Aircheck: Pirates co-operate in charity marathon

Image courtesy of DX Archive

In 1986, three large pirate stations – Sunshine Radio in Dublin, ERI in Cork and ABC in Waterford – co-operated to jointly organise a 250-mile maxi-marathon between the three cities.

Here are two promos – the first from ERI and the second from ABC – voiced by Mark Byrne of Sunshine Radio. They are fascinating on so many levels: co-operation between pirate stations, a campaign backed by big commercial sponsors and funds raised going to a major charity, the Central Remedial Clinic.

This is a good example of how the archive can give us a more global view of what was happening in the 1980s. Listeners to each station did not know that all three stations were involved but the archive can tell us that. The level of co-operation surpasses what exists today between stations in the same large radio groups.

It also reminds us that despite often fierce local competition, stations from different parts of the country were willing to co-operate for charitable causes. No doubt they also had an eye to the impeding legalisation and wanted to position themselves as socially responsible.

Aircheck – Magic 103

Image courtesy of DX Archive

Magic 103 (103.5 FM and initially also 1521 kHz AM) was set up by Radio Nova in 1985 and was one of many examples of Chris Cary’s innovation in splitting AM/FM services to expand programming. Magic, which began broadcasting on April 29th, was a mostly easy-listening and talk service in contrast to the chart music format of Nova.

‘ABC Network News’ was broadcast on both Nova and Magic, and the journalists also presented programmes on Magic. This airchecked recording is from the early days of the service – we estimate it to be May 1st 1985. Dave Johnson (aka Andrew Hanlon) is both presenter and newscaster. He reads out a request from a listener in Co. Down, evidence of how far the FM signal travelled on a relatively uncrowded band. Sound quality is variable on this recording and some of it may have been recorded from AM.

Magic 103 was short-lived and closed in September 1985.

Full recording: ABC Radio (Waterford)

ABC Radio broadcast from 1982 to 1988 from Tramore near Waterford and was one of the southeast’s most popular pirates. It began broadcasting on 729 kHz and later moved to 1026 kHz, using a 1 kW transmitter. This recording was made from 5.15 – 5.49pm on 26 March 1986 and recorded from AM. The presenter is Tony Morrell and the segment includes news, ad breaks and weather.

Image courtesy of DX Archive

Full recording: Inner City Radio

This is the first recording from a collection of tapes we were donated by the shortwave operator of Skywave Radio International (Baldoyle, 1980s). The notes here will grow if the wisdom of the crowd can add details on Inner City Radio.

The recording is from 2.20pm on 30 July 1984 and the presenter is Tony Mayo. Frequencies given are 981 kHz AM and 102 MHz FM.

Who owned Inner City Radio? Where was the studio and TX site? Who was Tony Mayo? Did it have prior or future incarnations with a new station name? Any photos or logos? Did you work in Inner City Radio or do an anorak station visit? Please contact us if you have information.

Interview: Ian Biggar (part 2: ERI, Zee 103)

John Walsh interviewing Ian Biggar

Here is the second part of our interview with one-time broadcaster and long-time Irish pirate radio enthusiast Ian Biggar, recorded at his home in Harrogate in England.

In this part, Ian remembers his involvement with ERI in Cork and Zee 103 in Omeath, Co. Louth in the 1980s. He also tells us how he recorded thousands of hours of Irish pirates over the past 40 years and gives his views on the radio scene today.

Interview: Ian Biggar (part 1: Boyneside Radio, Radio Carousel)

We met one time broadcaster and long time enthusiast of Irish pirate radio Ian Biggar in Harrogate recently to discuss his love of the medium and his involvement in Irish stations.

John Walsh interviewing Ian Biggar

In the first part of a long interview, Ian talks about how he first got into pirate radio while still a child in Scotland. He then describes how he discovered the Irish scene and went on to work in the Co. Louth stations Boyneside Radio and Radio Carousel.

Doing some MW DXing with the help of a loop

Ian recorded thousands of hours of valuable Irish pirate radio and has contributed significantly to the DX Archive site. We’re very grateful to Ian for his time and hospitality during our visit to Harrogate and for his life-long dedication to preserving Irish pirate radio memories.