I Live In A Media Bubble . . Literally [26June2017]

The term “media bubble” has gained much currency over the last 12 months, and can describe either the set of supporting opinions and narratives you can wrap yourself in, particularly on social media, to blind you to the prevalence of other opinions, or sometimes the bubble that much of the media themselves live in, cushioned by a reinforcing set of beliefs by similar Islington/Guardian/BBC/Salford/NYT or whatever circles.  It is particularly easy to sucked in to these bubbles of unreality if you choose to stay on the main roads digitally, and never explore off the beaten path in search of interesting views and conflicting opinions.

I like to think of myself as intelligent and grounded enough to see through and step beyond the bubbles (though that might be part of my own particular delusion).

But I cannot deny that I am living inside a media bubble of a different, more tangible kind, one enforced by geophysical realities.


This is the view from the top of the hill above my house, looking towards another hill, close by.  I live down in the narrow valley hidden between these two hills, and there is a further hill out of sight to the left.

The exact location is unimportant (I value my privacy) but for our purposes you need to know that this is in the Midlands of the Republic of Ireland, just about within commuting distance to Dublin (if you are prepared to accept a two hour commute) and not beside either the east coast, or the border with Northern Ireland.

Thanks to the local geography, I effectively have tens of thousands of tons of solid rock and earth on three sides of me, and a clear path leading North West.  This has the effect of blocking every Dublin based FM transmitter, and most from other areas, and clearing the band to give a free run for everything from Northern Ireland. As I drive around this big hill on the first 5 or 6km of my morning commute, I can choose from BBC Radios 1, 2 and 4, BBC Ulster, and Downtown Radio (Belfast) all crystal clear on FM.  Of the Dublin stations there is nothing for the first few km, until they eventually come back in again, in some cases on top of the NI transmitters.   (We can however receive RTE Radio 1, and Newstalk, which are national, and have transmitters elsewhere than in Dublin)

The same geography enforces internet isolation. There is no wired broadband in this valley, nor ever any prospect of such. The mobile signals are too weak – nothing from 3, and just a -120db signal from Vodafone on 3G only (not 4G) .  You can use a Vodafone broadband device, but the speed is less than a tenth of a meg.

So we have satellite broadband from Europasat, which works exceptionally well, and gives us speeds of around 26Mb. (That’s nothing special for you city dwellers but a huge step up from 0.1 Mb I can tell you!) One of the delightful things about this is how it seems to confuse some of the geo-sensors on the web – if not logged in to YouTube, the adverts will always be in Italian for example (another bubble).

I leave home early in the mornings – 0520 four days a week – and my routine in the car now involves a 10 minute circumnavigation of the UK via the Shipping Forecast on Radio 4.

If the signal lasts long enough, I’ll catch the 0530 news briefing too, then it is over to podcasts.


The fifth day a week, usually Mondays, I’m off to work even earlier (see above!) and then it is a toss up between the World Service on FM, or BBC Radio 1, where this morning Jordan North was playing some fine tunes (standing in for Adele).  After all my years spent living in the UK, and now 17 years back here in Ireland, it is strange to have this juxtaposition of the two as I have my choice of British stations on FM as I wind my way along very rural Irish back roads in the early dawn.

There is, of course, one other issue brought up by my situation.

Go look again at the photo from the top of the hill, and the landscape around.

I have said I live in the Midlands of Ireland, which I do,  Everyone knows the midlands are flat, and I live in a county which is known to be flat, fertile farmland, with few distinguishing features.

Known, that is, to everyone who only ever passes through on the motorway and main roads, and who never take a turn off to explore the side roads, and see what different views they might encounter. It’s like a physical version of the internet :-).

Steve


You Decide. [25May2017]


(Location: Woolwich Free Ferry, London.  Picture by Steve Conway)


My Facebook Manifesto. [06May2017]

These days I use Facebook far, far less often than I used to.

This is due to the actions, in aggregate, of the majority of other parties on there, whose policies concerning Facebook use and abuse I disagree with, and believe to be counter of the broad public interest.

It’s time to take a personal stand, and launch my own manifesto.

If elected to be your “friend” on Facebook, I promise that a Steve Conway government will adhere to the following:
ONE:  I will never enroll you in groups without having sought your explicit permission beforehand.  This applies to all catorories of groups – including the below, listed along with the frequency with which they are usually encountered:

  • annoying groups, (10%)
  • offensive / racist / hate groups (5%)
  • Groups just set up to self-promote (12%)
  • Groups Which Have No Relevence Whatsoever to the Unwilling Enrolee (72%)
  • Groups you actually might be interested in (1%)

TWO: I will not send you Calendar invitations to “events” unless they are actual physical events to which you as a physical human being are invited.  I will also not send calendar invites for events which are on the other side of the world, and which you have no realistic prospect of attending, unless you are my sister/cousin/best friend and I am willing to coordinate the event with your travel plans.
THREE: I will never tag you in posts which do not actually directly involve you, and even for those my use of tagging will be moderate.
FOUR I will never, under any circumstances, try to guilt-trip you into sharing/re-posting anything I post by implying that 93% of people won’t repost the content, but that genuine people who care about abused kittens / tragic world events / purple toasters will.

