The Donegal Town offices of Ocean FM have closed, but the radio station said this will give them a greater flexibility, as the digital age advances.   

The last live broadcast from the offices at Cruagorm House was earlier this week.

The premises had been up for sale in recent months and a new owner has purchased the premises, it is understood.

The station will now consolidate activities from their main offices in Collooney, Co Sligo and will continue to utilise outside broadcasts within south Donegal.

The radio station was granted a second ten-year radio broadcast licence franchise renewal in 2014 covering Sligo, North Leitrim and south Donegal, despite a rival bid.

The station brokered a new deal with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), before they made the decision to close their Donegal office, they have said.

Commercial Director of Ocean FM Daniel Browne confirmed the decision to the Donegal Post:

"Recent changes in broadcasting technology mean that the ability to broadcast from anywhere within our franchise area is now no longer restricted to being based in a studio.

"Ocean is a business that prides itself on being in the community and working for our listeners and local business. Being stuck in a second story office building with limited access for the public and no visibility is no longer how broadcasting in 2017 needs to be.

"We have invested in digital broadcasting units that allow us bring live action from the side of a pitch in Ardara to and election count in Letterkenny.

"And we as a business and as a news gathering service for the region want to be in the middle of the action and not removed from it in a cosy studio!!

The Commercial Director said that they had consulted with and been given approval by the BAI to re invest in our outside broadcast schedule in 2018 and bring more content live to the listeners of south Donegal from south Donegal and to close our Cruagorm House office.”

Mr Browne said it’s a positive investment in quality programming from a station that has won multiple awards.

"We are looking forward to 2018 and meeting our listeners on the ground as their local station becomes a lot more local,” he added.

A spokesperson for the BAI told the Donegal Post:

“In September 2017, the BAI received a submission from Ocean FM seeking approval for the closure of their studios in Donegal Town and Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim. At its October meeting, the Authority considered the proposal, having had regard to the terms of the current sound broadcasting contract and the rationale set out in the submission.

"The Authority noted the confirmation from Ocean FM that the closure of the studios would not negatively impact on the programming commitments set out in their contract, including commitments to specific local content and regular outside broadcasts.

"The Authority also noted Ocean FM’s planned investment in programming and other aspects of the service resulting from the savings associated with the studio closures. In this context, the Authority was satisfied to approve the proposed closure of the studios.”

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