R Radio's first purpose built studio goes live on Friday 14th October from 8pm with REAL COUNTRY!

Exciting times ahead!

Northern Ireland's R Radio is about to start broadcasting from our new purpose-built studio in County Down. The studio which has been recently constructed in a log-cabin style building will go LIVE on Friday 14th October with REAL COUNTRY from 8pm! Managing Director of R Radio Limited, Robert Skates, said: "This marks a major milestone for R Radio and for our future output opportunities. "We will be able to host live studio guests, particularly on our flagship Sunday morning TODAY show. R Radio was established to continue broadcasting faith-based programming on Sunday mornings and to engage with others about their faith journey. Our new studio will go some way to fullfilling that ambition." R Radio's TODAY show is LIVE on Sunday mornings 8-10am and repeated Sunday afternoons 4-6pm. REAL COUNTRY is LIVE Friday nights 8-10pm and repeated Sunday afternoons 2-4pm. We also broadcast COUNTRY GOLD Friday 7-8pm and Sunday 6-7pm. TODAY Xtra is a unique show which features contemporary (with beats and attitude!) Christian music Friday 10-11pm and Sunday 7-8pm! 

The next chapter begins!

R Radio's first purpose-built studio is under construction. The log-cabin style modular building has been assembled and the electrics, insulation and other work has been completed. Next comes the studio fitout and broadcast trials that should take place towards the end of October. We hope to broadcast our first show from the studio in around three weeks time - exciting times ahead!

R Radio's new purpose-built studio under construction!

TODAY Xtra - taking praise and worship music to a new level! Friday 10pm!

Taking praise and worship music to a new level! FRIDAY 10pm!

After the successful launch of the TODAY show in 2021, R Radio is taking praise and worship music to a new level with the launch of TODAY Xtra. The show features new releases, dance tracks and more upbeat faith-based tunes for a Friday night. R Radio MD Robert Skates said: 'It has been great to bring praise and worship music back to Sunday morning radio and see the show evolve and grow since it's launch in 2021. There has been a lot of interest in the music we play on a Sunday morning and it seemed the right time to launch an upbeat spin-off version of the TODAY show heading into the weekend. As always we are available on the 'Get Me Radio' platform for Alexa and iPhone - you can also download the R Radio app for Android from the Play Store. We are also available on the 'Smart Radio' lineup on your internet radio - Happy Listening!

TODAY Xtra - FRIDAY'S 10PM on NORTHERN IRELAND'S R RADIO! Just after REAL Country Friday 8-10pm...

A bumper weekend for R Radio!

What a weekend for R Radio Broadcasting - growing figures for REAL Country, another record for our TODAY show and back in the studio this evening to record another First Ladies of Country ❤️pinching myself and enjoying every moment 🙏🙏

Special TODAY show on Ukraine

A special TODAY show on the Ukraine crises tomorrow morning. Adrian McBride from Drop Inn Ministries joins us with an insight into the lives of the ordinary people and what we can do to help - we're live from 8-10am with a repeat 4-6pm! https://s7.citrus3.com:2020/public/rradio If you've an internet radio we're pleased to announce R Radio Broadcasting is available on your Smart Radio lineup - you can also get us on Get Me Radio for iPhone and Alexa and the R Radio app for Android in the Play Store! 

Friday nights - live from Northern Ireland it’s R Radio’s REAL Country!

Big voices and even bigger HAIR! Celebrating the First Ladies of Country coming soon to Northern Ireland's R Radio!

Coming soon to Northern Ireland’s R Radio!

REAL Country - the original stars of country music Friday 8-10pm on R Radio!

R Radio - moves closer to 2023 full launch date!

TODAY and REAL Country's success continues!

