Nessa McGann, Stuart Clark, Sinéad Troy, Mark Cunning, Michelle Doherty, Ian Wilson, Mal Tuohy

The state of Irish radio and just how much airplay Irish acts receive provoked heated discussion among the participants of the radio panel on day two of The Music Show.

Moderator Stuart Clark asked whether or not those involved would prefer to push homegrown talent over more established artists, in the wake of Louis Walsh’s comments on Saturday where he declared that any Irish act is doomed to fail without the support of radio.

“I would love to be the guy who finds the next U2,” said Mark Cunning, Assistant Programme Director and Head of Music for iRadio. “I would love to be the guy to find the next ‘Teenage Kicks’.

“We have to play Rihanna,” he continued. “But I would much rather play Bipolar Empire and The Kanyu Tree.”

2fm producer Ian Wilson questioned the Irish attitude towards music and culture, calling for more focus to be placed on our own output.

“We’re the only country I can think of where we read out the football results from England before the ones from Ireland. We need to stop slavishly following trends that we’re being fed from London.

“When people mention a number one single, they are always referring to the British charts. They’re not talking about the Irish charts and it’s a real condemnation of what is going on here.”

Speaking ahead of his band’s forthcoming double album <i>Keep On Keeping On</i>, Mal Tuohy of The Riptide Movement described radio as a ladder system that helps a band move from venue to venue, citing his own experiences going from playing small, intimate settings to supporting Bon Jovi at the RDS. His remarks drew applause from those in attendance, a unanimous verdict that radio airplay is essential for up and coming Irish talent.

When the subject of communication between artist and radio station was raised, Mark Cunning had some advice for those concerned.

“Don’t email a radio station saying, ‘Here’s my demo’. ‘Demo’ is the worst word. Say, ‘Here’s my single’. A demo might get you played on at night but it won’t get you on daytime mainstream radio.”