RTÉ Choice Music Prize

The shortlist for this year’s RTÉ Choice Music Prize, Irish Album of the Year 2017, in association with IMRO & IRMA, was announced today on RTÉ 2FM’s Tracy Clifford Show by Tony Clayton Lea, chairman of the judging panel. The shortlist is as follows:

Come On Live Long – In The Still (self released)

Marlene Enright – Placemats and Second Cuts (self released)

Fangclub – Fangclub (Universal)

Lankum – Beneath the Earth and the Sky (Rough Trade)

James Vincent McMorrow – True Care (Faction Records)

New Jackson – From Night to Night (All City)

Otherkin – OK (Rubyworks)

Fionn Regan – The Meetings of the Waters (Abbey Records)

Ships – Precession (Ships Music)

Talos – Wild Alee (Feel Good Lost)

As part of RTÉ’s continued commitment to promoting Irish music, RTÉ 2FM celebrates the announcement of the shortlist across its schedule throughout the day with All Irish Music All Day from 6am to midnight. As part of this Louise McSharry will present a two-hour special programme on this year’s RTÉ Choice Music Prize, Irish Album of the Year 2017 shortlist from 8-10pm this evening. RTÉ 2FM will continue to mark the announcement of the shortlist this week and beyond through a mix of airplay of tracks from the shortlisted albums, interviews with this year’s shortlisted artists and live performances.

The shortlisted albums can be enjoyed in full on the RTÉ Choice Music Prize website www.choicemusicprize.ieand on  www.2fm.ie/rtechoicemusicThe winning album will be announced at the RTÉ Choice Music Prize live event, held in Vicar Street, Dublin on Thursday 8th March 2018. As part of the partnership with RTÉ, the event will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2FM in a special four-hour extended programme from 7-11pm and on RTÉ2 as part of a special RTÉ Choice Music Prize TV programme, approximately one week later.

The 13th annual RTÉ Choice Music Prize will once again celebrate and acknowledge the best in Irish recorded music.  The prize has become one of the highlights of the Irish musical calendar since its inception in 2005 and is awarded to the Irish Album of the Year, as chosen from a shortlist of ten releases by a panel of twelve Irish music media professionals and industry experts.

The winning act will receive €10,000, a prize fund which has been provided by The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA). All of the shortlisted acts will receive a specially commissioned award. 

RAAP, Culture Ireland & Golden Discs are also official project partners. 

Culture Ireland will fund the attendance of influential overseas Industry executives to attend the RTE Choice Music Prize Live Event on March 8th while Golden Discs will feature special stands showcasing the RTE Choice Music Prize nominees across their stores nationwide.

RTÉ Choice Music Prize – Irish Song of The Year 2017

The shortlist for the RTÉ Choice Music Prize – Irish Song of The Year 2017 will be announced on Wednesday 31st January 2018. A special event featuring exclusive performances from both Album of the Year and Song of the Year nominees will be held in Dublin’s Tramline venue that evening. 

Tickets for the Choice Music Prize live event are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at http://www.ticketmaster.ie priced €28.00 including booking fee

2fm Xmas Ball raises over €500,000

What a fantastic night at the RTÉ 2fm Xmas Ball last night in aid of ISPCC Childline! To all the acts who gave so generously of their time and talents, The Script, The Coronas, Róisín O, Gavin James, Hudson Taylor Hermitage Green,  Little Hours & Wild Youth, to all at MCD, 3Arena, RTÉ 2fm and numerous generous suppliers we are truly grateful

A staggering and vital €500,000 was raised for Ireland’s 24 hour listening service for children and young people. This support will help ensure the ISPCC remain there for children and young people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

2fm Rising List 2018 – New Irish Music

The 2fm Rising list is a culmination of an incredible year of music on 2FM which included our various live events with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, our best selling u2 Joshua Tree ‘New Roots’ charity album and our new partnership with the RTÉ Choice Music prize.

The strength of the list previews what an exciting year lies ahead for the Irish music industry. The breath of sounds and styles from these great Irish acts is stunning.

For full details and to hear some of these exciting new Irish acts, log onto 2fm.ie/rising18.

Outerview Episode 19 – Bernadette Jiwa

This week I talk to best-selling author and marketer Bernadette Jiwa about her latest book ‘Hunch’.

Bernadette is a recognised global authority on the role of story in business, innovation and marketing and the author of five best-selling books on marketing and brand storytelling. She advises, consults and speaks to entrepreneurs and business leaders who want to build meaningful brands.

In this episode we talk about empathy and curiosity. The genius trap and where breakthrough ideas come from. Is the Internet ruining how we gain insights? Why we don’t observe anymore and are we just too plugged in to the internet? Practising intuition and how to be more curious.