AS we head into 2022 R Radio's faith-based TODAY show has been on-air for eight months and 'R' REAL Country show four months. In that time both shows have built a loyal and growing audience. TODAY has established itself as a firm Sunday morning favourte for many listeners in Northern Ireland and further afield. A campaign to promote the programme in local churches and other venues has been helpful and the programme and R Radio are soon to feature in the local press (watch this space!). It has been great to launch Friday night's REAL Country in recent months with a dedicated and increasing audience - and including so many loyal listeners whom I have had a 'radio relationship' with for many years! More follows below...

IT has always been my plan to work towards a full station launch in 2023 once I had completed my honors degree and had my counselling practice establised. I'm pleased to say this is still the case and 2023 is only months away! I'm getting a clearer idea of what 'R' offering will be and how it should be placed in the growing radio market. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all 'R' listeners a Happy & Healthy New Year. I'm grateful to all those who have helped support our TODAY show through our Patreon page and to those who have helped support the station financially in any other way. A Big Thankyou! (Patreon giving supports R Radio's faith-based TODAY show only with licencing and Performing Rights Society costs - it is not used for any other station activity). Find our Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/user?u=52356985 Below are the ways to tune in to R Radio - TODAY Sunday 8-10am & 4-6pm REAL Country Friday 8-10pm. Ask ALEXA to GET ME RADIO then R Radio Broadcasting! For iPhone - download Get Me Radio from the APP Store (and choose R Radio Broadcasting!) Here's the link to the R Radio Player! "https://s7.citrus3.com:2020/AudioPlayer/rradio?" You can also get the mobile app for Android here! https://play.google.com/store/apps/detail

Merry Christmas from Northern Ireland's R Radio!

Your festive favourites lined up over the Christmas period...

We'll be sprinkling a little Christmas magic over 'R' output with REAL Country on Christmas Eve 8-10pm and Boxing Day morning with a special edition of 'R' faith-based TODAY show 8-10am and repeated 4-6pm! Merry Christmas!

What a weekend for Northern Ireland's R Radio as we go 'TOTALLY LIVE!'

Great to get back to the buzz of live radio!

We are taking REAL strides forward at R Radio. Up until now our TODAY and REAL Country programmes have been pre-recorded using a multi-track editor and playout suite and 'dropping in' live links.  Following an investment in new software and broadcast equipment we are now able to transmit our output totally live! Interaction with our audience through email and social media has always been an important part of our offering. In the coming weeks this will extend to live phone-calls into the studio - exciting times ahead as we move closer to transmitting more programmes! Thanks for tuning in to R Radio!

We're on SMART SPEAKER - MOBILE & ONLINE! Ask ALEXA to GET ME RADIO then R Radio Broadcasting! For iPhone - download Get Me Radio from the APP Store (and choose R Radio Broadcasting!) Here's the link to the R Radio Player! "https://s7.citrus3.com:2020/AudioPlayer/rradio?" You can also get the mobile app for Android here!

R Radio's TODAY & REAL Country go from strength to strength!

Gospel and country music still proving popular with listeners!

Radio presenter and MD of Northern Ireland's R Radio Robert Skates is enjoying renewed success with two self-produced radio shows. TODAY, R Radio's faith-based show, launched on Easter Sunday and has proved a hit with local listeners. Robert said: 'Since we launched the show earlier this year, it has grown mainly by word of mouth and R Radio's social media presence. It was always my dream to be in control of my own output and share my vision with our audience'. The world of online radio was a new concept to me but after looking at a few business models, and how it could be grown at a realistic pace, it made perfect sense to me. 

I've had a lot of stuff going on in the back ground, like launching a counselling practice and completing my honours degree, so devoting time to a full station launch for R Radio isn't possible at the minute. However, the next best thing was to launch a platform that would allow me to dip my toe in the water and get the R Radio brand out there with the launch of TODAY and now also our sister show REAL Country on a Friday night. The launch of the REAL Country show has far exceeded my expectations and has allowed me to establish my connection with radio listeners again, not only in Northern Ireland but in many countries around the world.  TODAY SUNDAY 8-10AM & 4-6PM - REAL COUNTRY FRIDAY 8-10PM!