FIVE: Under most circumstances, and unless directly attributed, my thoughts will be my own.
SIX: I will not hijack your popular post to add comments promoting my own commercial interests.  (Such as, for example, join in a “Happy Birthday xxx thread to plonk an advert for diet pills into the comments).
SEVEN:  I will not tell you that Facebook is about to start charging subscription from next Tuesday, that Buddy Holly has just died, or that next month is the only one in 888 years to have five Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, firstly because I fact check against reputable news organisations anything dramatically newsworthy, but mainly because I am not an idiot.
EIGHT: Notwithstanding all of the above, I do acknowledge that I will probably make an idiot of myself at some point, but I will try very hard not to make an idiot of you, or a nuisance of myself.


Author’s Note:  This is an original list written ad-hoc by myself Steve Conway on Saturday 6th May 2017, at Starbucks, Nutgrove Shopping Centre, Dublin, Ireland.  

Should, by any remote chance, this list strike a chord, it will doubtless be re-posted by lots of people all claiming to have written it for themselves.   As Fleetwood Mac put it so eloquently in the 1960s:  “Oh Well”.

Steve Conway


Pushing The Boundaries – The 1987 election and the great (off) land-grab

The current (2017) UK General Election campaign is very much of it’s time – Brexit, Corbin, May,  but is also reminiscent in some ways of one 30 years ago, which I always consider as *MY* election, given that I covered it hour by hour in my role as Head of News on Radio Caroline, then broadcasting to an audience of around 3.5 million people from a long established anchorage in International Waters, just outside the 12 mile territorial limit off the Essex coast.


(Picture: view from Radio Caroline ship Ross Revenge at the Knock Deep anchorage, picture by author)

Like this years election, it was called early by a female Tory Prime Minister seeking a third term for the Conservatives and banking on doing well against a Labour leader strong on conviction, popular with the grass roots but possibly less so with the voters.

As with this years election, parliament was dissolved in May for an election date in early June (June 8th this time round, June 11th in 1987).  As is normal in such circumstances, a number of susbstantial and some minor pieces of legislation were rushed through parliament on both occasions, to allow them to come into law before the election, as otherwise they would have to start from scratch again following the election. This “wash-up” is done with agreement between government and opposition, and means that fairly complex pieces of legislation can come into effect with far less debate and scrutiny than usual.

As I was listening to the final pre-election “Today in Parliament” podcast from the BBC the other night, and hearing the reading of royal assent for a whole batch of bills  – Digital Ecomomy Bill, Bus Services Bill, Higher Education bill etc – it reminded me on a piece of legislation which slipped through almost unnoticed in the 1987 washup, greatly expanding the size of the United Kingdom and profoundly impacting one small group of people – the little community of broadcasters on board the Radio Caroline ship.

The Territorial Sea Act of 1987 changed the way that the “12 Mile Limit” was calculated, taking any sandbank or rock within the limit and uncovered at low tide as dry land, and thus the base for a further 12 miles extension.  So a sandbank 11 miles from the coast uncovered at Spring Tide could have the effect of converting the 12 miles limit into 23 miles, and if within that extended limit there was another sandbank . . further still.  The way that the coast was calculated on bays and large estuaries was also simplified with similar effect.

The end result was a land-grab ~(or “sea-grab) bringing thousands of square miles of formerly international waters under British jurisdiction including the patch of sea where Radio Caroline was located,  the “Knock Deep” also known as “Pirate Alley” as protected from the worst seas by nearby sandbanks it had been a favoured location for pirate ships over the years, with at least three (Mi Amigo, Ross Revenge and Communicator) having used it at different times.

The new act extended the limit to cover this area, and due to the sandbanks occasionally surfacing at the lowest of tides, for a further 12 miles beyond it.  Radio Caroline would have to move to more open waters, further out to sea, and with less shelter.

After much discussion, a new anchorage was eventually decided on, this time off the Kent coast, and approx 18 miles from the nearest point of land (North Foreland), and a mile and a half from the new territorial limit at this point of the coastline.

But 1987 was very unlike 2017 in terms of technology and information flow. There was no internet, no ability to search Hansard (the record of UK parliament) and as the bill was not particularly newsworthy in more general terms, no reporting of when its provisions might come into law.  As parliament dissolved with the Territorial Sea Act now passed into law, we had no idea when it would be enacted, and had to arrange for a tug from The Netherlands to come as soon as possible to assist us in raising anchor and moving to our new location (Caroline’s 1000 foot extra strong anchor chain being too heavy for the ship to lift under its own power).

Not knowing the enactment date, and whether we might already be within the UK jurisdiction, we had a nail-biting wait as day after day passed with no word from land as to when we would be moved. We figured we would be safe until after the Election Day in any case, and were mightily relieved when the tug showed up on June 10th, one day before.

The Territorial Sea Bill, passed in a hurry before the 1987 election pushed Caroline out into deeper, rougher waters, and ultimately a date with the Goodwin Sands some years later.  This was surely a beneficial byproduct of the legislation, if not one of the prime drivers of it.

