Every year at exactly 1:02 pm on July 1st, Beat plays the iconic noughties track ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2, as a nostalgic nod to the moment the regional radio station went live in 2003 from state-of-the-art studios in Ardkeen, Waterford city.
Fast forward two decades to the present where the multi-platform radio station is fresh from marking its 20th birthday with countless celebrations across the South East – both on and off air!
In the lead-up to the milestone the station planted mystery Beat Birthday Boxes all around the region which resulted in numerous keen listeners including Niamh from Wexford, Julie from Kilkenny, Theresa from Carlow, Jesse from Tipp and Siana from Waterford all bagging exclusive prizes from the regional radio brand.
On Friday night, June 30th, Beat hosted a 20th anniversary celebration at the Coach House in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford where guests consisting of present and past staffers along with local business people and those with a close connection with Beat’s history were treated to a nostalgic trip down memory lane which highlighted the successes of the radio station over the past two decades.
The celebrations come at a time when Beat is riding high after its latest JNLR listenership results*. Published in May 2023, the figures show that Beat continues to be the market leader for 15–34-year-olds with over 70% weekly reach in this key demographic along with a record-breaking milestone of over 100,000 adult listeners tuning in each day. In addition, the media brand boasts over 850,000 social media followers who regularly interact with Beat’s relevant viral content.
Beat prides itself on supporting artists from the South East so it was apt that Friday night saw Waterford band 2Time Charlie take to the main stage with a thrilling performance which included a unique cover of the aforementioned ‘Beautiful Day’. Powerful percussionist/DJ duo consisting of Waterford’s Darragh O’Rourke and Chris Ward from Carlow greeted guests on arrival in thrilling fashion along with a colourful stilt walker who set the perfect tone for a night of quality entertainment.
Gabrielle Cummins, Beat CEO and Programme Director, has been with the station since it launched and says: “The team works extremely hard, day in, day out to ensure Beat remains a groundbreaking, profitable business so it’s important to take stock and celebrate all that we have achieved over the last two decades.
"Today, Beat is a market-leading media brand and we don’t take that coveted position lightly. We couldn’t do any of it without the support of so many loyal listeners and businesses, so this is an opportunity for us to say thanks for the ongoing support. Over the next year, we will be applying for a new licence with Comisiún na Meán so it’s an exciting time. We’re looking forward to engaging with everyone as we strive to further build on the station’s market-leading success to date.”
Celebrations continued on air over the weekend with a special public-vote ‘Top Twenty’ countdown from each decade. Beat presenter Chris Ward kicked off the countdown on The Big Saturday Show which focused on the latter decade 2013-2023 with the ultimate track from that decade being Avicii's ‘Wake Me Up’.
On Sunday, the anniversary countdown continued as Beat’s newest presenter Luke O’Faoláin focused on the best throwbacks from the station’s launch era and first decade. Once again, listeners got a chance to pick their favourites with ‘Sex On Fire’ by Kings of Leon turning out to be the top track of Beat’s first decade.
Head of Station Sound Niall Power has also been with the station since it launched in 2003 and has been the host of Beat’s popular flagship breakfast show, Beat Breakfast since 2016. The Waterford man was in charge of compiling the two, top Twenty countdown charts, he says: “It was really fun to work with our listeners in picking the songs for this special chart. Music always evokes special memories for our fans so we knew they’d be delighted to jump on board and help us compile this fun chart! There has been a lot of great music produced by artists across the South East and beyond over the last two decades and we’re proud to showcase this work and we will continue to champion local artists into the future.”
*Source: JNLR/Ipsos/MRBI South East Region May 2023