R Radio broadcasts on Smart speaker, including Alexa and Apple devices through the 'Get me radio' app. The R Radio app is also available from the Play Store. Here are the links for tuning in...

We're on SMART SPEAKER - MOBILE & ONLINE! Ask ALEXA to GET ME RADIO then R Radio Broadcasting! For iPhone - download Get Me Radio from the APP Store (and choose R Radio Broadcasting!) Here's the link to the R Radio Player! "https://s7.citrus3.com:2020/AudioPlayer/rradio?" You can also get the mobile app for Android here! https://play.google.com/store/apps/detail

The REAL COUNTRY show set to join R Radio's lineup!

REAL COUNTRY on the way!

Following the success of TODAY - R Radio's faith-based music show, we are pleased to announce the launch of REAL COUNTRY this autumn. The show 'does what is says on the tin' and will feature many of the artists who have been the backbone of 'Real' country music. Arists like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell and Tammy Wynette popularised country music outside of the USA and across the world while still remaining true to the roots of the genre. REAL COUNTRY will launch this autum with popular Northern Ireland Radio presenter Robert Skates. Robert said: 'I have been a fan of country music and knowledgeable about the genre for many years. Although we will also feature many of the newer country stars too - we will not be playing pop music from artists who class themselves as country!' We're really looking forward to the programmes launch on Friday nights from 8-10pm starting this autumn!

The best Christian music on Northern Ireland's R Radio!

We play this...and this!

TODAY is R Radio's new faith-based music show broadcast on Sunday 8-10am and repeated 4-6pm!

I'm pleased to announce R Radio's TODAY show is now available on ALEXA - just ask for 'GET ME RADIO' and then 'R Radio Broadcasting!'

If you have an iPhone you can download the 'Get Me Radio' app from the APP STORE and ask for R Radio Broadcasting.  

We are also offer R Radio's app for Android and online you can listen via the R Radio Player - here are the links!


can also get the mobile app for Android here!



TODAY - is R Radio's new faith-based Sunday morning Show! 8-10am and repeated 4-6pm!

TODAY - Is R Radio's new faith-based Sunday morning Show!

Just in case you missed the programme, we play a mix of contemporary gospel, local and international country gospel artists too. We have a guest speaker each week sharing their faith message too. We would love you to join us each Sunday 8-10am on R Radio. The mobile app for Android is available from the google play store. As the station grows in size we will be able to support the cost of having ouR app in the Apple store.  The online media player link for the show is just below!

If you would like to support ouR gospel show financially, there is an opportunity to give a small ongoing amount each month through ouR Patreon giving page. The link is below. Your giving goes towards the cost of ouR yearly licence and on PRS - Performing Rights Society costs for the music we play. Many thanks for your support for Gods word through music and the spoken word - Robert!

Become a Patron!

TODAY - R Radio's new Sunday morning show hits the airwaves!

Well what can I say? - Easter Sunday was such a special day, not only for the significance of the day, but also for the launch of ouR new gospel show called TODAY. We vastly exceeded ouR audience numbers expectation and this bodes well for the future of the show and the wider launch of the R Radio station. 

Here's the link to the Google Play store for R radio's brand new app!


TODAY R radio's brand new faith-based music show is on Sunday 8-10am!

A sneak listen to how R radio will sound!

Northern Ireland's R radio will launch our new gospel music show called TODAY on Easter Sunday!

TODAY - the first show to be launched on R radio starts on Easter Sunday!

We're busy working behind the scenes on our mobile phone app and other ways to tune in!

Excited to announce the launch of our new Sunday morning show TODAY!

My youngest son Brodie getting in on the act - prior to the launch of R radio!

Setting up a radio station - exploring the options for 2023!

Professional, Local and FUN! Time to do radio my own way?

