Century Communications is awarded the franchise for the first independent radio station in Ireland and wants Gay Byrne as a presenter.

The Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) has awarded the national radio franchise to Century Communications Limited who hope to have the new station on the air for 24 hours by 1 May 1989.

The Century Communications Group is led by music promoter Oliver Barry and businessman James Stafford. The group also includes financial adviser Eamonn Griffin, programme consultant Muiris Mac Conghail, legal adviser Enda Marren, secretary and legal adviser Eugene Fanning and broadcast engineering consultant Ray Hills.

Oliver Barry says the station will operate from Dublin, with plans for regional studios in the west or Ireland and in Cork. The station will eventually employ over 200 people.

Secretary of the IRTC, Sean Connolly explains the criteria that made the Century application successful. Business acumen was the first criteria, along with financial backing of the station itself, realistic projections and the type of programming planned.

Oliver Barry says he has been in negotiations with prominent presenters from RTÉ, but the station will also draw from talent identified throughout the country.

This will be a fantastic opportunity to develop unknown people.

When Century goes on air he expects some household names will have joined the new station. The biggest name rumoured to be joining is Gay Byrne, who has confirmed he is in discussions and negotiations with Oliver Barry and Century Communications.

Gay Byrne has informed his employers of these negations but RTÉ management has reason to believe that he will stay with the National Broadcaster.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 18 January 1989. The reporter is Charlie Bird.