It’s remarkable though, that a bill so greatly extending the physical size of the United Kingdom could pass so unremarked by media in the run up to a General Election.

It makes you wonder what slipped through this time round doesn’t it?

Steve


The Leaving Of Dublin [30 years Ago – 4th May 1984]

It’s just one single sentence in Shiprocked – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline

“I was 19 when I left Dublin, crossing the Irish Sea on the Liverpool ferry, like so many millions of emigrants before me”.

Just a single sentence in the precis of the events that propelled me to the right place, at the right time, to get sucked into one of the most wonderful life-changing adventures of my years to date.

But behind that one sentence is a life-changing moment of its own, of course.

As that leaving of the city of my birth took place 30 years ago tonight, maybe now is the time to remember . . .

evening-bay

I was 19 when I left Dublin, crossing the Irish Sea on the Liverpool ferry, like so many millions of emigrants before me.

Standing out on the deck of the B&I Line ferry Munster as we sailed from Dublin port on the night of Friday May 4th, 1984, I felt very alone, and already cut off from my former life, friends and family. This was despite the fact that my parents were actually on board the ship, having offered to drive me down to London where I would be staying with my aunt in Harrow until I could get on my feet and find a place of my own.

Although emigrating at a time when huge numbers of young people were leaving the country as part of the 80s recession, there seemed then to be nothing different or defining about those years – for as long as anyone could remember times had always been tough, and jobs always scarce. Getting on the boat to go to England was just something you did after leaving school.

In some ways I was one of the lucky ones, I had managed to eventually find work in a small computer company, but for almost slave wages, and with no prospect of advancement. I had pretty quickly come to the decision that I needed to cross the sea to England to find a better job with more opportunities, and had planned for this moment for ages, but theory and practice are two different things.

Over the past few weeks as I prepared to move, I had been too excited in planning my new future to think about what I was leaving behind, but now, standing outside on the back deck of the ferry as we prepared to leave the port, it suddenly hit me that my entire life up to this point was being jettisoned. All the friends I had made since leaving school, my colleagues at work and the customers I supported, some of whom I had become quite close to, the friends at various groups where I volunteered and spent my happy weekend hours. My new job would be exciting, and possibly form the foundations of a career, but there would be a huge hole in my life, a lot of friends and regular activities left behind.

But it would be the city itself that I missed the most.

From an early age I had been an explorer, and there was hardly a laneway or mountain road in Dublin and Wicklow that I had not explored on my bicycle in my teenage years, not a housing estate that I did not know.

I had roamed unchecked through long summer holidays, poring over maps and exploring every side turning or interesting looking road. Even the Dublin city bus timetable had been a thing of wonder to me, a treasure trove of names of unexplored places and strange footnotes, and I had explored the city by bus too, taking two months during the summer holidays of 78 and 79 during which I spent every day travelling end to end on as many bus routes as possible, becoming familiar with all the suburbs and the far flung estates, charting my progress in red marker on a one inch Ordinance Survey map, sometimes doing routes several times in order to experience the extended or diverted r outings in the footnotes.

Unremarkable and frequent routes to places such as Blanchardstown, Bohernabreena, Dalkey and Dollymount would be explored alongside the rare and infrequent workings to places such as Hollywood Cross, Burrow, Oldtown, Shop River and the piece de resistance: Newtownmountkennedy, which not only had the longest placename in the Dublin city timetable, but was only served once a week to boot.

It was dark as the ferry sailed at 1030pm, and many of the further flung parts of my empire could not be seen, though the Dublin mountains were visible as a dark brooding presence on the skyline, bereft of lights. But as we moved out of the port heading towards the bay, there was muchmore  that could be seen. On our starboard side was the Great South Wall, where my father used to take us as children, terrifying us with the thought that he might accidentally drive the car off the unguarded side of the roadway into the sea. This was a fate which, he told us gravely, had befallen a schoolteacher by the name of Mr. Ring many years earlier, hence the fact that the area was known as “Ringsend”.

On the other side, the Bull Island and the Northern walkway stretched out into the sea, reached by the wooden bridge from Dollymount. Many a Saturday I had gone out along it as far as I could on my bike, enjoying the wind and the salt air on my face, staring out to sea and imagining all things that lay to the east.

Now I was on that sea, and heading east, and looking back at the walkway, and it’s giant Virgin Mary statue, and wondering when I would be there again.

The Clontarf road was very visible, streetlights spaced all along the seafront, and I could see a number 30 bus making progress out towards Dollymount, a little cluster of lights racing along the seafront, stopping from time to time and being overtaken by seemingly miniature cars. Gradually it fell behind us until the cars and buses could no longer be distinguished from the streetlights, then the great bulk of Howth Head swept past us on our port side, till it too fell behind, and the city was no more a single patch of brightly lit horizon than individual areas.

As the Ferry moved out into the bay, I stayed out on deck in the darkness, long after all the other passengers had returned to the warm and lighted interior.

My parents did not come looking for me, perhaps understanding my need to be alone as I watched the slow disappearance of everything that I was leaving behind.

