*Jim Collins. Photograph: Ruth Griffin
CREATIVITY AND relevance in the local community underpin the success of Scariff Bay Community Radio in East Clare, the chairman of the community radio station.
On Wednesday (June 14th), Scariff Bay Community Radio held its Annual General Meeting where former Scariff Community College principal, John S. Kelly was elected to the Board of SBCR for the second time, the Roscommon native is a retiring Director of the station.
Jim Collins, who spent thirty nine years as principal of Inis Cealtra NS from 1979 to 2018 is a co-founder of Scariff Bay Community Radio and was once again returned as Chairman of its Board. Marie McNamara, Mary Nash, Eoin O’Hagan and Tom Hanley were returned as Secretary, Treasurer, PRO and Compliance Officer respectively. Other Board members included Kelly, Marianne Purcell, Marie McMahon and Pat O’Brien.
Now in existence for over eight years, SBCR will celebrate the eighth anniversary of its first broadcast on July 25th.
Addressing the AGM, Jim stated, “It has been an interesting and exciting journey, introducing the concept of community radio to east Clare and it is wonderful to see how east Clare has embraced and supported the development”.
Dedication of their volunteers “has provided our community with a service that has now become part of the social landscape of East Clare with a substantial and growing body of listeners in the region”.
He continued, “SBCR is local, your family members, neighbours, friends or acquaintances can be heard regularly on the station. All local clubs and groups are featured. You can discover things that are happening in East Clare and news of public issues which are affecting us. In many instances SBCR has become a friendly sound in the kitchens of the region at the weekend, often in the background but reassuringly present. The one aim of any community organisation is to remain relevant to the members of that community. We trust we are in that category and we will strive to remain so. We are fortunate that east Clare is culturally both diverse and rich. We see it as our role to reflect that diversity and richness on our station”.
Prominence of the SBCR sports team led by Leo Doyle and Pat McNamara was noted by Jim. “To our sports department all games are important and we seek to cover all the clubs in our area whether or not they are striving for honours in a particular year. We try to bear in mind the avid sports fan or club supporter who would love to be in Tulla pitch but can’t for some reason. We are his or her window to the game and we try to bring the excitement and colour of the match to the kitchen of the listener”.
Broadcasting mass live every Sunday started on the station during the lockdown and this remains a weekly feature with the rosary also aired every Sunday evening.
In his address, Jim commented, “We must continually seek to improve our skills to provide a better service to our listeners. Our volunteers spend a good deal of time training, either formally or informally in operating new equipment of learning interview techniques. We ask all our volunteers to constantly have an ear out for a story which would be of interest and value to the community. Not all volunteers are comfortable with a microphone but we have space for volunteers who might like to get involved in the administration side of things or in the production and technical area”.
Presently, SBCR is restricted from broadcast advertising but can avail of sponsorship and a organises various fundraisers to keep the show on the road. “The Board of SBCR has always been prudent with our finances, we will not get into debt and spend what we haven’t got and of course everyone is a volunteer,” Jim said.
Concluding his address, the Mountshannon man remarked, “There are in my opinion two things upon which the success of SBCR depends. I have already mentioned being relevant in the community. The other is being creative. This applies to all our staff, be it in administration, programme making and in the technical department. We don’t want to be better than any other station but we want to be unique and we want to be as good as we can be. We want to retain what our listeners enjoy but we also want to offer fresh and interesting content which is why creativity is so important”.