Grassroots Documentary To Be Broadcast 1st January On Newstalk

Sing out with strings

Newstalk will air the hour long documentary Grassroots at 8 a.m on New Years Day. Over eight weeks radio producers Lisa Essuman and Robert Hope looked at community action projects where people are making a positive difference to society. Diverse initiatives included a drum circle in Killarney county Kerry, a community circus in Galway and the Irish Chamber Orchestra’s efforts to teach the joys of music to children across Limerick City.

The Series has been running in short form every Saturday on Shenanigans with Sile on Newstalk and the final 2 episodes will be aired on 22nd & 29th of December. For previous episodes and promos go here

Grassroots is an Athena Media Production for Newstalk 106-108fm funded through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Sound and Vision Scheme.

Listen to Wide Open Opera – Athena Media’s radio series and documentary for RTÉ Lyric fm

Re-Imagining Opera is a five part series for RTÉ lyric fm from Nov 19-23rd on the future of opera in Ireland. Do people think it’s an art for the rich or is it an art form being starved of resources and forcing performers abroad? What do we feel and think about opera?

The production team is being led by award winning producer Helen Shaw and the recordist is Michael Gallen, himself a talented new composer. The radio production is being supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the documentary will chart the story behind Wide Open Opera and its mission to radically change the status of opera as an art form in Ireland. The new opera company is led by conductor Fergus Sheil. Athena Media previously worked with Fergus on the Opera for Carlow radio project which was shortlisted for a PPI Award in 2011.


Episode 1: When things fall apart 19/11/2012

Last year the newly formed Irish National Opera Company closed just two years after its birth was announced. Opera Ireland had been wound down to form it and by June 2011 Irish opera seemed to be in crisis. Twelve months on new roots emerged including a new opera company launched by conductor Fergus Sheil called Wide Open Opera. An Arts Council award of €600,000 supporting its first production Wagner’s Tristan & Isolde provoked debate. Should Ireland still yearn for a national company? What are the elements which will grow a unique Irish opera voice?

Episode 2: New Roots 20/11/2012

Funding opera is a challenge particularly in a deepening recession. Yet those at the heart of new opera productions are embracing the opportunities.

Episode 3: Wide Open Opera 21/11/2012
Fergus Sheil says the name of his new opera company is designed to make everyone feel opera is for them. ‘We don’t want to think outside the box – we want to break the box’ he says and charts his personal journey across opera to that decision. Does Ireland need a new company?

Episode 4: Taking on Tristan 22/11/2012

For its first production Wide Open Opera takes on Wagner’s epic classic Tristan & Isolde. It’s a life ambition for conductor Fergus Sheil but why is this opera so important? The tragic tale of the beautiful Irish princess and the Cornish war hero inspires some of the most beautiful music in Wagnerian opera but we talk to performers and musicians about why this is such a special opera and hear from someone who attended the last performance of Tristan & Isolde in Dublin some 50 years ago.

Episode 5: What next? 23/11/2012

With several major opera highlights this year including Lyric Opera’s Aida production in November following Wexford Opera Festival we explore the future of opera in Ireland. With Wide Open Opera planning new Irish opera productions and exploring how to get opera into non-traditional venues.

Wide Open Opera: Taking On Tristan is an hour long behind the scenes feature on the story of Wide Open Opera, a new opera company launched by conductor Fergus Sheil, who staged Wagners Tristan and Isolde as its first production starring the Irish soprano Miriam Murphy Isolde. The opera was performed in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin last month and a recording of the opening night was broadcast on RTE lyric fm on November 24th at 7pm. Michael Gallen, a young composer himself, shadowed the new opera company from its first rehearsals to its final curtain call. The documentary is an Athena media production for RTE lyric fm and is made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The producer is Helen Shaw and sound editing by Brendan Rehill. To listen to the full podcast of this documentary go here

London 2012: Winning Women after the Games – Athena Media radio documentary for Newstalk

Irish women athletes made history at these Olympic Games. Not only did Katie Taylor win Gold but more women qualified and competed than ever before, and for the first time about half of the Irish team were women. Team Ireland made it the best Olympic Games since Melbourne in 1956 and many in the team credit Chef de Mission Sonia O’Sullivan, Olympic medal-winner, as the reason for the unique spirit of the group.