 Steve


Summer Break

 

Due to an exceptionally high workload in other parts of my professional life, I’m taking a temporary break from radio and writing for the summer, and have stood down from both Caroline and 8Radio.com.

But don’t worry, I’ll be back later in the year, once I’ve got on top of a pretty intense workload elsewhere.

 

Steve

 


Early Summer 2013 Schedule [09June2013]

8fm

I’ve been pretty quiet on here recently due to pressure of outside work commitments, but I’m still keeping up my regular schedule of radio presenting on both 8Radio.com in Dublin, and Radio Caroline internationally.

Mondays 6-9pm Radio Caroline, via www.radiocaroline.co.uk

Saturdays 11pm-2am on 8Radio.com, online and via FM 94.3 (Dublin), 106.7 (Cork) and 105.5 (Limerick)

I’m also still a regular reader at the Last Wednesday writers open-mic in Dublin, 7pm at The Twisted Pepper in Abbey Street on the last Wednesday of every month, where you can hear me read new short stories as well as extracts from my forthcoming book Running Away From The Circus – Eeverything I Know About Radio I Learned By Screwing It Up.

I’m insanely busy due to other commitments at the moment, but hope to get back to a more regular update schedule here soon!

Steve


Late Night Studio

I’m currently on-air at 8Radio.com till 2am.

That lovely heady vibe of a late night radio studio, lights down low, music up loud.

There really is nothing like it!

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LW 252 Tower (Ireland) – Pics

Some shots of the 252Khz Longwave transmission tower in Co. Meath, Republic of Ireland, currently broadcasting RTE but originally erected for Atlantic 252.  Pictures taken Sunday 17th March 2013.

You can click on any picture for the high-res version. This is the tower as seen in the landscape of Co. Meath. It is actually a better shot than the close-up ones, as there are so many obstructions of the view from the roadway closest to the site.

You can click on any picture for the high-res version. This is the tower as seen in the landscape of Co. Meath. It is actually a better shot than the close-up ones, as there are so many obstructions of the view from the roadway closest to the site.

I don’t normally go out of my way to photograph broadcast sites – I usually prefer to think and talk about the content rather than the technology – but a friend in the UK asked me for some pictures, and as I was walking in a forest only about 20km away today I thought “why not?”.

The base of the tower. Thiswas taken through a wire mesh fence, and a small gap in the trees, so only possible to get one part of the tower at a time in shot.

The base of the tower. This was taken through a wire mesh fence, and a small gap in the trees, so only possible to get one part of the tower at a time in shot.

The upper sections vanishing into the mist. It is planned to paint the top 84m of this tower red and white, and to replace the current warning lights with ones of lower intensity.

The upper sections vanishing into the mist. It is planned to paint the top 84m of this tower red and white, and to replace the current warning lights with ones of lower intensity.

Planning application notice on site for retention of modifications, also revised colour scheme and lighting.

Planning application notice on site for retention of modifications, also revised colour scheme and lighting.

If you are a motorist . . or a terrorist . . be warned!

If you are a motorist . . or a terrorist . . be warned!

When I last passed here about 15 years ago, it was very easy to see into the site, but the boundary trees planted around the tower have all grown up now.

When I last passed here about 15 years ago, it was very easy to see into the site, but the boundary trees planted around the tower have all grown up now.

So there you have it, 252 site on a typically misty St. Patricks Day.

Steve

 

 


Happy New Year? Let’s Make it So.

Walking in the Kerry mountains on the last day of 2011

2011 has mostly been a year of transition for me. It involved opening doors to a few new outlooks, and closing doors on other parts of my life where things weren’t working or it was time to move on. A few spots of difficulty, mostly self-inflicted and quickly recovered from, were outweighed by many cherished moments with friends and family, including a stint on the Ross Revenge at Easter and one at sea with Seagull in June, a novel and wonderful trip around London of which I will write more later, and my best Christmas in years.

Mostly though 2011 involved making changes and laying plans which will come to fruition in 2012, and I’m greatly looking forward to many of these things.

My second book, Running Away From The Circus, will be published in March (more details on that here in the weeks to come) but before that I will have another short story – Schrodinger’s Bus –  in print in the third Seven Towers Census Anthology in February. After Running Away From The Circus,  a further book is already half-finished, and I hope to complete it in 2012, so that in 2013 I can begin serious work on the 4th, which is structurally planned and a small part written.

I am happy with my shows on Radios Seagull and Caroline, but have something else planned which will increase my reach in the radio world, in fact more than one something. Details, as always, closer to the time . .

I’m planning a trip to Canada, and hopefully a return visit to the wonderful folk of the Ramsgate RNLI too.

I want to develop my mind in 2012, and reverse some of the neglect of my body – for the last month I’ve been walking every day, and I hope to have the drive to keep this up and push further back to youthful fitness in the year ahead.

Whatever 2012 brings, it will stand or fail on my own efforts – If I want it happy, I must make it so.

For you, can I wish you a peaceful New Year, and the opportunity to reach your goals in the next 12 months too.