I'm looking into the feasibility of launching a radio station in 2023. Many of you will know I was concentrating on getting my counselling qualification and getting a practice up and running.  I'm currently completing my Honors degree so 2023 is a realistic proposition for the project. I have ideas about a format but no fixed decision as yet. I'm thinking professional, local and FUN! Idealy we would have at least five or six qood voices to get it off the ground. If you're interested in exploring this with me, feel free to message me on the website  and we'll take it from there! 🎤🎵🎙️

We've now got a focus group up and running and will keep you posted about what we come up with! We've agreed a playlist of 60s70s80s and some 90s! Our station will also feature dedicated Gospel programmes, Traditional Country, specialist and themed music and speech shows and a strong community element! You'll know many of the voices who will present on our station.

LATEST...We now have an MD, station manager/programme controller, head of social and a station sound engineer in their respective positions. We're working towards how we will bring this venture to you and when we will launch - originally I had planned spring 2023 as a realistic time-frame, but things are moving at a quicker pace - exciting times ahead!

Holding a piece of history - rebranding the Ormeau Road studios to Q Radio!

Feeling 'small' - American Gospel Bluegrass group The Isaacs on Gospel Time!

Celebrating World Radio Day 2020 with many memories on my radio journey!

Celebrating 25 years on the wireless!

Here's to the next 25!

Presenting a roadshow for Downtown Radio at the Broadisland Gathering i did this gig three years in a row - great times!

Can't believe I've been on local radio for 25 years!

Probably more if you count doing hospital radio while at school...

It's the first job I ever remember wanting to do. Like a lot of kids I had a small transistor radio and used to listen to it under the bed covers at night. I always felt it was just a one-to-one relationship between the presenter and me and that's something I've tried to maintain throughout my radio career.

I convinced the boss of 96.7 BCR to let me try Newsreading back in 1994 and within months I was presenting programmes at the station. I grew to love that connection with the local audience and joined Downtown Radio in early 1995.

I initially was a swing presenter for Downtown before accepting a staff job in the Newsroom of Downtown/CoolFM and covered many stories from the Good Friday Agreement to 9/11.

I spent eleven years with the news team and also jumped into programming as the 'cover jock'. I loved the freedom that local commercial radio gave me to do news and present - I could never totally choose one over the other!

Being the cover presenter for a while allowed me to be on at different times of the day and build a connection with the audience. Many becoming friends along the way. I eventually made the move into full time presentation with Downtown and stayed with the station until 2015. I left on a real high with Gospel Time which I produced and presented being the most successful Sunday morning show on local commercial radio.  Friday nights Downtown Country which I also produced and presented became the most listened to radio show in Northern Ireland in that time slot!

It's always hard to leave something you love but after 21 years at Downtown an opportunity came my way to join Citybeat in Belfast. The station had been taken over by the Q Radio Network who had ambitious plans for the station and their Northern Ireland coverage. I joined the newsroom in Belfast in June 2015 and quickly became part of a dedicated team with a passion for fast moving news - it was like my early days at Downtown all over again - we were hungry for success and Q Radio across Northern Ireland had arrived!

I was totally engrossed in news and never saw the opportunity coming to present again but it did. Sunday morning presenting fell into my lap again and I wondered what the Q Radio audience would make of me. The music and the studio set-up was totally different for me but as soon as I answered my first phone-call into the studio, I knew the connection with the audience was still there.

I found my presenting voice again and pretty soon the show was a success. I never would have guessed I would make the move completely into presenting again but it felt right. I went on to present #QAfterDark from eleven each weeknight Mon-Thurs along with #QSundayBreakfast 7-10am Sunday mornings.

I still had a keen interest in news and did the desk shift on Saturday's. It was an interesting time with Brexit and the Trump administration at the Whitehouse!

I left Q Radio in December 2017, a brave decision to make just before Christmas but a career move that felt right. My love of news-presenting and the buzz of delivering the big stories has led me to Broadcasting House, Belfast. In July 2018 I joined the newsreading and broadcast journalists team at BBC Radio Ulster! 


