Jingles for Twiggs FM in Galway

Jingles for Twiggs FM in Galway
Twiggs FM flyer (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

Twiggs FM broadcast from Salthill in Galway for about six months at the end of 1987 and beginning of 1988. It was based at the Eglinton Hotel on Salthill promenade and was called after the hotel’s popular nightclub. Twiggs FM regularly broadcast gigs from the club and there was a student vibe from the station with promos for events at University College Galway (now NUI Galway) and the Regional Technical College (now GMIT). Sound engineer Roland Burke and Alan Russell, both of whom had radio experience in Dublin, were hired to run Twiggs FM by two Galway businessmen who had leased the Eglinton Hotel.

Here’s a set of clever Twiggs FM jingles and liners from 1987, featuring the voices of the late Roland Burke and Gerry Moore. Gerry Moore did voice-overs for many pirates in Dublin during the 1980s. We thank Alan Russell for this donation.

Community Radio Drogheda covers rescue attempt of Irish woman in San Francisco

Community Radio Drogheda covers rescue attempt of Irish woman in San Francisco
Community Radio Drogheda sticker (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

In September 1981, a Donegal man attempted to rescue his daughter from a compound owned by the Unification Church (the ‘Moonies’) in San Francisco. After they were refused admission, James Canning and about 30 Irish-American supporters tried to break into the building and remove Mary Canning. Drogheda journalist Niall O’Dowd, who worked with the Washington Post, was the only reporter to witness the incident and was contacted by media all over the world for comment.

Knowing that a local man was on the ground, Community Radio Drogheda (CRD) wanted to cover the drama and on his lunchtime show on 16th September 1981, Gavin Duffy interviewed Niall O’Dowd about the incident. No doubt it helped that Niall’s brother Michael was news editor at CRD. Niall O’Dowd went on to become a highprofile figure in Irish America, founding the Irish Voice Newspaper and Irish America magazine as well as the website Irishcentral.com. Another brother Fergus became a Fine Gael TD for Louth.

Community Radio Drogheda broke away from Boyneside Radio in July 1981 and operated a separate service until May 1982 when the two stations merged again. We thank Eddie Caffrey for his donation of this recording, which begins with an ad break before the interview.

New donations to Pirate.ie

New donations to Pirate.ie

We thank Barry Dunne, David Lynch, Eddie Caffrey, John Breslin and Kevin Branigan for their recent donations of recordings to Pirate.ie. Our thanks is due also to Ian Biggar for his ongoing collaboration and support.

Stations of the 1980s covered in recent donations include BLB, Boyneside Radio, Community Radio Drogheda, Capitol Radio, Energy 103, Hope FM, Kilkenny Community Radio, KISS FM (Monaghan), KISS FM (Stillorgan), LLCR, Phoenix Radio, Pulsar 98, Q102/SuperQ, Radio Dublin, Radio Nova, Smile FM, Southside 95, Sunshine Radio and Tallaght Community Radio.

Among the stations of the 1990s featured in these new recordings are Coast 105, Hot 107, Power FM, Radio Dublin and Sunset FM.

We look forward to posting these in our archive, along with background information and analysis, over the coming months. We are also continuing to work through previous big donations including the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection and the Skywave Tapes Collection, bringing you the best in Irish pirate radio since the late 1970s.

If you wish to donate original cassettes, pirate memorabilia or digitised recordings to us, get in touch.

John Walsh & Brian Greene

Local kids take over Liberties Radio

Local kids take over Liberties Radio
Owner Sammy Prendergast at 16 Weaver Square in 1987 (photo courtesy of DX Archive).

Liberties Local Community Radio (LLCR) was launched on 4th April 1986 from Weaver’s Square in the heart of the Liberties area of inner-city Dublin. Broadcasting on 1035 kHz AM and originally 96.7 FM, it promised to be a community radio station for the Liberties. This never really happened but the station carved out its own niche and many high-profile broadcasters passed through its doors including Peter Madison, Teena Gates and Tony Allan. The station later broadcast on 104 and 107 FM and was known as Gold 104 for a time. It closed down on 20th December 1988.

LLCR was owned by the late Sammy Prendergast who installed aerials for many of the pirates. The station was situated above a shop at 16 Weaver Square where local kids would often hang out. Security was lax and sometimes DJs didn’t show up or lock the door to the station. One evening, a bunch of kids got into the studio and took to the air for a few minutes until the phone rang and someone told them what was going on. Listen until the very end for the punchline!

The recording is undated but is from the second half of 1988. It is shared with kind permission of Kevin Branigan. Thanks also to Barry Dunne for passing it on to us.

An eclectic music mix on Kerry Local Radio

An eclectic music mix on Kerry Local Radio

The history of pirate radio in Kerry is less well documented than other parts of Ireland and unlicensed radio activities in the county are only rarely mentioned by Anoraks UK. The Weekly Report didn’t have a regular contact in Kerry and relied mostly on people who were passing through. Many of the Kerry pirates were on FM only, unusual in itself for the 1980s but also problematic for long-distance listening, particularly when so many recordings of Irish pirates were made on the west coast of Britain.

Early listings from 1979 and 1980 logged two stations, Kerry Community Radio (1600 kHz) and Radio Tralee (1176 kHz), both in Tralee. Anoraks UK lists from late 1982 to late 1984 list a Kerry Local Radio (KLR) on 99.9 FM which may have emerged from one of the earlier stations. According to The Kerryman of 28th September 1984, a major financial backer pulled out of KLR due to ‘bad vibes’ at the station and a subsequent split saw two stations in Tralee, the grandly-titled Kerry Regional Radio Services (KRRS) and Kingdom of Kerry Local Radio. The split may have led to the closure of KLR, as listings from mid-1985 refer only to ‘Big K’ in Tralee, a station which broadcast between 102 and 104 FM for the next three years. However, this may have been an incarnation of KLR because an Anoraks Ireland list from 1988 refers to ‘Big K/KLR’. A lot more research remains to be done to untangle these twists and turns in the pirate radio scene in Tralee!

Michael Donovan was a colourful local character who was involved in many of the Tralee stations from the late 1970s. Elected as a town councillor in 1985, he managed Big K/KLR in later years until the end of 1988 when the pirates left the air. According to The Kerryman of 17th February 1989, Donovan attacked the Independent Radio and Television Commission for delays in licensing the Kerry station. He vowed to return as a pirate, claiming dramatically that he and his staff would starve if they didn’t get back on the air. Donovan carried out his threat and KLR resumed broadcasting illegally but was raided twice, in 1990 and again in 1991. According to Free Radio News from Ireland (March/April 1991), he was convicted on two charges, illegal broadcasting and possession of a transmitter. The drama continued when, after appealing his convictions, Donovan was not informed in time of the appeal date and an arrest warrant was issued by the judge when he didn’t show up. He died in 2002 from cancer at the young age of 58. Thanks to Ian Biggar and Eddie Bohan for background information.

This recording of Kerry Local Radio is of part of a very eclectic rock show featuring music from The Skids, Mike Rutherford and Climax Blues Band. It is a partial aircheck and was made shortly after 2pm on 1st January 1984. The presenter is John Devane and ads are heard for local Tralee businesses. The recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.