All the best,

Steve


October 2011 JNLR (covering Oct 2010-Sep2011) Radio Audience

Phantom 105.2 – increased reach in latest figures

RTE steady nationally

Good first year for Nova

4fm struggles in Dublin but gains 2% in Cork


The latest JNLR figures reporting Irish radio audiences have been published today, covering the period October 2010 to September 2011.

As always, for the full result tables your should visit the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland website.

Figures produced & published  by JNLR/Ipsos MRBI 2011/3

All changes are compared to 1 year ago.

*** THIS PART OF THE REPORT LOOKS AT “LISTENED YESTERDAY” REACH ***

National stations steady on “Listened Yesterday”

All RTE and Commercial stations held their % reach of “All Adults 15+” in the results, with overall reach down slightly by 1% spread across the total for these stations.

NATIONAL RESULTS

Listened at all 84% (down 1%)

No change on individual national stations:

Any RTE Radio was listened to by 35%

RTE Radio 1 by 25%

RTE 2FM 11%

RTE Lyric 3%

Today FM 13%

Newstalk 8%

Any Local/Regional/Multi City 58%

DUBLIN – First results give Nova 5% and see Phantom overtake 4fm (in “listened yesterday” reach, though it’s the other way round in % share)

Listened at all 85% (-1%)

Any RTE 37% (no change)

RTE Radio 1 31% (no change)

RTE 2FM 8% (-1%)

RTE Lyric FM 6% (+1%)

Today FM 10% (+1%)

Newstalk 12% (no change)

Any non-national 53% (no change)

4fm 2% (no change)

Radio Nova 5% (first result)

98FM 13% (no change)

FM104 20% (-1%)

Q102 13% (no change)

Sunshine 106.8 3% (-1%)

Spin1038 14% (-1%)

Phantom 105.2 3% (+1%)

MULTI-CITY: 4fm score 3% overall, with an impressive 7% in Cork (up 2%) but is stuck on 2% in the Dublin market.

*** THIS PART OF THE REPORT LOOKS AT SHARE OF TOTAL LISTENING ***

Share of audience listening (% share of all the time listened) shows more movement that the simple reach (how many people listened to you).

NATIONAL SHARE

Any national 46% (+0.6%)

Any RTE 33% (no change)

RTE Radio 1 23.3% (-0.2%)

RTE 2FM 7.4% (+0.1%)

RTE Lyric 1.8% (+0.2%)

Today FM 9.1% (+0.2%)

Newstalk 4.4% (+0.3%)

Any Non National 53.3% (-0.6%)

DUBLIN SHARE

Any National 54.8 % (no change)

Any Non-National 45.2% (no change)

Any RTE 40.8% (-1.1%)

RTE Radio 1 31.4% (-1.2%)

RTE 2FM 5.8% (no change)

RTE Lyric 3.4% (+0.2%)

Today FM 6.8% (+0.6%)

Newstalk 7.1% (+0.3%)

4fm 1.1% (+0.3%)

Radio Nova 3.3% (first result)

98FM 9.5% (+0.5%)

FM104 11.4% (-1.0%)

Q102 10.3% (-0.4%)

Sunshine 106.8 2.3% (-0.1%)

Spin 1038 5.9% (no change)

Phantom 105.2 0.8% (no change)

As always, for the full result tables your should visit the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland website.

Figures produced & published  by JNLR/Ipsos MRBI 2011/3


What Lies Beneath – Why Dundrum Town Centre Flooded

Steve digs out his photos of the construction of South Dublin’s fashionable (and flooded) mall, and remembers what it was they built on top of . .

From the front page of Irish Times 25th October 2011 – © Irish Times

The dramatic scenes of water bursting into the upmarket Dundrum Town Centre mall were some of the defining images of the Dublin floods of October 2011, and the front page picture from todays Irish Times shows how badly the centre has been affected. Since its opening six years ago it has been my favourite of the Dublin suburban shopping centres, but its devastation by floods does not surprise me as a local with intimate knowledge of the grography that it replaced.

It could be, in fact, a perfect example of of the boom years building frenzy taken to its logical consequences, as the building of hundreds of apartments close by in the following years helped seal its fate.

The village of Dundrum has always perched on a slope at the bottom end of a narrow valley, with a good-sized stream (or small river) running through it. Various complexes lined the high ground on one side of the valley – the old PYE Television factory, later industrial estate, the 1970s original Dundrum Shopping Centre, and the old H Williams store at the southern end (which became Super Crazy Prices, and then Tesco). But the bottom of the valley and the river was always left pretty much wild, and I used to roam along its length in my childhood years, fancying myself as a fearless explorer as I waded upstream and forced my way through undergrowth.

In more recent years, as I made my way to work on a sluggish 48A in 2000 and 2001, the glimpse of the stream surrounded by green land as we crossed over the valley on the Ballinteer Road bridge just before the crossroads always gave a little glimpse of forgotten rural idyll. Until the day the bulldozers moved in, and they started building.

Dundrum bypass and Dundrum Town Centre under construction

Here is a shot I took sometime during 2001 or 2002 which shows both Dundrum Town Centre and the Dundrum Bypass under construction.  The picture is taken from a temporary pedestrian bridge over the valley errected during the period when Ballinteer Road was closed to traffic as a new, wider road bridge was built complete with car-park ramp downwards into the centre.