Another one from the archives - some urban shots with Robert Smyth Photography - the budget didn't stretch to shoes!

With playwright and actress Marie Jones - taken in 2011 - I remember we filled the studio with laughter - happy times!

With Owen Larkin on the ill-fated Lord Rank - what a voyage that was in 2010!

Actress and comedy star Leila Webster! Someone shared this on Facebook recently - can't totally remember the year (might have been around 2012) I do remember being star-struck and going biscuit shopping in Ards for her - true Norn Iron legend!

If these 'cans' could talk!

These headphones have become like old friends!

I have been reflecting on the journey these headphones have been on over the years. I've worn them at various stations on a Sunday morning presenting gospel music programmes, chart hits, country, phone-ins and so much more. They've been on my ears while interviewing Joan Rivers, Meatloaf and Michael Flatley among many others. 


Now they've followed me to the BBC. There might be a book in them some day but for now they're just like old friends...

Presenting Northern Ireland's Biggest Friday evening radio Show!

Anyone who know's me will tell you I'm passionate about my family, the radio and - Country Music!

I was a child when I first became aware of the genres. The singer just happened to be the 'First Lady of Country Music' Tammy Wynette. Her voice was so different, distinctive and I thought her style so sincere that she must be singing to just me.

This opened the doors for country music in the UK, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline and many others followed - I along with the rest of the country were hooked!

I'd been playing country on my mainstream radio shows for a while and pinched myself when I was asked to fill-in for Big T on Downtown Country. This eventually led to me being offered my own country music radio show on Downtown on a Friday evening.

I wanted to do it a little differently - it was Friday night after all. I kept it upbeat, mainly today's biggest stars and plenty of the local artists who were filling the local venues - Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan and Lisa McHugh.

Within a short period of time the show became the most listened to radio show in Northern Ireland on a Friday evening in that slot - I was over the moon when I saw the figures - people liked what I was producing and it gave me a buzz!




This takes me back...taken at the Grand Opera House Belfast (can't remember the year!) I do remember a whole rail of shirts and trousers coming with me on the trip but as always the photographer prefarred the ones I'd arrived in!

Proud to have been part of the Belfast International Tattoo 2018 - great times!

The Belfast International Tattoo 2018 - great to be part of a 'big' well produced show!


Robert Skates presenting this years Belfast International Tattoo!

Over the moon to be the new Master of Ceremonies at the 2018 Belfast International Tattoo - one of Northern Ireland's premier events with a very talented team producing the show - I'm still getting my head around getting scripts sorted, stage direction etc and the rehearsals are only days away - I'm like an excited kid! Very proud to be a part of this - here's to 2018!


Belfast International Tattoo press release:

Things are changing at the Tattoo this year again and the first of this years changes is our new Master of Ceremonies for The Belfast International Tattoo.

Step forward and into the spolight Robert Skates

Robert has been entertaining local radio audiences across Northern Ireland for over twenty three years now. He was a presenter at Downtown Radio for twenty one years including a stint in the newsroom for Downtown and CoolFM. During his time at Downtown, Robert achieved major listening figures for his Gospel Time and Downtown Country shows.

For the past two years Robert has been a news presenter and journalist for Q Radio in Belfast before moving to the Sunday morning and weekday evening programme slots. He said: "I've always felt that connection with the local radio audience, many listeners treat me like a member of the family - I guess it's being that familiar voice in people's homes and cars for so many years - it's a privileged position to be in."

Robert has worked with many major names in the business over the years and once landed Joan Rivers, Engelbert Humperdinck and Cliff Richard for the same show.

The married father of four from Donaghadee in County Down has presented a number of outside broadcasts and live stage shows including 'Rock Challenge' at Belfast's Waterfront Hall.

