Christmas FM has officially launched in Ireland today, and is taking its brand to the UK this year.
The annual festive station started at 1pm live across Ireland – broadcasting on 13 frequencies in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, North Midlands, North East, North Wicklow, South Wicklow, South East and Tralee/Killarney.
Christmas FM is also on Virgin Media Channel 900 and via its apps and website.
This year’s Irish broadcast will be the station’s 10th year on air. Over the last nine years, the station has raised more than €1.25m for good causes. This year’s charity partner is Sightsavers.
Vogue Williams, TV personality and Christmas FM Ambassador 2017 says: “I’m thrilled to be a part of Christmas FM this year and love Sightsavers’ work. I always love tuning in when I’m at home in Dublin –
it’s the perfect soundtrack for getting you into the Christmas party season! It’s exciting to see the station launch in the UK this year and I can’t wait to have Christmas music playing 24/7!”
Christmas FM has also introduced a number of sister-stations which are available globally:
• Christmas FM Classical plays ‘Classical and Carols’. The station brings you the best in Classical Christmas music mixed with a wide range of festive carols
• Christmas FM Classics plays ‘Classics and Crooners’. It's a mix of classic old-time Christmas songs pre-1970s from Bing to Frank and Nat to Eartha
• Christmas FM North Pole is Santa's Official Radio Station. Broadcasting from a studio on top of the North Pole State Building (the tallest building in the North Pole), our job is to bring the Magic of Christmas to the world and we want you to be the DJ by uploading your Christmas Greetings
Garvan Rigby, co-founder of Christmas FM, says: “We are delighted to bring Christmas FM back on-air for our tenth year. We are beyond delighted to have reached this point and want to thank each and every one of our listeners who have supported us on our journey and in turn, supporting each of our chosen charities. We would like to thank Dunnes Stores and Cadbury who have come on board as the 2017 premier FM sponsors and for Sightsavers who have been chosen as this year’s chosen charity. We’re excited to get on air and begin our fundraising so we can give the gift of sight this Christmas to many deserving people.”
Ciara Smullen, Head of Major Giving, at Sightsavers Ireland says: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the 2017 charity by Christmas FM. At Sightsavers we work tirelessly to conduct as many sight-restoring operations as we can, which make an indescribable difference to the lives of each patient and their families. Not only are we giving back a person’s sight, we are giving back their lives, their independence. A straightforward operation can turn someone’s life around. With the support of Christmas FM and the generous donations of this year’s listeners we are aiming to help over 5,000 people by giving them the gift of sight this Christmas.”
Chief Executive of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), Michael O’Keeffe, says: “This is the tenth year that the BAI has granted a temporary sound broadcasting licence to Christmas FM and we are delighted to see it returning to the airwaves. With a fantastic fundraising record, Christmas FM underlines the value of radio in the everyday lives of people in Ireland. We wish the partners and participants every success in producing an entertaining broadcast schedule and in their fundraising efforts.”
In England, Christmas FM will operate an independent service in the Liverpool and London areas on DAB Digital Radio. Co-founder and joint Programme Director, Garvan Rigby told RadioToday: “The difference we have is the content between the records. It’s not just liners, jingles and music – there’s a lot of content that our experienced presenters will bring. They know how to do Christmas radio. Anyone who likes Christmas is our audience!”
You’ll be able to hear an interview with Garvan talking about Christmas FM on the RadioToday Programme podcast out tomorrow (Wednesday). Meanwhile, check out our full interview with Garvan from last year, here.