On the left is where Dundrum Town Centre now stands, and you can see the spot where the underground car-parks and delivery section join the bypass.

The valley floor has been leveled, and the stream boxed in, ready to be buried underneath the new development in a culvert.

When this photo was taken, it had been dry for a good period, and the stream was low, however it often ran much higher in wet periods. Nevertheless, the culvert once roofed would seem more than proof against even a four or fivefold increase in flow during very rainy periods.

However, in the years following the completion of the centre, hundreds if not thousands of apartments in dozens of new developments were built upstream, with much of the run-off from all these acres of new concrete flowing into the stream or the local drainage system. The huge flow of water from the Ticknock Hill development alone can be seen during wet periods cascading down a series of steps beside the M50 junction, and into the watercourse of this stream. Plus, all of the green land that lay undisturbed in this little valley is now built over, no longer able to absorb rainfall and run-off.

In the exceptional rainfall of the last 24 hours, when a months rain fell in a day, once the culvert was at full capacity, where else could the water go?

I’m not saying the planners failed here, this is an exceptional event, but perhaps, when we have building booms in future, we should be looking at things like runoff in the context of what else will be built in the area later, and planning for “once in 80 year” events.

Yes it will cost. But as much as the damage that now needs to be made good?

Steve


Night Watch

A sequence of shots taken as I stood the overnight anchor watch on the Radio Seagull / Radio Waddenzee ship off the Dutch coast on Fri/Sat 3rd/4th June 2011.

They show:

Sunset over the Waddenze

Screenshot of us in location southwest of the uninhabited island of Griend.

The first pre-dawn lightening of the sky at 0336.

Fully light by 0500

Zoom shot of the low-lying island of Griend at Dawn

Sunrise.

A privilege to be here to enjoy such nights and see these sights. Steve.

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Arrived at Sea

I’ve now arrived safely in board the Lv Jenni Baynton, anchored in The Waddenzee.

I’ll be on air with Radio Seagull this evening from 7-10 Dutch time (6-9 UK and Irish time).

Catch Seagull in 1602AM in Holland, it via www.radioseagull.com

I’m looking forward to an interesting 10 days afloat.

Pictured here are the radioship Jenni Baynton as I arrived today, and a lively historic sailing ship that has just passed close by.

Steve

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How Stupid Are We?

I wonder sometimes, how bright we are as a society, when we have to have signs like this to remind us . .

Steve


JNLR February 2011 Irish Radio Audience figures

Full data available from Broadcasting Authority of Ireland www.bai.ie

JNLR FIGURES FOR JANUARY 2010 – DECEMBER 2010 RELEASED

The latest results from the Ipsos MRBI JNLR survey covering the period January 2010 – December 2010 were released today (Thursday 17th February 2011).

The survey results indicate that 85% (same) of the adult population was listening daily to a mix of national, regional, multi-city and local radio throughout the country.

For the purposes of comparison, figures for this survey period are compared with the October 2009- September 2010 figures. The main changes and highlights are as follows:

National Reach and Market Share
Listenership of 57% (-1) was recorded to any multi-city/regional/local radio service.

The weekday reach figures for RTÉ Radio 1 increased to 25% (+1) while figures remained unchanged for Today FM (13%), Newstalk (8%) and RTÉ Lyric FM (3%). RTÉ 2FM recorded a figure of 13% (-1).

With regard to market share, a figure of 53.6% (-0.2) was recorded for any multi-city/regional/local station in the 7a.m.-7p.m. period.

RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Lyric FM recorded slight increases in market share at 22.7% (+0.6) and 1.7% (+0.1) respectively. Today FM retained a market share figure of 9.3%. Decreases were recorded for RTÉ 2FM at 8.2% (-0.5) and Newstalk at 4.0% (-0.1).
National (excluding Dublin and Cork)-local stations

Changes in both reach and market share were recorded for almost all local stations in the current survey period. The top five local radio stations for the survey period were as follows:

Local Station Listenership (Reach) Local Station Market Share
1.
Highland Radio 67% (-2)
1.
Highland Radio 62.3% (-1.1)
2
Shannonside 53%
2.
Radio Kerry 57% (+0.7)
3.
Radio Kerry 51% (same)
3.
Tipp FM 55.7% (+1.4)
4.
Limerick’s Live95FM 50% (-1)
4.
Shannonside 49%
5.
Midwest Radio 49% (-1)
5.
Midwest Radio 48.9% (-0.7)

Multi-City and Regional stations
4FM, the multi-city service, maintained a weekday reach figure of 3% (same) and recorded a market share figure of 1.8% (-0.1).

In terms of regional services, in the north-east/midlands region, i105-107FM increased its weekday reach figure to 9% (+2) and recorded a market share figure of 7% (-1.9). In the south-west region, Spin South West maintained its weekday reach figure of 21% and increased its market share figure to 11% (+0.1). In the north-west region, i102-104FM maintained its weekday reach figure of 20% and recored a market share figure of 14% (-0.7). Beat 102-103FM, serving the south-east region, recorded a weekday reach figure of 19% (-1.0) and recorded an increase in market share to 13.1% (+0.8).