Robert say's he is 'over the moon' to be involved with the Belfast International Tattoo 2018. He said: "I've been a fan for some years now and love the inter-generational feel to the event. What other live audience includes grandparents, parents and children enjoying acts from all over the world?" I'm counting down the weeks until September!

Great to be back on the wireless again!

Just incase you haven't heard I'm back reading the news on your radio - this time for BBC Radio Ulster! It's very different from the various commercial stations I've worked at over the years - totally news focused and with the staff and resources to get to the heart of the story. I'm like a kid in a sweet shop, especially when I'm reading on Good Morning Ulster or Evening Extra - two iconic Radio Ulster programmes I've been a listener of for many years. 


It's been a long held aspiration of mine to work at the BBC and as I approach almost 25 years on local radio this really is a dream come true! I just need to find my way around Broadcasting House properly and stop getting lost! :-) 

Great to get back in front of the mic again!

It's funny how at home you can feel in a studio. It has been a few months since I came out of local radio on a daily basis but was a great feeling to get back in front of the mic again this time at UTV. I've been recording the tv add for the Belfast International Tattoo! September is getting ever closer and the excitement is building - great times lay ahead - what a show the production team have planned for this year! See you at the SSE Arena 7th and 8th Sept 2018!

A great night for a great cause at Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee!

SelfBuild LIVE at Titanic Exhibition Centre - a great experience!

Thanks to everyone at SelfBuild LIVE for a brilliant three days and most of all thanks to YOU for coming along.

We had about 40,000 people through the doors over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I really enjoyed hosting the LIVE stage seminars and we had so many great questions from members of the public - thanks guys!

I learned so much about kitchen design, insulation and various types of heatings pumps!

It was great that so many people came up to say hello during the event - thanks again!



'Like' the Facebook page - Robert Skates - Radio Presenter

With kind regards

Bauer Media Awards in London 2013!

Vintage Pics - Bad hairstyles through the years!

Some memories from my time at Q Radio - I was approached by the company to join them in 2015 initially for news before moving in to programming. I left in December 2017- probably a brave move to make with Christmas just around the corner but sometimes you get a really strong feeling that it's time to challenge yourself career-wise - in hindsight it was the right move!

Got roped into this one!

  • With Justin McGuirk!

    Justin's written and recorded so many great country songs. 'If I could take your place' was a very special song for him. Many people first came to know Justin after he recorded a version of Collin Raye's 'Love me!'

  • King of country Dominic Kirwin!

    This guys shifted a shed-load of country ballad cd's over the years and now the son's are following in his footsteps - Dominic Kirwin!

Out and about - meeting listeners!

Please don't let me drop this!

I love those times when you get out to do road shows or appearances. I was booked to surprise a Gospel Time listener with a cake - I remember thinking please God don't let me drop it on the way up to the stage!

With Eoghan Quigg - doing my Q Radio Sunday breakfast show from the Giro d'iTalia 2017 at Stormont!

  • Mid and East Antrim Business Awards!

    I got red wine spilled over my shirt and had to borrow the waiter's before I could present an award - never forget it!

  • Alltrack rallying!

    Scary but adrenaline filled fun! I remember the organisers presented me with a MAP! Must have got lost!

  • Ballycarry!

    Broadisland Gathering - did this gig three years in a row - great fun!


27.02.2021 02:30


I have really enjoyed reading this article, so very much that I didn't know about Robert Skates, I have admired how he has fitted in radio, as well as being a very hands on father and family man,

18.02.2020 07:37

Candy Devine

Good read Robert. Here’s to the next 25 years! x

20.06.2018 09:10

Shirley Gault

Brilliant Web page, so interesting but no mention of R S A.S. Lol 😁 and the 638 posts on one show! x

17.02.2018 22:15

Shirley Gault

Love this page... what an amazing life you have had

12.11.2017 19:07

Shirley Gault

Love this Rob!! But you've forgotten the RSAS where you once had 648 posts on your fb during one of your shows!!! Modesty ehh lol 😁