Near FM

Near Media Co-op is a democratic not-for-profit media co-operative which uses media as a tool for community development. The Co-op was founded in 1982 and has over 600 shareholders and more than 120 regular volunteers, and 32 staff.
Dublin North East Community Communications Co-Operative was formed on 19 March 1983. It is registered with the Registrar of Friendly Societies and submits audited returns annually to that Department. It is a not-for-profit democratic organisation open to all individuals and community organisations in Dublin North East.
The initial stage of development was devoted to a study of community radio practices abroad, the evaluation of its potential here and a feasibility study.
Having established the potential and viability, elections were held to ensure that the project represented a wide diversity of community organisations.
Having secured a broadcast licence from the Independent Radio and Television Commission, IRTC, (now the BAI, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) the group raised the necessary seed capital to launch the new community service.
The project continues to expand its services to the community and is currently involved in an ‘outreach’ programme with the communities of North East Dublin.
Initially, the Co-operative’s main project was the community radio station. Now, this service has broadened to include other media platforms. The co-op has established NearTV a partner of the Dublin Community Television project. We also have a strong online presence, using vimeo, youtube and podcast as a way to disseminate our content. The three platforms provide an extraordinarily exciting setting for the community, who benefit from the experience of using media and access quality training.
In 2008, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland granted permission to Nearfm to increase its broadcasting hours from 16 to 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. We have programmes made in partnership with a wide variety of local groups, adult education groups, such as Aontas and City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), the Northside CIS, Northside Law Centre, Northside Community Forum and minority groups such as Travellers, disability organisations (we have been working with the Central Remedial Clinic, providing training and producing radio and TV programmes with their clients for the last eight years) and asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. We produce development education and drama programming. We also offer a wide variety of specialist music programmes from jazz to classical to ska.
Also relevant is that our last TNS/MRBI listening survey found that
• Listenership levels are good for a local community radio station. Just under one quarter of the catchment area declare that they have ever listened to Nearfm with 6% listening within the past 7 days.
• Key interest programming topics for listeners are local information and current affairs, the environment/human rights, history and heritage in the local area and specialist music. We also note the station performance in broadcasting these topics is highly rated.
The catchment area of Near has a population of 150,000, which has not changed significantly since the last census of 2006. It has a wide geographic spread with some of the country’s most affluent areas (Sutton) and those experiencing very high levels of poverty and social exclusion. Nationally, of the 29 District Electoral Divisions (DEDs) that are classified by the HAASE Index of Relative Influence as being among the most disadvantaged, 8 of them are in the catchment of Nearfm.
We believe that access to media production comes with responsibilities. All our volunteers receive induction training, which includes a basic introduction to media literacy. We have been involved in several European projects that have focused on the development of training resources that are then used by our own trainers and that we share with other media trainers in Ireland.