Research reports exploring views of young people on Irish language youth radio service published
New research reports exploring the views of young people in relation to a potential youth-focused Irish language hybrid radio service have found a significant level of interest amongst respondents. Such a service would likely need to reflect the move of young audiences towards digital, by providing access to content across both traditional FM and digital/online.
The two-part research project was commissioned by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Foras na Gaeilge and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. The aim of the research was to ascertain interest in and the potential for a full-time hybrid Irish language radio service aimed at the 15-34 audience in Ireland. The research was recommended by the Irish Language Advisory Committee. The work was also informed by the Government’s 20-year Strategy for the Irish Language and the BAI’s commitments to Irish language broadcasting, as set out in its Strategy Statement.
The first phase was undertaken by Ipsos. This explored the views of a national representative sample of the 15-34-year-old demographic on their interest in, and openness to listening to, an Irish language station, as well as motivations for listening. The second phase was undertaken by Bricolage. This comprised a qualitative research study among Irish language native and fluent-speaking communities. It explored audio and media habits of this youth audience and the type of audio content (both English and Irish) that they engage with and the perceived gaps in Irish language content.
Among the findings from the research were:
- Overall, on a national level, the youth market is highly engaged with audio content and radio is still the leading format among audio content providers. However, the target audience of 15–34-year-olds is becoming increasingly non-linear as they move to digital content consumption. Podcasts and socially sharable clips are seen to complement live radio and would be an important component of any new service.
- Respondents found that, of the current Irish language radio services available, no single current radio station fully appeals across the different audiences identified in the research. Each of the Irish language radio stations occupies a distinct space in the eyes of respondents, divided by quality of Irish, and leading-edge vs conventional subject matter. There is seen to be an opening for a youth-focused and high-quality Irish offering.
- Respondents whose first language is English highlighted an openness to, interest in, and a willingness to try out, a new Irish language station. A key draw for this audience would be the type of music played on the service. For the Irish language speaking youth audience, there was a real appetite for increased choice in high quality Irish language audio content (art, chat shows, Irish culture, current affairs, sports, true crime series, fashion, comedy, & music content) across FM and digital.
BAI Chief Executive, Celene Craig said: “One of the BAI’s strategic objectives is to foster and promote quality programming in the Irish language, with a particular focus on content for youth audiences. The research published today has been of immense value in furthering our understanding in this area. It is evident that there is an appetite for additional and diverse Irish language content among young audiences, encompassing a range of topics including Irish culture, current affairs, general entertainment, comedy and music. It is also interesting to note that respondents highlight the value of supplementing the traditional radio offering with digital content such as podcasts and social media interactions, creating a sense of community for audiences.
“While there is scope for more diverse and culturally relevant content, further consideration would need to be given to the sustainability of any new service in an ever-changing and evolving media landscape. Any next steps would also need to be mindful of the impact of a new service on current broadcasters.
“I hope that this research will be of assistance to the new media regulator, Coimisiún na Meán, when considering any new licensing strategies as part of its own regulatory activities in ensuring that Irish audiences are served by a diverse range of broadcasting services that are open and pluralistic in nature.”
Foras na Gaeilge Príomhfheidhmeannach, Seán Ó Coinn also welcomed the research, and the desire to expand the choice available to those who listen to Irish language radio content.
Welcoming progress on the issue, he said: “With very limited resources, Raidió na Gaeltachta and the two Irish-language community radio stations, Raidió na Life in Dublin and Raidió Fáilte in Belfast, have been very successful in developing radio audiences in the Gaeltacht and throughout the island. Their range, resources and scope, however, are limited at present. The development of a new service with a focus on the young adult community would considerably enhance the diversity and availability of radio content for this section of the population, and contribute significantly to the potential for people to use and enjoy Irish in their normal, everyday lives, throughout the island of Ireland and further afield.”
The research reports can be found here.
Media contact: Joanne Ahern, DHR Communications, Tel: 087-9881837
Notes to Editors:
- Irish Language Advisory Committee: The Irish Language Advisory Committee is jointly chaired by the BAI and Foras na Gaeilge and comprises representatives from the BAI, Foras na Gaeilge, Oireachtas na Gaeilge, RTÉ, TG4, CRAOL, IBI and SPI. Its role is to support the implementation of the BAI’s Irish Language Action Plan and to develop and promote initiatives that will help increase the levels of Irish content available to audiences on both radio and television.
- The recently published Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022, which sets out the statutory licensing process, can be found here.
- Information about radio licensing, including relevant policies and processes, further to the Broadcasting Act 2009, can be found here.