Ocean FM has closed its offices and studios in Donegal Town and Manorhamilton, with all programming now broadcasting from Collooney, Co Sligo.
The BAI approved the move late last year after the station applied for permission in September. The station said that the closure of the studios would not negatively impact on the programming commitments set out in their contract, including commitments to specific local content and regular outside broadcasts.
Speaking to the Donegal Post about the departure of staff from Cruagorm House in the town, Commercial Director Daniel Browne said: “Recent changes in broadcasting technology mean that the ability to broadcast from anywhere within our franchise area is now no longer restricted to being based in a studio.
“Ocean is a business that prides itself on being in the community and working for our listeners and local business. Being stuck in a second story office building with limited access for the public and no visibility is no longer how broadcasting in 2017 needs to be.
“We have invested in digital broadcasting units that allow us to bring live action from the side of a pitch in Ardara to an election count in Letterkenny. And we as a business and as a news-gathering service for the region want to be in the middle of the action and not removed from it in a cosy studio!!”
The BAI said: “In September 2017, the BAI received a submission from Ocean FM seeking approval for the closure of their studios in Donegal Town and Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim. At its October meeting, the Authority considered the proposal, having had regard to the terms of the current sound broadcasting contract and the rationale set out in the submission.
“The Authority noted the confirmation from Ocean FM that the closure of the studios would not negatively impact on the programming commitments set out in their contract, including commitments to specific local content and regular outside broadcasts.
“The Authority also noted Ocean FM’s planned investment in programming and other aspects of the service resulting from the savings associated with the studio closures. In this context, the Authority was satisfied to approve the proposed closure of the studios.”