If you’ve missed any of the past episodes you can see the archive here

Outerview Episode 18 – Richard E. Grant

This week on my podcast I chat media interviewing, storytelling & facing fears with Actor, Writer & Perfumer Richard E. Grant.

Richard E Grant was born in 1957 and grew up in Swaziland. He moved to England in 1982 and made his acting debut in 1987 with Withnail and I, Bruce Robinson’s cult film. He has since starred in numerous Hollywood films and TV dramas, including Gosford Park, Dracula, The Iron Lady and most recently Logan. Richard has also showcased his interview skills on Sky Atlantic’s ‘Richard E. Grant’s Hotel Secrets’.

He is the author of a book of film diaries “With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E Grant” and the novel “By Design: A Hollywood Tale”. He has written for the Sunday Times, Observer and Vanity Fair. An exploration of his life-long love affair with scent, Richard E. Grant’s Jack perfume has also been a huge success.

Ricky Gervais is Deadly Sirius

He started on radio.

He’s back on the radio.

100% worth the wait.

“SiriusXM made me an offer to return that I couldn’t refuse,” Gervais said in a statement. “my own playlist and absolute freedom of speech,” he added. “It’s the perfect platform for me, and hopefully the listener too.”

Ricky Gervais is Deadly Sirius- Pilot Episode from DeadlySiriusSXM on Vimeo.

“Ricky Gervais Is Deadly Sirius” will debut Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 11 a.m. ET on SiriusXM. 

The USB key is the new scrapbook

While Dropbox (or whatever cloud service you use to save your files) is now the go to place to store old word documents, ideas and doodles, it was just a few years ago a trusty USB key or a concrete block of a external hard drive was the only way of keeping your files archived and safe.

Only yesterday while rooting in a wardrobe did I find an old USB Key marked ‘Ideas 07-10’. Instantly it felt like finding an old scrapbook in an attic. Plugging it into my macbook I was greeted with a ton of old photos, random text files and a scattering of MP3 tunes. One file that my attention was immediately attracted to was a folder entitled ‘IDEAS and BITS’. In I clicked and there was whole host of radio/tv/online ideas that I had either produced or left to ferment like a bottle of fine wine (or potentially a bad batch of home brewed beer). Great memories from my days of setting up the programming of iRadio and later during the 3 years of producing the “Breakfast with Hector’ radio show.

Some ideas good, some ideas not so good.

I thought though I would share with you a small selection of the ones I think grabbed attention and cut through. Hopefully it might spark some ideas and encourage you to go searching for the USB you think you’ve left in a drawer somewhere.

The iRadio Naked Bus

This was by far the strangest charity competition i’ve ever run but ended up being incredibly successful making all the national news outlets. We used rising fuel prices (this was in 2007) as the premise for people to ditch the car and take public transport naked all in the name of charity.

The station invited listeners to participate in the “Naked Bus Challenge”, whereby they were collected from their homes and driven to work naked. The bus delivered one person per day to their place of work.

The completion element was simple: whoever raised the most money would be named the Naked Bus champion winning a load of prizes. The promotion was very visual with a fully wrapped bus driving through every town in the staton franchise area. It drove huge awareness which in turn put the ratings through the roof. This was before Twitter, Instagram and Facebook really took off. A huge hit on BEBO 🙂

The Birth Notices

Believe it or not in Ireland the ‘Death Notices’ is one of the most listened to radio segments on local radio. Basically one person reading out funeral arrangements for about 10 minutes straight. It’s usually the biggest time block success for local stations that drives huge listenership. My idea was to do the opposite and broadcast the ‘Birth Notices’ once a week to welcome brand new listeners to the station I was working for. We created specially branded baby bibs and the segment was inundated with families trying to get on the slot.

Here’s some audio

Granny Gran Prix

How can you not love a daredevil Granny?

The premise was simple – Could we find the fastest granny in Ireland? To make sure the show did not encourage or glorify speeding, the show requested that any granny applying was doing so in the knowledge that they needed proper professional help to make them a better driver, and ‘Breakfast with Hector’ would give them the vehicle (pardon the pun) to do so!

The shows host invited callers to share their granny stories which provided some fantastic on-air moments. From hundreds of nominations, we selected our Top 10 Grannies including the previous year’s champion and brought them to Ireland’s top racing track Mondello Park to compete in an intensive time trial race! The promotion proved to be a huge success particularly with families looking to nominate their grannies!!


2nd Chance Debs

Very simple mechanic. A chance to relive or have your debs/prom for the first time. People won tickets by sharing their horror debs stories. Worked brilliant on air and the night itself as you will see below was incredibly fun.