Dublin-local stations
In Dublin, FM104 increased its weekday reach figure to 20% (+1.0). The remaining Dublin stations all retained weekday reach figures with: 98FM at 14%, Spin 1038 at 14% and Dublin’s Q102 at 13%, Country Mix/ Sunshine 106.8 FM at 3% and Phantom 105.2 at 2%.

In terms of market share figures, increases were recorded for a number of stations; 98FM at 11.6% (+0.3), Spin 1038 at 6.6% (+0.1) and Country Mix/Sunshine 106.8FM at 3.2% (+0.1). The remaining stations recorded figures of: FM104 11.2% (-0.3), Q102 at 11.1% (-0.1%) and Phantom 105.2 0.8% (-0.1).

Cork-local stations
Cork’s Red FM achieved a reach figure of 19% (-2) and recorded a market share figure of 10.6% (-0.7).
The combined reach of Cork’s 96FM/C103 was 46% (-2.0) while a share figure of 41.6% (-1.9) was recorded. Separate figures for both services are detailed in the tables provided.

Full details of the reach and market share figures together with the weekly reach figures for all stations can be found at www.bai.ie

 


Coming Up

OK, so I’ve been very remiss on blogging over the summer. Life has been running at such a breakneck pace it has been difficult to fit everything in. Though I do manage to stop occasionally to enjoy the sunrise.

But I promise to catch up over the weekend with some fresh pieces.

I’ve done the third of my “10 things” and am about to do the fourth tomorrow.

I’ll try to catch up on all of this, plus what is happening in my writing and radio worlds.

As for today, in my other guise as IT Management Guru, I’m about to attend a class on “Paradox Management”.

Sounds like fun.

Steve


Steve goes back to sea . .

Radio Seagull based on the former lightship "Jenni Baynton"

This weekend, and the week that follows is going to be one of the high points of my year, as I go back offshore and broadcast from a ship again, surrounded by fellow crewmembers from the offshore stations of years gone by.

“Radio Seagull” is a rock music station which broadcasts the overnight service on the Dutch station Radio Waddenzee, which is based on a former lightship, the Jenni Baynton, normally moored safely alongside the pier in the town of Harlingen.

But for the month of May the Jenni Baynton is putting out to sea again, and will be anchored some 8 miles off the Dutch coast, bringing radio back to the North Sea and providing a great opportunity for former pirates to relive the old days while bringing quality rock music, old and new, to an audience on AM and online.

I’m thrilled to have been invited to spend some time out at sea onboard the Jenni Baynton, and I will be on air each night on Radio Seagull from 10pm-1am CET (9pm-midnight BST) from Sunday 2nd to Thursday 6th May.

Over the month of May a whole host of people from the former Dutch and British offshore stations will be joining Seagull, and indeed I will be on board with my brother, Chris Kennedy, just as we were on Caroline back in the eighties.

Depending on mobile reception, I may be able to share pictures and update this blog while on board, if not, I will certainly do so on my return.

So watch this space, and tune in to Radio Seagull each night for some great classic and progressive rock from the last several decades.

Steve


Easter Sunday & Monday shows

I have two shows on Phantom this Easter weekend.

On Sunday you can hear me from 1200-1500.

On Easter Monday I have the morning show, 0900-1200.

You can catch Phantom on 105.2fm in Dublin and surrounding counties, across Ireland on UPC Cable Ch.935, and around the world at www.phantom.ie We are also available through the Phantom iPhone ap.

As always, I’ll be bringing you a great mixture of alternative rock, old and new, with a good dose of new, upcoming Irish bands.

Hope you can join me, if not, have a Happy Easter.

Steve


The Heroes of Ramsgate

The high point of my year, meeting the Ramsgate Lifeboat crew, left to right is John G Ray, myself, and Ray Noble.

The reading at Ramsgate on Saturday went very well, with a moderate crowd turning up to support the RNLI Lifeboat cause.

Reading from Shiprocked to an attentive audience is always a pleasure of course, but being able to do so to the crew of the lifeboat who came to our aid in the big storm was both satisfying and humbling. If I had any worries that the lifebot crew would regard us as “the idiots on the pirate ship” I needen’t have worried – the welcome I got in Ramsgate, and the warmth of feeling expressed towards Radio Caroline was overwhelming, and obviously genuine.

Apparently that particular callout, to aid the Ross Revenge stranded on the Goodwin Sands in a Force 11 North Easterly is still talked of as “the rescue from hell” amongst the RNLI crew. The fact that one of their own crewmembers – Ian Cannon – was washed overboard during the rescue attempt while we stayed dry on the ship is very sobering for me – while this storm was a once in a lifetime ordeal for us, it is something that the lifeboat crew face again and again and again. Ian is still with the lifeboats after all these years – and is now the coxswain! Sadly he couldn’t join us as he was aborad on the day, but hopefully I will get to meet him soon, as a second reading for the Ramsgate Lifeboat is currently being discussed.

Thanks again to everyone who turned up, especially the lifeboat crew, and watch out for details of our return visit later in the year!

