In the past year, there's really been only one name on everyone's lips in the Irish music scene. Hozier. the Bray native has shot to fame, and once again, we Irish have a great big grin our faces. Sure anything to give us a lift, it was like when we all went cricket mad a few years back. We love our music, whether it’s some Whiskey In the Jar, Molly Malone, U2 or The Heathers.
The state of Irish music has recently come to light with Labour TD Willie Penrose has recommending that Irish radio stations have a quota implemented forcing them to make 40% of their output Irish music. While I'm often quick to disagree with the Government on various issues, this is one I feel could be worth investing in. I don't think it's necessarily the Government trying to control and censor what gets played, but in a roundabout way, perhaps promote the Irish 'culture' if you will. Having said that, arts and culture have been neglected by them recently and the budget did not look promising for that particular area.
The idea of playing more Irish music on our radio stations is one I would certainly be in favour of but one, I don't really feel will happen, either at all or for a while. Radio is selective; it's a person's own choice. Just because some of us may want to listen to bubble-gum pop music, does not mean we all do. Radio stations cater for a variety of genres, from Spin1038 and their dance/pop music to Radio Nova and TX FM, then there's RTE Radio 1, Today Fm, RTE 2FM, the list goes on. Trying to get to get all stations to play 40% of Irish music is a project. Not because the talent isn't there but because it may not be what people want to hear. Of course, take a survey and I'm more people would want to hear more Irish music on our radios, but when it comes on, will they tune in or will they switch over.
Many radio stations do a show dedicated to Irish music, and being honest, I find that slightly embarrassing/patronising. A whole show dedicated to Irish music? Yes, I appreciate the sentiment and yes, it is great because it provides a platform for upcoming Irish artists, but shouldn't this platform have been there long ago? It shouldn't be that hard to get onto your country's radio station, particularly if you have the talent. This is where the Government guidelines could work; each station would be on the look-out for the next big thing, hoping they can get that scoop with the next Hozier or Kodaline. As well, what would be an idea would be more stations to have a show dedicated to new Irish music, but one that fits with the station themselves and is tailored to the music they play. Even if that music is rock, rap or pop. Even if the radio stations couldn't quite meet the 40% quota, another idea would be to use the radio's social media channels Twitter and Facebook to promote new Irish music.
Getting Irish music back on Irish radio stations, is I suppose wishful thinking. Akin to hoping we'll all start speaking Gaeilge again. I don't see a time when radio stations play solely Irish music, because that's nearly like asking nightclubs to do the same thing. However, it would be fantastic to see a surge in Irish music being played, and not because the station has to, but because they want to. They want to get behind Irish music and make sure their listeners are aware they not only do they support Irish music and Irish talent, but that they will play it as well. Ask and you shall receive, let’s try it shall we?