• Friends and feelings: the appropriation of Facebook by Irish radio stations to enhance audience engagement through affective media experiences

      McMahon, Daithi; University of Derby (Lund University and University of Westminster, 2016)
      Radio audiences have become increasingly interested in engaging with radio stations via social network sites (SNS), finding radio station Facebook pages as a source of information, entertainment and as a channel for audience participation. Meanwhile in an attempt to remain viable in an increasingly digital mediascape radio station management have appropriated Facebook and other SNSs to create a broader media experience for their audiences. This has involved moving radio stations beyond simple audio broadcasters to become digital media producers, adding visual and highly interactive dimensions to their arsenal. The adoption of Facebook by the Irish radio industry has been driven by commercial forces with station management engaging with audiences via Facebook to help grow online and on-air audience numbers with the goal of increasing revenue. Using the Irish radio industry as a case study this research found that some radio stations are more adept at engaging with their audiences than others. Those stations that employ the medium effectively are connecting with audiences on an emotional level, evoking feelings and instigating affective communication between users. The focus of this research resides at the nexus of radio industry trends, audience engagement experiences and radio production practices, all of which have changed as a result of the adoption of Facebook and other SNSs by the Irish radio industry. This research involved in-depth analysis of three radio stations including commercial and public service stations broadcasting to local, regional and national audiences. The methodology included analysis of Facebook page content, interviews with industry professionals and an audience survey of N=419 radio listeners/Facebook users. This research forms part of the author’s doctoral thesis which explores the social, economic and cultural implications of Facebook use by Irish radio stations and their audiences.
    • Left behind.

      O'Connor, Aisling; Clarke, Siobhan; McMahon, Daithi; University of Derby (Shannonside Northern Sound Radio, 2014-04)
      This production was heavily inspired by the Ann Lovett's story from 1984. Ann was a 15-year-old schoolgirl found dead at a Grotto in Granard, Co Longford in late January with her new born baby by her side. Both died of exposure. This drama suggests what might have happened had a heavily pregnant Ann fled Granard. The play explores the journey her daughter may have taken to uncover her mother's past in a community unwilling to discuss it. The writers were careful not to be overt in their references to the Ann Lovett story as it remains a sensitive subject in the area to this day. This drama is unique because it strives to give young Irish women with unexpected pregnancies a voice in a country where abortion remains illegal. The drama skillfully integrates flashbacks to the 1980s to imagine the struggle and pain Cyndi's mother must have experienced. The radio play was written by Aisling O'Connor (producer) and Siobhan Clarke (director). The production was produced and edited by This production was heavily inspired by the Ann Lovett's story from 1984. Ann was a 15-year-old schoolgirl found dead at a Grotto in Granard, Co Longford in late January with her new born baby by her side. Both died of exposure. This drama suggests what might have happened had a heavily pregnant Ann fled Granard. The play explores the journey her daughter may have taken to uncover her mother's past in a community unwilling to discuss it. The writers were careful not to be overt in their references to the Ann Lovett story as it remains a sensitive subject in the area to this day. This drama is unique because it strives to give young Irish women with unexpected pregnancies a voice in a country where abortion remains illegal. The drama skillfully integrates flashbacks to the 1980s to imagine the struggle and pain Cyndi's mother must have experienced. The radio play was written by Aisling O'Connor (producer) and Siobhan Clarke (director). The production was produced and edited by Daithí McMahon.
    • Lusitania: Beneath the surface.

      McMahon, Daithi; O'Connor, Fred; University of Derby (Radio Kerry, 2014-12)
      After the RMS Lusitania is sunk by a German U-boat off the south-west coast of Ireland in 1915 the people of the Blasket Islands in Co Kerry rallied to save as many souls as possible and nurse them back to health. This is the story of how one of those survivors unsettles the peaceful islands as his dark past is quickly catching up with him after an investigation is launched into the sinking.
    • Matches.

      O'Connor, Sean; McMahon, Daithi; University of Derby (Newstalk 106-108FM, 21/03/2015)
      Matches is the story of Tom, a recovering alcoholic looking for love in a world of dating apps, social media and the ever-present lure of alcohol. Exploring this mysterious sub-culture, Tom discovers some of the thrills and pitfalls of the modern dating scene. Tom Brody is a Dublin man in his late-thirties recovering from alcoholism. Tom's recent sobriety has brought many improvements. He is happier, healthier and getting on better with his family. The one area he finds more difficult is dating. Without the reliable meeting place of the pub, Tom finds meeting women more complicated than ever in a social scene still dominated by drinking. Furthermore, without the traditional 'Dutch courage', Tom feels more than a little awkward approaching the opposite sex sober. A friend introduces Tom to Quiver, the latest dating app for everything from lifetime relationships to random hookups. Along the way he conquers his awkwardness with social media and discovers some strange rules and peculiarities of the online dating world. Tom's initial success on the single scene pushes him to take ever greater risks with his sobriety as he encounters the pitfalls of keeping his history a secret. Ultimately Tom learns that being honest with himself is as important as being honest with others and that meeting his ideal match is about more than a perfect dating profile.
    • Opening up the debate: Irish radio, Facebook, and the creation of transnational cultural public spheres.