Steve


On My Way Back Home

Well, the “Winter Storm Tour” with readings at Ramsgate, London, and a visit to Caroline herself at Tilbury went very well, and I am now making my way back up to catch the ferry at Holyhead.

I’ve a great deal to report, and many pictures of the events and Ramsgate and London, and of the Ross Revenge and how she looks today.

Watch this space in about 24 hours.

Steve


Today’s Seven Towers event at Hammersmith

The Hammersmith Ram, King Street

Today’s (Sun 28th March 2010) special reading marks my return to The Hammersmith Ram, where the London launch of Shiprocked – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline was held last year.

This is the first Seven Towers event in London, and with free admission, easy access by tube (Hammersmith Underground and Bus Station is 1 minute walk away) plus great food and drink on offer at The Ram it promises to be a good evening. The reading at 6.30 is followed by live traditional Irish music at 8pm.

EVENT DETAILS BELOW:

Seven Towers Writers – Steve Conway, Eamonn Lynskey and Donal Moloney will be joining Liverpool artist and writer Alice Lenkiewicz at the Hammersmith Ram Pub in Hammersmith, London for a spectacular reading.

The reading will be followed by an open mic and the whole event will be followed by the Ram’s weekly Session!

A great night out

Artist and writer Alice Lenkiewicz lives and works in Liverpool.
Her books include a poetry collection, Men Hate Blondes (origional plus, 2009) and a novella, Maxine (Bluechrome Publishing, 2005).
Alice Lenkiewicz also publishes and edits Neon Highway, a poetry magazine that supports emerging and established poets.

Below, she talks about the series of events that led to Neon Highway:
http://conversationswithwriters.blogspot.com/2010/01/interview-alice-lenkiewicz.html

Further information.
Men Hate Blondes
http://www.poetryinthecity.co.uk/2009/10/alice-lenkiewicz-men-hate-blondes-poems-and-drawings/

http://www.openwidemagazine.co.uk/v2i2/bookreviews.htm

Steve Conway is a journalist, writer and radio DJ,. he is a former programme controller on the legendary Radio Caroline. Steve has written a best selling memoir – Shiprocked, Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline – about the years he spent at sea with Radio Caroline on the Ross Revenge, and the dramatic end to this time.

Eamonn Lynskey

Éamonn Lynskey has had poems published in many magazines. He was nominated for the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy Literary Award for New Irish Poetry in 2006 and one of his poems featured on the 2009 OXFAM calendar. His first collection Dispatches and Recollections was published in 1998 and 1.His second collection And Suddenly the Sun Again will be published in 2010. Éamonn, who holds a Diploma in Italian Language and Culture has also translated the works of modern Italian poets into English. He is also a long time contributor to the open mic scene in Dublin.

Dónal Moloney is a writer and translator from Waterford. The excerpt published here is a version of Chapter 4 of a novella called In The Balance, which he is currently completing. An alternate short story version of Chapter 1 of the novella received a commendation in the 2009 Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition. An excerpt from his short story The Mask appeared in Census: The First Seven Towers Anthology. He is a regular featured reader at both the Chapters and Verse Reading Series and the Last Wednesday Reading and Open Mic Series.

Seven Towers Agency
is an independent, Not for profit literary agency, publishing company and eevnt organiser based in Dublin Ireland.

The Hammersmith Ram is a Youngs Pub at 81 King St in Hammersmith. Like all pubs hosting Seven Towers’ events – it has a great bar menu. it also has a great wine lists nad hosts many wonderful events fully supported by its innovative and enthusiastic manager Rory Murphy, and the great staff. it’s our favourite pub in London! more details about the Hammersmith Ram are available fon http://www.thehammersmithram.com


Saturday: Ramsgate RNLI reading, 3pm

Today, Saturday 27th March 2010

Reading in aid of the RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat

from “SHIPROCKED – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline”

3pm, Ramsgate Library.

Address:
Guildford Lawn
Ramsgate
CT11 9AY

Tel: 01843 593532

Admission FREE, donations to RNLI welcomed


The civilised way to cross the Irish Sea

Norfolk Line ferry

I’m sailing off to the UK tonight to head down to Kent for my special Ramsgate book-reading on Saturday.

I’ve crossed the Irish sea so many times over the past 40 years, often via Irish Ferries or my old employer Stena Line to Holyhead, but I like the Liverpool route much better. It used to be the province of the old B&I Line, then Merchant Ferries in the early noughties, and is now run by Norfolk Line (and goes to Birkenhead rather than Liverpool – cutting off an hour of harbour lock delays).

It’s so much nicer to take the longer crossing, have a cabin all the way, and arrive refreshed, and about 100 miles closer to London.

And I still miss the sea, so a few extra hours afloat doesn’t do me any harm.

Steve


Quo Day 2 in Port Laois

I won’t be in Ireland myself this weekend (I’ll be doing my Ramsgate reading) but if I was around, I’d be heading down to PortLaoise for Ireland’s second annual Status Quo Day at Cloisters Bar.

Last year’s was a brilliant event, with something for every classic rock fan, and this year’s promises to be even bigger.