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June 2020
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2002-12-11 Lyric FM

No matter when I listen, Lyric FM (96-99FM) offers a nice cross-section of classical favourites to suit all tastes, from the discerning listener to the listener looking to hear those classical lollipops and pot-boilers. As I live in Dublin and thus am not in a position to listen to my local stations, Lyric FM - recently voted "Station of the year" - occupies the Number 1 slot on my car radio pre-settings.


And there is a big Sligo link! One of Sligos musical daughters, Gail Henry, is one of the stations principal producers. Gail was born in Strandhill, and is, like myself an Honours Music graduate from UCD. She is at present studying for her PhD in Media and Communications in Limerick, where Lyric FM is based. Well known locally as a flautist, teacher and conductor, Gail has worked as a producer in RTE for 5 years, on shows such as Marian Finucane and on 2FM. I first met Gail when Lyric were broadcasting the Lyric Top 20 (11.30am on Saturdays) live from The Square in Tallaght! The affable and experienced broadcaster Michael McNamara announces the top selling classical records in Irish shops, and on that occasion Gail explained that we were to act surprised as we were announced Number 1.

Gails working day starts early as she is producer of one of the stations favourite shows, The Lyric FM Breakfast Show (7-10am weekdays) with Seán Rocks. Seán is himself an accomplished actor, and I remember witnessing his fine interpretation of the role of Michael Collins at the Hawks Well. His radio show includes many features such as suggestions for a comprehensive CD collection, education programmes specifically aimed at the Transition Year, student challenges, as well as Friday Live where Seán is joined live in studio by performers who chat and perform. Among his past guests, Lesley Garret, James Galway, André Rieu and indeed the Celtic Tenors have all warmed up their instruments at ungodly hours in order to perform. From 10am until 12.30, the soft and inviting voice of Máire Nic Gearailt presents Lyric Notes , including an invitation to unwind in her Quiet Quarter as well as introducing you to her Artist of the Week, recently the exciting Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel. At 12.30 for two hours, Niall Carroll introduces the ever-popular Lunchtime Choice where , as the name suggests, the listeners email, phone or text requests to the station. Like the Breakfast Show, it is informative without inflicting on the listener too much talk and discussion and the playlist is an easy non-taxing mix of music offering something for everybody in the audience. Between June and September, Lunchtime Choice offers live concerts from the National Concert Hall in Dublin. The Full Score , once presented by my ex-piano teacher Evelyn Cockburn is now beautifully navigated by ex-news reader Eamonn Lawlor between 2.30 and 4.30pm weekdays. As the name suggests, this is a chance to hear some classic scores in their entirety, a little like BBC Radio 3. Often on my way home from rehearsal, or on my way to a gig I catch all or part of Denis Costellos Into the Evening, which has become probably my favourite show on the station. Denis is overtly passionate about his music, his interesting interviews and his show, and it is clear he puts a great deal of thought and preparation into those 2½ hours from 4.30-7pm. From 10.30pm until 1am, Paul Herriott offers a varied and soothing blend in The Blue of the Night which can include anything from Renaissance polyphony to Bach to the avant-garde to jazz standards. On Sunday evenings at 6, Tim Thurston presents Gloria which lives up to its advertising as the perfect musical accompaniment to the day of rest. Tim can be forgiven for being a little anti-tenor as he himself has a beautiful bass-baritone voice!

There simply isnt enough space here to talk about all this station has to offer  ethnic and world music in Reels to Ragas, music from the movies and musicals in the extremely well-prepared and presented Green Room with Aedín Gormley, the Lyric Concert with Bernard Clarke, and some jazz (not really me, but there ya go).

Lyric FM (96-99FM), with the big Sligo link, is well worth checking out and through Truskmore, Sligo listeners can tune in around 97.8FM.

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