The popular part time local Ulster Scots radio station, fUSe FM will be back on air from 8.00am on Monday June 20. Broadcasting from the purpose built fUSe FM studio at the Ullans Centre in Victoria Street, Ballymoney, this will be the ninth time fUSe will have gone on air in the Toon.
The concept of fUSe (For Ulster Scots Enthusiasts) came from the Ulster Scots Agency back in 2007 and in December of that year, the station first went on air in Ballymoney for a 14 day period. In that short time period, with a very limited radius, the station attracted 2,500 texts from the public. Encouraged by the success of the station, those responsible for the management of it, decided to apply for another licence in March 2008. This time the number of texts received totalled 7,500 for the 14 days it was on air.
fUSe FM soon became established in the Ballymoney area, broadcasting from different locations throughout 2008 until the Ullans Centre was opened in July 2009. One of the first things the Ullans Speakers Association did was design and build a purpose built radio and recording suite on the first floor of the building. Listening audiences never decreased and feedback from the public remained high with text totals passing the 50,000 mark that summer and then going beyond 78,000 in the 2010 Christmas run.
One of the main reasons why fUSe FM became so successful in Ballymoney has been the insistence of the management team that presenters must speak in their native Ulster Scots. The Ullans Speakers Association is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of our native Ulster Scots language and the group recognises the importance of radio as a means of doing both.
fUSe FM attempts to cater for all tastes with shows dedicated to specific genres of music. The normal Breakfast Show with Boss and Pan deals mainly with music from the 1960s, 70s and 80s and this show is normally followed by a two- hour Irish country show where presenters alternate between Charlie & Mervyn and Jim & Noel.
Victoria & Jonnie focus on contemporary music whilst the Drivetime Show featuring Codie and Sterlin takes on quizzes, modern music and banter. Tubes deals mainly with American Country and Alan W hosts the Ulster Scots music shows and also present the Sunday morning gospel show. Bands feature heavily with Bap, Homer and Furby, and the normal schedule is often expanded to bring in more presenters and casual hosts.
Speaking about fUSe FM in Ballymoney, Gary Blair from the Ulster Scots Agency said,
“The fUSe experiment has been tried in different parts of the country but none have been as successful as Ballymoney. The station there is well organised by a core number of people who live and breathe Ulster Scots and their dedication and enthusiasm shines through when fUSe goes on air. The station not only promotes our native tongue but has also created new skills in the community and brought something to Ballymoney that has never been before. I have received word from Ofcom that community licences will be available for application in 2012 so the Agency will certainly be making a pitch for a full time licence for Ballymoney on behalf of fUSe FM.”
Since its inception, fUSe fm has really been at the hearts of the North Antrim community and from 2007 until now; over £6000 has been donated to charities within the region and Northern Ireland. This run of fuse is no different; with the team preparing for a parachute jump should enough money be raised. For every £350 gathered, one member of the fuse fm team will participate in a parachute jump, so the more that is raised, the more of the team have to jump.... all money will go towards the Lapland Trust for Northern Ireland. Donations can be made by calling into the UIlans Centre, 4-6 Victoria Street, Ballymoney. As usual, fuse can be contacted for all your requests, show outs etc.. by texting 07936007888 which is the direct link to the studio. So tune into 106.2fm from Monday 20th June and for those in a poor signal area, you can listen live if you have the internet at www.fusefmballymoney.com