By Aaron Deering
Anyone that volunteers with Flirt FM will know that the station needs more funding, as, currently, the station is suffering from outdated equipment and lack of space. Flirt FM has two studios, an office and a computer room. The two studios are tight on space and this creates a problem for when certain shows will have up to 4 people in the studio. You’re crammed in and almost feel claustrophobic. The computer room is tiny in comparison to the two studios and all the equipment in it is extremely outdated. For example, the other day, when I was in the computer room receiving training, there was no HDMI port on any of the computers to try and connect it to the TV.
Currently, Flirt FM receive a little over €70k from the student levy, €5k from the DSP for a Wage Subsidy and €1k for studio hire. This works out at about €4.92 per student form each individual’s student levy. In total, the station only gets roughly €76k a year, which isn’t much considering it has to pay 2 full-time staff along with some part-time staff. Even if Flirt FM received an extra 10k in funding a year, it could mean the station could do so much more, such as replace their ageing computers, operate the station 24/7 and keep the pre-recording studio open over the weekend. It could also improve the equipment used for outside broadcasts, which, at the moment, is very outdated and takes too long to set up. These are just a few examples of what Flirt FM could do if it received more support and funding.
Flirt FM is very important, as it offers students the chance to have hands-on experience with radio, and with a station that is fully registered with the BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland). Flirt FM is also available for all students as well. I’m not a journalism student and yet, I can still avail of the facilities that Flirt FM has to offer, so, at least as students we get some value for our money. Contrast this with the Kingfisher which we pay a fee to as part of our student levy, but still have to buy a membership on top of this. Is that value for money? I don’t think so. I recently did an interview with Fergal D’Arcy, a presenter with Today FM, and he highlighted how important Flirt FM was by saying it was one of the best student radio stations in the country, because, to quote, “it’s run like a god damn proper station”. If a top national radio presenter like Fergal D’Arcy is praising the station in its current state like this, then just imagine what the station could be like if the University made more of an effort to support it and provide further funding.
Fergal also highlighted the amount of opportunities Flirt FM has given to people that have gone onto be successful in national radio stations. “The amount of talent we received when I was at iRadio that came from Flirt FM – It’s just amazing. Chris Greene (RTÉ 2FM), Peter Ganley (RTÉ 2FM) and Louise Clarke (iRadio) all came from Flirt FM and I could mention them all day. They’re all brilliant presenters and they all came from Flirt FM. That’s where they got their home ground from”. This just shows how important Flirt FM is as an outlet that drives creative talent and allows students to be given a crucial base from which they can learn and gain important experience, that they can then use to go on and be successful in the radio business. It’s vital that not only does the University continue to fund Flirt FM, but increases this funding and show more support to what is a crucial asset to the University and student body.