In the weeks running up to the Games Athena Media produced a series profiling some of the women athletes and their stories for Newstalk Breakfast, and in this one hour documentary producers Helen Shaw and Lisa Essuman talk to athletes including Annalise Murphy, Olive Loughnane, Natalya Coyle, Chloe Magee, Lisa Kearney, Aileen Morrison and Sycerika McMahon as well as team leader Sonia O’Sullivan about the behind the scenes stories of the Olympic Games, the highs and the lows, winners and losers, and the lessons from London 2012 for the future of sport in Ireland. The documentary was broadcast on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th October 2012 at 12pm on Newstalk 106-108fm.

An Athena Media production for Newstalk supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Listen to London 2012: Winning Women after the Games, Part 1 and Part 2.

Listen to a promo for London 2012: Winning Women after the Games here.

Listen to a second promo here.

Subscribe to our Podcasts on the Athena Media RSS Feed here.

For More information go here.

The Media Show Episode 2: Inside Storyful plus full interview with the acting head of News and Current Affairs at RTE, Cillian De Paor

Episode 2 of the Media Show was broadcast on April 21st at 7.30 pm on RTÉ Radio 1. Listen to Episode 2 here

In an interview with The Media Show,RTE Radio 1 , Cillian De Paor, the acting head of News and Current Affairs at RTE, said economic issues had forced the closure of the London office. He added this was not the only foreign office that was closed; the Beijing office, opened for a period surrounding the Olympic Games, has since been closed. Mr De Paor said the Director General of RTE has committed to “break even” in 2013 and said the journalism side of the London office cost approximately half a million euro a year. “We are a news operation, we will make choices on a news basis. We are not ceasing to cover the United Kingdom, we are just closing down a major facility that has a significant cost. We will be present in London when news value requires us to be there.”

‘The Media Show’ radio series is an Athena Media production for RTÉ Radio 1 presented by Brenda Power and produced by Helen Shaw with the mission to demystify how the media works, to get behind media stories in broadcasting, print and online and to show how our daily media diet is shaped.

Listen to the entire interview with Cillian De Paor here

The Media Show is an Athena Media production for RTÉ Radio. The producer is Helen Shaw and the reporter is Paula Cunniffe.

Listen to the promos for the series here

Check out updates on the Media Show via the Athena Media Blog here

Podcasts of the show are available through the Athena Media RSS Feed here

To contact Brenda Powers, please email

Contact Lisa Essuman for further information or email us at

Follow us on facebook and twitter for further details on the project.

The hashtag for the series on twitter is #rtemediashow


High Fidelity: A Century of Recorded Song with Jack L and Julie Feeney now available as podcasts

High Fidelity is a 26 part radio series presented by Jack L and Julie Feeney which featured on RTÉ lyric fm weekly between May and November 2011. It is a sound map of recorded song from Thomas Edison to the iPod from Tin Pan Alley to X-Factor.

Check out iTunes to listen back to the series.

You can also find the podcasts on podcasting Ireland. Go to to subscribe.

Or you can subscribe to our RSS feed here.

High Fidelity: A Century of Recorded Song with Jack L and Julie Feeney is an Athena Media production for RTÉ Lyric fm and was made with the support of the BAI’s Sound and Vision Funding Scheme. The producer is Helen Shaw. Music researcher Naomi Macleod. Sound supervision was by Lochlainn Harte. Also many thanks to our presenters Jack L and Julie Feeney.

You can also listen to the promos for each of the episodes here

To read the press release please click here

Podcasts by the Children’s Rights Alliance

The Children’s Rights Alliance is a coalition of over 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Their podcast series focuses on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and different aspects of children’s rights in Ireland.

Have a listen to the podcasts HERE

All of Athena Media’s podcasts are available on RSS feed

Engaging Ireland podcasts

Here’s an interesting podcast we’ve come across called Engaging Ireland. Engaging Ireland provides travel tips and guides to places of interest in Ireland.

Have a listen to the podcasts HERE

Thanks for all the suggestions about great Irish podcasts.  Send us your suggestions for unusual or new Irish podcasts, particularly from non broadcast sources to

Science Spin podcast

Science Spin is a weekly popular science podcast presented by science writer Seán Duke.

Have a listen to the podcast HERE

Don’t forget to send us your favourite podcast suggestions to

Podcasts for teachers with


Great new initiative from podcasts that help teachers use technology

Listen to the teaching podcasts HERE

Remember to send us your favourite podcast suggestions to