Radio station loses court battle to stay on air

A COMMUNITY radio station which lost its licence to a consortium after 12 years on the air has failed in its High Court challenge to stay on the air.

Radio Kilkenny board chairman Joe Reidy said last night it was unlikely that those behind the station will be appealing yesterday's High Court decision. More than 20 staff employed by the station will lose their jobs.

"The matter will have to go before a board meeting on Tuesday night next. But my own feeling is that this is the end of the line for Radio Kilkenny and that appealing this decision would only be throwing good money after bad," Mr Reidy said.

Radio Kilkenny employs 21 people and is the country's most listened to local radio station with 61% of local listeners. It lost its licence to a group comprising former director of the station John Purcell, film director Jim Sheridan and local potter Nicholas Mosse.

"We've given it our best shot now. The only matter now is to find out from the Broadcasting Commission how long we will be allowed to broadcast," Mr Reidy said.

"It's very hard to see where we can go from here. There is no appeals procedure within the BCI and we were forced into the courts to seek a judicial review. It has cost us hundreds of thousands. We thought we had a good case. But the court didn't seem to think so."

Kilkenny Carlow Local Radio consortium is scheduled to take over in October of next year after winning the licence formerly held by Radio Kilkenny and its counterpart in Carlow, CKR.

The modified franchise area of Carlow-Kilkenny will now feature just one local station.

Those heading the new group have dismissed claims that it will be the end of community radio as listeners in the county know it.

The new station will be known as KCLR The Heart of The Two Counties. KCLR will place an emphasis on news, current affairs, sport, special interest and community access programming from the two counties.

Last night, chairman of the new consortium John Purcell welcomed the High Court decision.

"We welcome today's decision. It clears the way for us to begin broadcasting. We had intended being up and running by October 1. That start date seems unlikely at this point in time. But we may still make it," he said.

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