita than the UK, US and Australia! Only countries in Asia are ahead. There is little research to show that they are using this ‘listening time’ to replace radio listening; but it would be naive to think that it is not going to present some form of distraction from radio as it grows.

Journalist Eamon Dunphy and presenter of podcast ‘The Stand’ spoke really positively about audio content at a recent Podcast conference in Dublin. He believes if the audio is right, they’ll listen. Young or old. Podcast listeners also really listen. They find it because they want to listen. They listen mostly on headphones; and mostly from beginning to end. Some podcasts are 1-2 hours long; that’s commercial gold people!

If you’re a brand, radio is still where you need to be RIGHT NOW… but Podcasting is growing in Ireland at a rapid rate and with that, monetising will come. The good news is that with any ‘new’ media that has not been commercialised before, it will be fantastic value until the market can back it up with proper measurement levels. The smart thing to do is upweight radio with Podcasting for a minimal spend; and time placement across personalities/ content/ so that they hear your brand on PJ Gallagher on Classic Hits for example; and again when they tune into PJ’s podcast ‘Dubland’. Wise brands are always looking to ‘follow’ personalities and content. Monetising Podcast activity in Ireland is still slow. Engagement levels are rapidly growing though and the ability to build commercials into podcasts is possible. You’re not missing the boat just yet, but we reckon this time next year, it will be a very strong addition to a marketing plan.


In the few years that in-home devices have been on the market, there’s quite a bit of research on them. One observer’s findings from The Smart Audio Report in 2019 was that a high level of VISUAL consumers are moving to audio.

“Smart speaker owners are turning off their TVs and closing down their laptops to spend more time listening to news, music, podcasts and books — fueling the demand for more  audio content.”

Source: The Smart Audio Report by Edison Research, 2018


Yes and no. Music lovers are streaming more of their own music preferences; but they still go to radio for content, news and variety of music.

So far, streaming has not overtaken radio as a primary engagement platform, nor is it likely to in the near future; particularly in radio-loving Ireland. (That’s a fact; not a cliché or a sales pitch!)
20 years ago, radio was the main decider on a song or artist making it or not. More recently, it’s the other way round. Digital services in America pay royalties to record labels for the use of master recordings. After that, people can stream a song as many times as they like, without affecting royalties to the artists. The data on streaming goes to the Billboard Hot 100 chart (still the primary chart in the US) and the most popular tracks are charted. Because radio is not the only chef in the kitchen any more, “programmers must work hard on content creation to ensure that what they produce cannot be replicated by any of the music streaming services that are pumped out through our in-home devices”.                                                                                                     Dave Hammond, Brainfood Blog at


Put your hands together! AM/ FM radio is without doubt facing distruption from the digital age. To survive, it must innovate, learn from other media and take control in order to hold its unique position with advertisers and audiences. AM/ FM radio will eventually not exist. How far down the line is anyone’s guess; but all radio stations are moving to digital platforms; and this is without a doubt the right thing to do if radio is going to continue to engage audiences and remain a powerful commercial offering for clients.


Apple, Spotify and many global tech giants are getting into our ears while we’re on the road. Radio owned this space for the 60 years or so but that’s changing. While the choice of what you can listen to in your car is rapidly widening, there is huge work going on behind the scenes.

Motor brand Audi are actively committed to holding the ‘radio’ button in their vehicles; something some motor brands feel could be dropped. Audi however are listening to their customers – 84% of drivers recently surveyed said they “always” or “mostly” listen to radio in their cars.

So be cool and current and drop it; or leave it and don’t piss off most of your customers. Tough call! Not.


Streaming services are making and breaking hits every day. There’s plenty of room for Radio to make hits but it’s about striking the right balance of music and content that will hold listeners for as long as possible. Irish people listen to radio for longer than any country in Europe so we are not facing the challenges that our neighbours are… not yet anyway.

Music discovery is moving towards YouTube, Spotify and Pandora. 20 years ago when Today FM launched in Ireland, The Head of Music had a line he sometimes used:  “We don’t break the hits, we play them”. Seems that he may have been ahead of his time with radio’s role on music policy (even though record label execs and new bands trying to get airtime shuddered at this.. in his defence, he broke many a hit and artist so it wasn’t a strict rule he lived by!) Radio’s power to break new music might have weakened a little, but the role of radio is undisputed: Play the hits, and wrap them with relevant, engaging content. Then roll that content out digitally; playback, podcasts, as far and wide as you can go. A simple formula that will hold strong with Irish Radio.

One final thought from one Smart speaker novice to any others reading this: These beauties are there to compliment and enhance our radio experience – not to replace it. (plus the quality coming out of those speakers is stunning – HD for radio if you will!)

Don’t be afraid of them. Sure, they’ll bowl you over with the scale of what they can do… but they’re not just a fad. They’re going nowhere and we’ll only learn to love them more as we get to know them. So take them in. Use them to play your favourite radio station. Enjoy the personalised extras and don’t sweat the bigger picture until you’re comfortable to take more on.  

Onwards and upwards we go. Alexa, you’re great. Robert, you and I have a very strong bond… we go back such a long way. But Alexa I love you too.. I love both my children the same, right?!

Until next time…