RosFM…20 years of serving the community

The RosFM Community Radio Station was originally founded in 2004, as a result of a collaboration between voluntary organisations in County Roscommon.

Roscommon Partnership Company (later amalgamated into Roscommon LEADER Partnership), through its Enterprise Coordinator Noel Connolly, facilitated an inter-agency initiative to establish a company called RosEqual. Through this, a community radio station with a disability ethos was funded and established.

The initial start-up funding for RosFM was from the Equal Community Initiative, which was financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and co-funded by EU member states within the 2003-2006 Programme. Equality, social inclusion and employability for minority groups are key pillars of the Equal Initiative.

The project partner organisations in RosFM included the Roscommon Partnership, the Brothers of Charity, the National Learning Network-Rehab Group, the Irish Wheelchair Association, and Roscommon Support Group for people with disabilities.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (now Coimisiún na Meán) granted RosFM its first community radio license in 2004, allowing the station to operate within Roscommon town and environs.

The first Chairperson of RosFM was Noel Connolly and the first Secretary was Tom Flanagan. Bernard Kearney was elected Chairperson in 2006 and remains in the position to this day. The first Manager of the station was Matt Rogers, with Seamus Duke being the current Manager, having been appointed to that position in July 2021.

Since its inception, one of the hallmarks of RosFM has been the provision of certified training (QQI) in radio production for all its volunteers.

Over the years, the station has been funded through a variety of government grant-aided and funded programmes, sponsorship, and advertising by local businesses – as well as local fundraising shows and events. The Roscommon LEADER Partnership, Roscommon County Council, Pobal and the BAI have all been crucial to the development of the station over the years.

Sound and Vision from the BAI has been, for many years, a principal source of funding for the station and instrumental in the production of quality programming.

One of RosFM’s stand-out events over the years was a 35-hour Marathon Broadcast fundraiser in 2007 in aid of the radio station and the Special Olympics. The broadcast was anchored by John Crean, Liam Sherringham and Robbie Dwyer.

Other major fundraising shows over the years included The Kings and Queens of Country, Elvis and Jigs and Reels. One of the station’s more recent fundraisers is the RosFM 50-50 Draw, currently held every two weeks.

RosFM is an award-winning community radio station that has distinguished itself in gaining Major CRAOL Achievement Awards for programming in Irish, Access and Inclusion, Traditional Irish and Folk Music, and in the Arts. The station has also won Easter Parade awards and Volunteering Information Service Awards.

RosFM’s achievements over the last twenty years are a tribute to all the volunteers who keep the station on the air, week in week out.