BBC Radio Foyle has opened its doors to its newly refurbished premises in Derry.
The building, which houses BBC Radio Foyle and operates as the BBC’s production base in the north west now boasts updated radio facilities and a new, purpose built-television studio to better reflect life here to audiences in Northern Ireland and beyond.
The launch was celebrated with an unveiling of a portrait of late-presenter Gerry Anderson, donated to BBC Radio Foyle by local artist Marina Hamilton. The piece of art was unveiled by Gerry’s wife Christine Anderson, who attended with members of the Anderson family, including daughter Kirsty.
Joel Simon, Creative Director of animation company Flickerpix Studios also donated an animation model of Gerry Anderson to the station as a tribute to the presenter, who began his broadcasting on BBC Radio Foyle in 1985. The model was used in the animation series On The Air, featuring audio from Gerry Anderson’s radio programme which was recorded in BBC Radio Foyle.
Christine Anderson said: “I’m here for Gerry because I know he would have wanted me to be here. Coming here, where Kirsty spent so much of her childhood and seeing the portrait and looking at all the old photos around the building has been lovely and surreal for both of us.
“He loved it at BBC Radio Foyle and I’m sure if he was here today he’d have some wise crack to make. But he would be so privileged to know he was being thought of in this way by his friends and colleagues.”
BBC Radio Foyle commenced broadcasting in 1979 as an opt out service for BBC Radio Ulster. The station moved to its current location on the Northland Road, Derry, 30 years ago in 1985.
The station currently broadcasts the Breakfast programme with Enda McClafferty and Elaine McGee, Lunchtime With Mark Patterson, News At One, Stephen McCauley, Electric Mainline, Rejoice and live sport.
BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle programmes broadcast from BBC Radio Foyle are; Sean Coyle; Your Place And Mine; The Arts Show on Friday; Eamonn Friel; Cashclár; The Mickey Bradley Record Show; Stephen McCauley’s Friday night specialist music programme and Blas on Monday nights.
The Foyle newsroom, meanwhile, makes reports and bulletins for BBC News NI’s television, radio and online services and well as for BBC network news services.
Now broadcasting for more than three decades, BBC Radio Foyle is in fine health, winning Radio Station of the Year at the 2014 Celtic Media Awards and Irish Local Station of the Year at the 2013 PPI (Phonographic Performance Ireland) Radio Awards.
Larry Deeney, Editor, BBC Radio Foyle, said: “This is a great time for the station. We are winning awards, we have record high listenership and the newly refurbished building just tops it all off. I’d like to thank the listeners without whom there would be no station and the staff here who are a privilege to work with.”
Peter Johnston, Director BBC NI, said: “BBC Radio Foyle has been at the heart of such fantastic activity in the north west over the last few years and following on from that we’ve committed to further programming from here with Your Place And Mine and The Arts Show. To support this new programming we have also invested in some much-needed modernisation of our facilities for the community in the north west which the station serves and reflects so well.”