Three months after the launch of UTV Ireland and with an ever growing choice of Irish TV channels , RTE 1& 2, TV3, 3e, Seatnta and TG4 on Tuesday March 3rd 2015 just after 8pm I found myself with nothing decent to watch but I discovered other choices that may not regularly appear in the Neilsen/TAM ratings.
First I found an excellent mix of chat and country & western music on 'Ireland Country TV' which I found on the Bonanza Bonanza channel. The show was at The City West Hotel at a country music awards ceremony and as well as interviewing the cream of Irish country music artists they played tracks from all those interviewed. This was followed by the Lawrence John Show and I remember L.J. from his days in 1987 with pirate radio station CARA FM/Heartbeat FM in Dublin.
One channel up was Irish TV and Westmeath Matters. Perhaps it was a little local for my liking but the show was professional presented, edited and despite the fact that I am a jackeen, I found the show fascinating. By now I did not miss the channels that 'deserve our licence fee'.
10p.m. and I channel surfed to Dublin Community Television whose Dublin digest show 'Citywide' was delving into the community across the city. But why confine myself to Dublin, Cork Community TV had an excellent documentary on 'Skiddy's Almhouse' and people who live in a 'living national monument' but by now I had veered off the traditional TV box in the corner of the living room. I was watching TV, like so many in today's technological society online. An Lar TV had a history infomercial titled 'Shoe & Boot Makers Est. 1937 - The Dubarry Story' followed by 'Nefaeria - The Irish Goddess Macha' after whom Armagh was named.
Other channels I admittedly flicked through was Irish Horse TV who had an inspiring interview with Para Equestrian competitor Emma Cahill, while you could watch pirate radio station Phever FM in action on Livestream TV and still on a pirate TV theme LTV2 from Millstreet in County Cork had their latest offering available on Vimeo for someone like me who would not be close enough to a transmitter. These channels can be described as 'TV Channels' as they have a regular schedule although these are not found in the RTE Guide or TV Now
The best programme of the night was on Near TV and a documentary produced with BAI Sound and Vision funding titled 'The Battle of Clontarf, 1000 years on' which took a detailed look at the battle that killed the then High King of Ireland Brian Boru and the centenary celebrations held in Dublin in 2014.
Perhaps the main channels will not feel threatened by these channels as they are not leaking advertising revenue to the small stations but the sheer quality and range of programming available to the viewer is both refreshing and delightful. Two hours of TV, Guaranteed Irish produced TV, nothing imported, no advertising and entertainment that should be embraced and supported.