LYRIC FM fans have been sharing what the Limerick-based station means to them as its future remains uncertain.
An outcry from listeners could be heard across the nation last September when it was announced that the national broadcaster was considering closing the station, which has its headquarters on Robert street.
Since then, a petition to save the station has gathered over 22,000 signatures.
Furthermore, the most recent JNLR figures have shown that Lyric FM’s weekly listeners have increased to 282,000 per week.
The Limerick Voice has been speaking to some of those listeners as they continue their fight to keep the station alive. They explain what it means to them.
“’I’m actually in Cork School of Music right now and a lot of people are only here because of Lyric,” claims one fan of the station, Fiachra Bissett.
“Classical music is pretty classist at times. The instruments are expensive, so are the tickets, and so fans of classical music tend to be quite wealthy and they pass that on to their children.
“Lyric is like a jumping on point for people who wouldn’t come from musical families, or families who wouldn’t listen to that type of music at all,” he explains.
“And overall it’s just such a broad genre with so much music in it, it’s hard to know where to start. Lyric plays the ‘hits’ of classical music,” Fiachra adds.
Apart from classical music enthusiasts, Lyric FM seems to be a source of comfort for many, especially Irish people living abroad.
Barry Cahill, who listens from London, is even considering starting an Over Seas Friends of Lyric FM fund to keep his favourite station alive.
“I find it extremely calming to listen to in a way that no other radio compares and have discovered some wonderful music from listening to it,” he says, speaking of the special connection he feels to the station.
“After my grandfather died, my grandmother used to leave Lyric on through the night to keep her company in the final years of her life. My English wife can tell you what time the Nuacht will be on, and sometimes asks me about parts of Ireland she heard Aedín Gormley talking about.
“It gives me a connection to home.”
Another Irish native living in London, Lauren Costello, finds Lyric FM an easy way to start the day.
“It’s quite tiresome either hearing lies and arguments being repeated on morning news programmes or listening to something that’s just about traffic and phone in competitions when there’s so much more at stake here.
“When I found out I could access Lyric FM over here and start the day with relaxing music and be confident there’d be no mention of Brexit over breakfast, I was quite happy.”
Similarly, comments on the online petition show just how important Lyric FM is to some.
“Lyric FM is a station that gives the greatest pleasure to its listeners, just wonderful music and no waffle from ego obsessed presenters. RTÉ should stop squandering money on its other stations and rein in expenses,” says one comment.
Another reads, “Lyric is my favourite radio station. I really enjoy the diversity and range of programmes, that always keep me listening beyond whatever I’d planned to. It is unthinkable that it would be closed down.”
Mary Ellen McGuirk, who started the petition, has also received many emails from people about how it would affect them if the station closed.
“They will say things to me like, ‘you’ve gotta save Lyric FM, this is the best station’, just all of these heartfelt sentiments that I have received in email from individual citizens, so it shows you the incredible effect it would have.
“Some people say it helps them be peaceful.”
It’s understood RTÉ held a meeting this week to discuss the future of the station however, the outcome is not yet known.