Obama FM

Ah yes jumping on any Irish roots connection story….. From the original press release below.

“A regional radio station in the midlands will change its name to Obama FM tomorrow when it broadcasts from the Irish ancestral home of US president elect Barack Obama. i105-107 FM will broadcast all day from Moneygall in Co Offaly on the eve of the historic inauguration. We just thought we should do something to celebrate Bar­ack Obama’s Irish roots. It will be such a historical occasion, we had to mark it some way,” said Alan Swan, i105-107 FM programme director.

We ended up winning Irish radio Innovator of the Year at the Irish Radio Advertising Awards 2010 and a ton of national & international press. It cost very little and delivered massively for the fledgling station.

‘Ireland’s Biggest Simultaneous Aerobics Class’

Limerick gym instructor Richie Clifford was the break out star of TV Show ‘The Gym’ on RTE Television. Following an on-air call with Richie, The Hector Breakfast Show decided to plan ‘Ireland’s Biggest Simultaneous Aerobics Class’.

The idea was to try and convince as many gyms, schools, and offices to switch on the breakfast show at 8am and join in on a live aerobics class from one of Ireland’s biggest sports arenas at the University of Limerick. Yes… an aerobics class on the radio did sound like a ridiculous idea but somehow it captured the imagination of our listeners and caused huge talk-ability.

Over 600 listeners took part in a live outside broadcast while the show received enormous social media feedback and national press. You could do this idea again and pursue beating the record of the longest ever aerobics class which stands at 39 hours 20 minutes.

Tommy and Hector Podcast

One of the highlights of being the content director at iRadio was launching the Tommy and Hector show. Way too much fun. I look about 10 in the video below.

Outerview Episode 16 – Scott Solder

The latest episode of my podcast is now available for download! My guest is writer and broadcaster Scott Solder where we talk all things body language, the art of interviewing & Donald Trump’s use of simple terminology.

Scott Solder is an expert in language, advanced communication and human behaviour. He is a co-author of ‘You Need This Book To Get What You Want’, a popular psychology book focused on personal performance, influence and persuasion which is on sale around the world and translated into several languages.

He is an experienced journalist and live broadcaster and has appeared as a commentator on BBC1, BBC2, Channel 5, Sky News and BBC radio analysing the language and behaviour of key public figures.

As well as his specialist expertise, he has a strong news sense having been an Executive Producer and Editor in BBC News & Current Affairs and Programme Director of LBC radio. He has covered the biggest stories of the past two decades both out in the field and in the newsroom.

You can purchase Scott’s book here

The full archive for my podcast series is available here

Looking to get on the playlist? Some tips to help you be heard

Had the pleasure of being on a radio playlist discussion panel for Hard Working Class Heroes, Ireland’s Annual Showcase Festival & Conference for New Music last Friday. Really interesting chat and it was great to meet so many new Irish acts for the first time in person. As so much came out of it I thought it might be useful to do a post on some of the key points that got raised.

Here’s my top 5 takeaways for new acts looking for radio play. Hopefully it will save you some time, money and heartache.

  • Research who you’re sending tracks to. Nothing more frustrating then getting a track that’s not suited to your show or station. Personalise the message if possible. You have to build a relationship and be patient with who’s listening to your tracks.
  • Don’t waste your time sending massive CD packs in jiffy bags with sheets of paper and moody looking pics. In my opinion it’s a complete waste of time for everyone involved. Save some money and send a stream link, Spotify, Soundcloud or download link. If possible don’t set an expire date on the download. Don’t fill up peoples inboxes which huge WAV and Mp3 files.
  • If you insist in sending a CD please make sure it’s labelled with contact details. No blank CD-R’s with ‘track 1’ scribbled on it. It should be all about the music but unfortunately presentation does matter and you will be judged on it. Be clear, concise and straight to the point.
  • Don’t forget the producers of the shows. Naturally you’ll think of the presenters but showing some love to the backroom staff never hurts. They often have the ear of the playlister.
  • Tour, tour, tour. Play your songs to an audience before recording and sending them out. Although technology has made it so easy to record and distribute your music, it doesn’t mean you should. Gauge the live audience reaction to your tracks and take it from there. If you’re honest with yourself you’ll know when it’s ready.

….and I’ll throw in a sixth. (Top 5 takeaway sounded more catchy in a radio sense but I digress…) Have a story. I don’t really care what studio you recorded it in or that the engineer produced X,Y,Z. Think about how the presenter/journalist/blogger is going to introduce you to the listener/reader. Think of angles. It’s all about attention these days so how are you going stand out from the crowd??

Best of luck getting out there. I’m always happy to answer any questions about submitting demos/tracks so if you need to know anything specific, drop me a line via twitter @alanswan or on email here