2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the most important week in Irish history – the Easter Rising, an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week, April 1916, which brought Irish Independence to the focus of global attention. 2016 also marked the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s first ever radio broadcast, the proclamation of an Irish Republic transmitted in the middle of the Easter Rising from the heart of the action. Everyone in Ireland knows the story of the Easter Rising, but the story of Ireland’s first radio broadcast was not so well known. Our objective was to mark the anniversary of Ireland’s first radio broadcast and raise awareness of this amazing piece of Irish history. Irish people spend more time with radio than with any other medium, to Irish people, radio is more than just another media outlet – it’s part of our culture. But many Irish listeners didn’t realize how much of a part of our history radio actually is – many listeners weren’t aware that our nation was born on the airwaves.
To mark the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s first ever radio broadcast we wanted to raise awareness of this historic event by literally recreating history. We took over the airwaves, broadcasting the exact same message, for the exact same length, on the exact same date, at the exact same time. Simply put, to mark the 100th anniversary of Irish radio we took over Irish radio. The media strategy was informed by the desire to maintain authenticity, as established in the creative response, and our goal to raise awareness through reaching a maximum amount of listeners. Taking this two-pronged approach, eighty-second commercial breaks were booked across every major radio station in Ireland. All breaks were booked across the 5:30pm time slot, which would not only mark the exact time of Ireland’s first radio broadcast, but as this time slot coincided with peak drivetime radio, it would also deliver us with maximum audience reach. The media strategy put in place enabled us to raise awareness to a widespread audience, whilst complimenting the creative approach to the brief.
On April 25th, 2016 every major radio station in Ireland played ‘Sound of Sixteen’ at 5:30pm, exactly one hundred years after Ireland’s first ever radio broadcast. This simultaneously broadcast literally recreated the actions of the Irish rebels one hundred year early, by sending out the exact same Morse code message across the Irish airwaves. Not only was the broadcast made at the exact same time and date, it was the exact same length as the original Morse code message, played out at a rate of 20WPM/100HZ. ‘Sound of Sixteen’ only ran once, simultaneously across every major radio station in Ireland. Listeners were then directed to our ‘Sound of Sixteen’ microsite where they could learn more about Ireland’s first ever radio broadcast. By literally recreating history we reached over 800,000 listeners, and celebrated a nation born on the airwaves, by simply taking over the airwaves.