Thursday, 02 August 2018

Cuán Ó Flatharta
The new Presenter of 'Splanc' on Newstalk 106 - 108FM

Cuán Ó Flatharta
Aerthonnta chatted with the new presenter of 'Splanc', the only Irish language programme on Newstalk 106 - 108FM

Tell me about yourself…

My name is Cuán Ó Flatharta and I’m lucky to be the presenter of ‘Splanc’, a programme that’s been on Newstalk for more than ten years. It’s a great programme and apart from that, I do commentary for TG4 and RTÉ. As well as that, I’m the principal of Gaelscoil na Giúise. As a programme, ‘Splanc’ is a mixed bag… we discuss politics; sport; film; music; food… Everything. That’s probably what people like about ‘Splanc’… that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. So, yes, we cover the big stories, but we also want to give people the opportunity to talk and we’re always thinking of the listeners… the people who might be listening when they’re on their way home on a Friday evening, they’re looking for something interesting that’s not too heavy, with clear Irish.

What are the challenges involved with your show?

I suppose the greatest challenges are faced by the producer, Niamh Ní Shúilleabháin; that she has to find guests who know their stuff, who speak Irish and who are available to come and speak to us Friday evenings. In terms of presenting, I just need to make sure that I’ve done my homework and that I don’t let Niamh, the producer, down!

The nice thing about ‘Splanc’, as the only Irish language programme on one of the national stations broadcast throughout the country; is that it presents a great opportunity for people to hear the language. Of course, it presents a challenge also, in that we need to find suitable guests to talk about the subjects that we want to cover. From my side; that I have done my homework and that we have the Irish language sources and that we can chat in Irish- that’s a challenge. 

Another challenge is that we’re here fighting for the Irish language on Newstalk and looking for support so that we can broadcast a great show every week.

Who have been your favourite guests on the show?

I suppose, it’s strange when you’re presenting a show for two hours- the show moves so quickly and your mindset is changing rapidly, that it can be difficult to stop and say ‘Oh, that was very good’ because you need to move on to the next segment. There have been a couple of conversations that I’ve really enjoyed (although, I’m probably a bit biased…) I love chatting to my uncle, Traolach Ó Buachalla, once a month about tv or Netflix. But, one of my favourite monthly conversations is with our music reviewer Katie Ní Loinsigh. I wouldn’t have a clue about music, to be honest, but there’s something so inspiringabout Katie when she’s talking about it. Her love for music can be heard in her voice and she really adds to the programme. Of course, I enjoy our conversations, but I’m sure the listeners at home do too- it’s good radio because of the energy and enthusiasm that she brings, and the love she has for music really comes across.

How important do you think it is that Irish language programmes are heard on stations where most of the programmes are in English?

I think it’s very important that Irish is heard, these days- that people see and hear others speaking Irish. What is the point of the Irish schools… TG4… what is the point of this whole movement to encourage the use of Irish, if it isn’t part of day-to-day life? That’s one of the big questions I have, personally, as a native Irish speaker; as someone who is raising his children through Irish… What’s the point of all of this if the language isn’t naturally accessible within society? Not just that one group of Irish speakers are coming together- that is important, of course- but it should be happening naturally and that’s the good thing about Splanc, that’s it’s on every week and that anyone can listen in; maybe by chance in a taxi on the way home and I think that matters. That it can be stumbled across naturally.