Tuesday, 01 May 2018

Gráinne Uí Chaomhánaigh
Presenter on Phoenix FM

Gráinne Uí Chaomhánaigh
Aerthonnta spoke to the presenter about the Irish language shows on Phoenix FM

Introduce yourself...

I'm Gráinne Uí Chaomhánaigh and I work with Phoenix FM, a community station in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. I'm involved with lots of English language programmes; including the women's programme and current affairs, but I am mainly focused on the Irish language programmes. A couple of years ago, I presented a programme called 'Ag Caint le Gráinne' where i interviewed people from all walks of life; sport, arts and culture. Programmes over the two years are now available to listen to as podcasts on the Phoenix FM website. Right now, I present 'Aon Scéal?', a magazine programme which covers a variety of subjects from weeke to week; local events, Irish language events, music and all sorts. There is a lot of demand from the local gaelscoileanna for slots on the programme and it's great to hear young people on the air.

What are the challenges involved with your work on the show?

I'm always focused on having variety; keeping the show exciting; finding guests and getting them into studio... It can be hard to get people to take part because I often find that people assume that their Irish is not good enough or that their stories are not interesting enough for the show. I sometimes joke with them and say 'Yes, that's exactly why I asked you; because you have no interesting stories and you're not able for it...!' It's a shame when people lack the confidence to accept the invitation to come on the show. It can be a challenge to encourage people and to sometimes hold their hand through the process... Apart from that, keeping the variety is paramount, because (without a team) I am relying on just my own ideas and it's important not to fall into the same pattern week after week.

Tell us what you most enjoy about your work...

Between the two programmes; I love any show that becomes exciting- there's nothing better than a chatty guest who can take the conversation down new avenues and to possibly answer your next question too, without you realising. A programme where the time flies; where there's a variety of subjects and where there's great feedback from the listeners... when the guests themselves enjoy the show- that's a good programme in my book.

How important is it to have Irish language programmes on English language stations?

It's hugely important. If there are Gaeilgeoirs out there who are looking for Irish language radi, they already know Raidió na Gaeltachta and Raidió na Life and those kinds of stations, but some of them are intimidated by the high standard and Gaeltacht Irish that is being spoken on these stations because maybe the presenters are speaking quickly, which can be difficult for learners and maybe the learners lack the confidence to follow it. So, if you want to promote the language among people who might have less of a grasp of it, or believe they have less of a grasp of it, a good place to start would be a station where people are already listening in English. I believe strongly that it's better to have a lot of people speaking a little Irish in a lot of places than the opposite. It's great to be out there. As well as that, sometimes without even realising it, you can inspire other presenters to take an interest and maybe even get on board with the language. We are a very international community, so we have plenty of programmes in other languages on the station. If we have some Irish language story to report, it can be a good idea to promote it on an English language programme and have the possibility of promoting, publiscising and developing your programme for a wider audience.

What advice do you have for anyone who is presenting an Irish language programme, or would like to?

Get involved with the station team and be part of the station community. Don't be an island, look for support and advice and for the chance to create new partnerships. Make use of the new forum 'Aerthonnta' to find out what other stations are doing in the city and around the country, to add to your own ideas; make new friends and expand your community. It's hard to come up with good ideas all on your own and I'm delighted that 'Aerthonnta' is there and that I can. bit by bit, get to know other presenters who are doing the same thing as me, around the country and to add to the range of listening options available for people.