      McMahon, Daithi; University of Derby (Transcript Verlag, 02/10/2018)
      Radio has become an increasingly digitised medium in recent years with a growing online presence becoming ever more integral to the medium’s output and identity. Furthermore, it has become integral to radio stations’ audience recruitment and retention strategies. While radio has long been a platform for on-air public debate and discourse, the limitations of technology always meant that only a limited number of listeners could take part. The largest social network site, Facebook, now provides the infrastructure for public spheres to exist online which means a much wider audience can participate and contribute to discussions and debates including the extensive Irish diaspora – which has grown significantly as a cohort since 2008 due to mass emigration – making it a transnational phenomenon. Using the Irish radio industry and Radio Kerry as a case study this research found that although some instances of traditional Habermasian public spheres exist on radio station Facebook pages, such instances were very limited. Instead audiences are participating in what closely resemble cultural public spheres (McGuigan 2005) where the topics of discussion are of a cultural, social or emotional nature, eschewing debates on current affairs/public issues. This chapter looks at the use of Facebook for audience recruitment and retention from an Irish context and within that is focused on the local commercial radio station Radio Kerry. The methodology included textual analysis of Facebook page content, interviews with industry professionals, an audience survey and one in-depth interview with an audience member.
    • Radio 2.0: How Facebook is enhancing audience participation for Irish radio audiences.

      McMahon, Daithi; University of Limerick (Academic Conferences and Publishing International, 2014-07)
      As a traditional mass medium radio is proving its flexibility and resilience in an ever more digitalised mediascape by increasing its presence on one of the fastest growing digital platforms, Facebook. With the radio industry in Ireland as a case study, this project examines the use of Facebook by radio producers and their audiences as a medium for deeper interaction and explores the functions this contact serves for the audience member, for the radio producer, and for society as a whole. Based on recent findings, this doctoral research argues that radio producers are increasingly engaging with their audiences through Facebook for commercial reasons, in an effort to build audience loyalty and grow their audience share in a highly competitive industry. Radio audiences are following their favourite radio programmes on Facebook in growing numbers seeking an enhanced media experience and opportunities to exercise their agency as active audiences and participate in the on-air and online conversations. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that public spheres and virtual communities are created on radio station Facebook pages and that some users build social capital between one another through extended interaction. The convergence of radio with Facebook is thus allowing an old medium to remain competitive at a time when digital media is threatening the traditional mass media.The methodology involves both qualitative and quantitative research methods including interviews with radio producers and audience members combined with a survey of the latter, textual analysis of radio station Facebook pages and a longitudinal content analysis of Facebook interactivity across the Irish radio industry. The project is nearing completion and therefore this paper will present the main findings that demonstrate the capacity of radio as a medium to engage with and profit from the introduction of new digital technologies, particularly Facebook.
    • William Melville: Eve of war

      McMahon, Daithi; O'Connor, Fred; University of Derby (Raidió Chiarraí Teoranta, 08/01/2015)
      This detective drama was written and produced to educate the Irish audience about one of their greatest historical heroes, the spymaster William Melville, a.k.a. ‘M’, whose exploits have been largely overlooked by historians. The script, audio style, performances and soundscape were carefully designed to recreate the classic detective radio dramas of the 1940s, offering a unique nostalgic experience for the listener, rarely heard on radio today. Synopsis: It’s 1914. Europe is on the brink of a war that will define the 20th century, and the fledgling British Secret Service, under the command of Kerryman William Melville, must stop a German spy ring operating covertly throughout London before they carry out their deadly operation. Based on real events this drama recreates the plot that pitted the legendary detective, who hailed from Sneem, Co. Kerry, against the Kaiser's ruthless spymaster, Gustav Steinhauer. Once colleagues but now adversaries, each man will stop at nothing to complete his mission. The German plot is to destroy the gold reserves in the Bank of England, thereby shattering Britain's economy and severely hampering or nullifying Britain's war effort. The events are thought to have inspired Ian Fleming to write his best-selling James Bond novel Goldfinger. This programme is part of a special ongoing series of dramas on spymaster William Melville. This production was selected to compete for the Prix Europa 2016 in the Radio Fiction category and won Silver for Best Radio Drama at the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards 2016.
    • William Melville: The Queen's detective.

      McMahon, Daithi; O'Connor, Fred; University of Derby (Radio Kerry, 2014-05)
      In this classic detective drama, set in the summer of 1889, Melville’s skills are put to the test as he is assigned to protect the visiting Shah of Persia as Fenian anarchists aim assassinating the royal guest. This drama is based on actual events and creates an intriguing insight into the world of political intrigue, criminality, and espionage that would have existed in late Victorian London. The drama was produced for the audience in county Kerry where William Melville was from and was intended to educate and entertain the listeners young and old about one of the county's most decorated sons.
    • With a little help from my friends: The Irish radio industry's strategic appropriation of social network sites for commercial growth.

      McMahon, Daithi; University of Derby (IGI Global, 2017)
      Ireland has faced significant economic hardship since 2008, with the Irish radio industry suffering as advertising revenues evaporated. The difficult economic circumstances have forced radio station management to devise new and cost effective ways of generating much-needed income. The answer has come in the form of Facebook, the leading Social Network Site (SNS) in Ireland. Using Ireland as a case study, this chapter looks at how radio station management are utilising the social network strategically in a bid to enhance their audiences and revenues. Radio station management consider Facebook to be an invaluable promotional tool which is very easily integrated into radio programming and gives radio a digital online presence, reaching far greater audiences than possible through broadcasting. Some radio stations are showing ambition and are realising the marketing potential that Facebook and other SNSs hold. However, key changes in practice, technology and human resources are required to maximise the profit-making possibilities offered by Facebook.