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Abstract

CONNEMARA COMMUNITY RADIO (CCR) is a community-based radio station broadcasting from Letterfrack in the North West Connemara area of Co. Galway since 1995. On air for 10 hours daily, it is possibly the smallest community radio station in Ireland serving a remote, yet large and sparsely populated rural franchise area. One of the main motivations behind CCR’s original establishment was that the radio station would promote community development in its franchise area (Day, 2007b; Heanue, 2002). Set against the literatures on community radio (Day, 2007a, b; Kanayama, 2007; Rennie, 2006; Sánchez, 2003; Heanue, 2002; Girard, 1992) and community development (Tilly, 2004; Moseley, 2003; Varley and Curtin, 2002; Lowe et al., 1998; Mannion, 1996; Curtin et al., 1991; Varley, 1991; Griffiths, 1974; Armstrong, 1971) this article uses a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data collected over the period 2000 to 2008 to analyse the community development aspects of this radio station. The explicit community development focus is important for two reasons. First, as a core principle, community radio seeks to contribute to community development. Second, North West Connemara as a remote, economically challenged rural area relies heavily on endogenous development and has a long-standing and vibrant community development sector (see Heanue et al., 2012). A central objective behind the establishment of CCR by Connemara West Plc was to support and engage in community development efforts. This article seeks to assess the extent to which that objective is being reached by describing and analysing various indicators and processes of participation of local people with the radio station and the form of access they have to it.

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