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Spotlight on The Irish Jam




Spotlight on Irish in Britain member–The Irish Jam 

TV producer Kealan Duignan, originally from Kildare Town, popped into an open day at his local radio station, Wandsworth Radio, in 2015. 

He told them he’d love to do an Irish Radio show “relevant to the younger generations of Irish people that have emigrated to London in recent times, rather than a show that was all country music and death notices…”

Team with cake

The Irish Jam was born. Currently going out live online on Sundays between 7 and 9pm it features a mix of interviews plus a packed playlist of Irish music. The Irish Jam started as Kealan’s hobby but as the work to put it out grew he has recruited extra presenters, Niall Jackson and Melanie Simpson. 

Irish in Britain spoke to Kealan about the radio show and the Irish audience it attracts

How long have you lived in London and what do you miss about Ireland?

I first moved to London in 2005. Left in 2007 and returned in 2009 and have lived here since then. Obviously, I miss friends and family back home. And Irish hospitality. I’m forever moaning about poor service (in bars particularly) over here!

Any favourite moment from broadcasting?

Collage of photos of St Patrick's Day

The shows that we do around Irish Film Festival time (Late November/early December) have introduced us to some of the best guests we’ve ever had on the show. All our St Patrick’s Day shows are always fun as we have put on a live gig for the last few years.

Last year in particular was a big success – we put on a live show in the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith with Delorentos headlining. 

We also had great coverage of the St Patricks Day Festival interviewing people like Sadiq Khan, Dara O’Briain, Jarlath Regan, Laura Whitmore and Annie Mac.

Do you get feedback from your audience?

Yes, people love how up to date we are with the Irish music scene. We get lots of emails every week from acts that want to be played on the show. 

You are targeting more recent younger Irish emigrants; do you think there are many connections between the different generations of the Irish community in London?

Brian Dalton at The Irish jam

There are definitely some connections, but I also feel there are a lot of cultural differences between the different generations. My parents met in London in the 60s and spent over a decade living here so I’ve grown up with stories of the Irish community in London and how they bonded socially in bars and dance halls back in the day.

I’m not sure that the same sense of community exists like it was back then but at the same time there are lots of cool things happening in London all the time that pull Irish people together. 

I’ve got to know some amazing Irish people in London since I started The Irish Jam.

Follow The Irish Jam on Twitter and Facebook, listen to the show live, and check out past Irish Jam highlights

This is the first in a series of profiles of Irish in Britain member organisations. 

If you are an Irish in Britain member and would like us to feature your organisation, or if you are interested in becoming a member and having the opportunity to share the details about your charity/business do get in touch.