How did you get started?
My route into radio was through Macra na Feirme initially when the local station offered a small slot for Macra clubs to broadcast their news and updates. I was the first to put up my hand and together with a little team we put together a fun weekly programme which ran for a few years. This was great craic where we had members from many local clubs contributing weekly and we would throw in sound effects such as sheep loose in the studio and other shenanigans! Whilst my career journey has taken me in many different directions and to many different places, I have always had one foot in the radio studio and one foot in the farm!
What was your career route?
I did not work in radio for quite a few years as I was concentrating on my main career which is as a Chartered Architectural Technologist, involving designing, getting planning permissions, mapping and more recently teaching this subject in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). However, I came back to radio in 2010 as a side hobby and what a journey it has been – taking me all over the world.
What is your approach to farm radio?
Agriview is a well listened to programme across five counties for many years but I have taken on the presenting and producing role for the last 13 years. Much of the content carries important farm news from the Farmers Journal or farm/Teagasc advisors. But I always try to include some ‘outdoorsy bits’ where I get out and about to farms and fields, at agri shows and at marts, on forest walks or planting trees, all great excursions into the open air, among the wild winds and birdsong which make for great radio for the listeners. The greatest part of getting out and about is that you often encounter people who are happy to talk about their story and their life and bring their passions to the airwaves.
How do you get content?
Occasionally I may stop off at a mart or some other rural event and wander in with my microphone. I discovered that if you asked people if they would like to have a chat for radio they mostly declined, but if you walked up with the microphone already switched on and asked ‘Are ya buying or selling?’, people would freely talk away and indeed have a bit of banter. These are the bits of radio that people love.
How has your radio career developed?
When I got back into radio I had a few ideas for documentaries I wished to do. With the support of the studios I put together my first documentary, the story of a precious book that perished in an ancient castle fire, called The Incunabulum in the Castle, which was a terrible tongue twister for the other presenters to have to try and say to promote it! I have made many more documentaries and series since.
What has been your main focus?
I have made radio series relating to wildlife and nature and I did two series on farm-to-fork featuring Neven Maguire but many of my projects are focussed on stories of ‘the diaspora’ who went to other countries in times past and made an impact in the world. Most recently I blitzed across Australia finding out the stories of Charles Yelverton O’Connor from Meath who became a famous engineer in Perth and whose amazing and tragic story was on the Australian school curriculum. Mary Lee, too, who at a late stage in her life travelled to Adelaide to nurse her sick son. She ended up finding her voice for women’s rights and brought the vote for women to Australia. Also the story of Daisy Bates who fought for Aboriginal rights and Donegal man Patrick Mayne who became the wealthiest man in Brisbane (but did he come by that wealth by way of a notorious murder?). These stories are in the editing suite at present!
What’s next for Agriview?
When I am away recording documentaries, I always make sure to pick up some interesting pieces for Agriview. In Australia I recorded some chats at a winery about the processes of grape growing, in South America I had chats about the influence of agri trade across the water, in Wales I went up to an award-winning beef farm on the mountains. Agriview listeners must think ‘this guy has some budget!’ Certainly, there is a lot that we need to cover relating to climate action and understanding what we all need to do.
Was ushered in to interview someone about ‘Irish chicken; it was only afterwards I realised it was Pat McDonagh of Supermacs.
Agriview with Noel Murphy on Shannonside FM and Northern Sound FM – Thursdays 8-9pm