RADIO stations across Ireland have promised increased playtime for homegrown music over the coming weeks as Irish Music Month returns for a second instalment.
A nationwide search for a new local talent is also set to be launched under the 2023 initiative, which has been described by President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins as an “important” and “valuable” event.
First launched in 2022, the second Irish Music Month, which is a collaboration between Hot Press and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI), will run from Monday, March 12 to Friday, April 13.
Designed to promote Irish artists and bands, it will see significantly increased radio play for Irish music across 25 independent radio stations as well as €100k being paid directly to Irish artists.
“In total, twenty-five independent radio stations from all over Ireland have signed up for what is the biggest ever sustained programming initiative undertaken by local stations since the foundation of independent radio in Ireland, in 1989,” a spokesperson for Hot Press explained.
The event is supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, under its Sound & Vision scheme.
Other supporters of the project include MCD Productions, IMRO, RAAP, Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Camden Recording Studios and the Rubyworks label.
During Irish Music Month, the participating stations have acreed to play significantly more Irish music and to participate in a major national talent search, to find a ‘new local hero’.
That person will then be supported to release a single of their own on the Rubyworks label, which will be guaranteed support on radio stations across Ireland.
The single will be recorded in Camden Recording Studios and produced by Cian Boylan – who has worked with Bono, Sinead O’Connor, Gregory Porter, Emily Sandé, Dave Stewart, Van Morrison and David Gray, and it will be mixed by the Grammy Award-winning Ruadhri Cushnan, who has mixed hits for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, Shawn Mendes, All Saints and K. T. Tunstal.
"Irish Music Month is a huge statement of support for Irish musicians and artists by Ireland’s independent radio stations and by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes said.
“The support from the BAI for the initiative is hugely welcome. We are also thrilled with the level of support shown by Ireland’s independent stations, with a massive 25 radio stations getting involved.
“Make no mistake, Irish Music Month requires a huge commitment from every individual station. But it isn’t just the stations that are heavily involved in the project – staff, programme makers, broadcasters and DJs all over the country have been brilliant advocates for Irish Music Month.
"I have always believed that radio has an absolutely essential role to play in nurturing and supporting Irish talent, so it is really fantastic to see that being put into action together, by 25 stations that cover every blade of grass in the country."
Numerous Irish artists have recorded messages of support for Irish Music Month, including The Script, Kodaline, The Cranberries, Adam Clayton of U2, James Vincent McMorrow, Lyra, Danny O’Reilly of The Coronas, Andrea Corr, Una Healy, Villagers, Soulé, Mary Black, Cian Ducrot, and current Hot Press cover stars Inhaler and The Academic.
President Higgins has also welcomed the return of the initiative, stating: “May I send my very best wishes to all of those who are participating in, and supporting, this year’s Irish Music Month.
“It is an initiative which has already proven enormously valuable and it constitutes a major statement of support for Irish music by 25 independent Irish radio stations, working together with Hot Press, and supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
“The role and significance of music to life in Ireland cannot be over-stated. Irish musicians are among our most talented and best loved performers.
“They are also, as it happens, among the finest practitioners of their art in the world.”
He added: “Irish Music Month is yet another statement of the central role of culture in our lives; of what we owe to the commitment of so many dedicated people within the artistic community for ensuring access to that culture; and of the support that is there for them from the media, which is so important to nurturing and encouraging our artistic talent.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to every single one of the 25 independent radio stations, spread as they are across the country – and providing as they do a special connection to the citizens of this country and to music fans across all genres – for supporting this important event.
“I thank them, and all those involved in Irish Music Month, and I wish you every success with this very valuable and imaginative initiative.”