fUSe FM ready to take to the airwaves full time

Jonnie in the studio. inbm25-15
Jonnie in the studio. inbm25-15

Ballymoney’s very own radio station - fUSe FM - will be broadcasting full time from next month.

Northern Ireland’s only full time Ulster Scots radio station, fUSe FM took root in 2007 when a small group known back then as ‘North Antrim Events and Media Group’ formed.

One of the very first projects undertaken by the group was a new concept proposed by the Ulster Scots Agency, an Ulster-Scots radio station, to be known as fUSe fm (For Ulster-Scots Enthusiasts).

The group’s first broadcast was very basic, broadcasting out of Ballymoney Orange Hall. Back at this stage all the music was played from CDs with no modern technology runn involved in the broadcast.

One of the driving features behind the station was that the programing was broadcast by local folk speaking in Ulster-Scots and the listeners’ ability to text the station and presenters directly for all their song requests and shout outs -a feature which still exists today.

The group quickly realised their broadcast was popular and made plans to repeat its success the following year.

At the same time another group was being formed called the ‘Ullans Speakers Association’ who planned to open a language and cultural centre in the town. With funding, yet again from the Ulster Scots Agency, the Ullans Speakers Association opened the Ullans Centre in Victoria Street. Within this centre a new comfortable purpose build broadcast studio was constructed on the first floor which allowed fUSe to have a permanent base along with a change in name from North Antrim Events and Media to fUSe fm Ballymoney.

New equipment was purchased allowing the station more independence and the ability to train while the station was not broadcasting. The new studio also gave the group the ability to broadcast online, reaching even more listeners not just around Northern Ireland or the UK but right across the world with messages of support being received from America on several occasions.

fUSe fm was also able to broadcast to local lads who were on tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan which various regiments, allowing them to hear a taste of home in the middle of these war zones.

2012 brought bigger challenges and new opportunities to the station in the form of an invitation to apply for a full time Community Radio licence. By this time the centre had outgrown their premises and in October 2013 made the move to a bigger place situated at the bottom of the town. The studio was built just in time for our now annual Christmas broadcast, with a modern station in mind and to a high quality making it future proof for the upcoming full time station.

fUSe fm continued in 2014 with two further short RSL at both summer and Christmas while at the same time working towards putting measures in place to start broadcasting full time.

The station received formal clearance in May and with the new antenna now installed and commissioning by OFCOM in the next week, fUSe fm Ballymoney have set a new launch date for 6th July at 9am, kicking off with the popular Breakfast Show on their new frequency 107.5 fm.