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2005-02-16 Ocean talk show host is never afraid to make waves as he tackles the issues

Despite the fact that it seems more sensible to construct a selection of 5-star hotels in Sligo, rather than just one public loo, nonetheless we
still continue to hear about declining tourist figures in the North-West region.

 

If the numbers really are dwindling, surely one sensible solution would be to fully utilise the high profiles of some of the more well-known Sligo faces. The undoubted attraction of the Yeats Country could be spread far and wide through a variety of channels by such ambassadors as the Westlife lads, Pauline McGlynn or Tabby, to name but a few.

 

One man, who is clearly passionate about Sligo and the North-West, has already done a huge amount in a short space of time to help boost one of Irelands fastest growing regions, and he doesnt even come from the area. Robert Walsh, 34, from Middleton in County Cork, is General Station Manager and Programme Director for Ocean FM (102.5 FM in Sligo o r on world-wide web at www.oceanfm.ie ).

Roberts mother is from Donegal, and so, Robert spent a lot of his youth in the North-West region, and remembers, in particular the North Sligo checkpoints on the shameful day of Mountbattens murder.

 

Robert, who harboured an ambition to work in radio from the age of 5, is a Public relations graduate from UCC. His national school principal in Middleton always said Robert was destined to talk for a living, and so, it wasnt long before Robert was behind a microphone doing what he does best.
On Dublins Lite FM Robert coolly presented the Breakfast and Drive home easy shows, on Dublins Country on East Coast Radio he hosted Dublin Today, on Corks 96FM Robert anchored his own talk-show, and on Chorus TV his popular talk-show "Face to Face" allowed him to cross-question a variety of well-known public faces from Paul Daniels to B ertie.
Margaret Carr-Flynn, who produces Ocean FMs flagship weekday morning programme "North-West Today with Robert Walsh", says that Robert is at all times vibrant, the consummate professional, passionate, committed, and always ready to tackle issues head-on, however controversial. Robert is never afraid of confrontation.
In 2004, Ocean FM was inevitably a little bashed publicly, even before it had been given a chance to prove itself. Already in 2005, only 4 months old, Ocean FM has more than proved itself to be a radio station of an extremely high standard, evolving steadily to meet the needs of the people of the North-West. When North-West radio closed down, the Sligo people had to bid farewell to 14 years of tradition, and unsurprisingly there was a real local feeling of the Devil you know. I was one of many, sad to see NWR go, and even found myself in a little trouble for saying so from a public platform. Less than a year ago, Robert Walsh arrived to a region where there was, understandably, a certain hostility to change. Now, just a few months later, this affable and approachable man has settled in well, receiving an open-armed welcome and nothing but positive feedback.
Robert wants Ocean FM to be all-inclusive, contemporary, fair, and local in all its elements. At times naturally, Robert misses the slightly brighter lights of Dublin, and his frequent trips to The Point, as in Depot not Rosses, but he loves living on the Strandhill Road, drinking at Harrys Bar, or eating at Fiddlers, The Waterfront, Caesars or The Embassy. Apart from Mike Moloney and a couple of others, most of the 40 full and part-time staff at Ocean FM, as well as its Board of Directors, have a north-west connection. Many are ex-NWR. As the station jingle appropriately proclaims, Ocean FM boasts the perfect music mix  a contemporary music selection for all ages covering every possible genre, leaning towards MOR (Middle-of-the-road) during daytime hours, and catering for the more specialised tastes at other times.
Initially, Robert was challenged by the Mayor as to the location of the stations home. Robert quite rightly pointed out that the city did not meet the stations requirements  parking in particular, and so say all of us. The position of such a progressive company as Ocean FM, situated as it is in Collooney, at the Gateway to a Gateway City, seems to me r ather fitting. Lets continue to give Ocean FM the support it deserves.