Radio West was a popular station which began broadcasting from Mullingar in Co. Westmeath in 1982. On low power initially on 1071 kHz, it bought Radio Nova’s original 10 kW transmitter and moved to 765 and then 702 kHz where it remained until the end of 1988.
By 1988, it also had a series of low-power FM transmitters and was boasting that it could be heard in 23 of the 26 counties. It even re-branded itself as ‘West National Radio 3’ and perhaps saw itself as a contender for a national commercial station as the licensed era approached. West also had an AM relay on 711 kHz covering Co. Galway and this promo from 1988 is aimed at attracting Galway businesses to advertise. Its owner Seán Coyne was involved in the licensed Galway station of the same name in the early 1990s. Radio West was eventually re-branded as Galway Bay FM.
Here is the introduction to the 6pm news from 30.08.88 including the end of an ad for Dunnes Stores, the top of the hour ident voiced by Derek Flood and the start of the news with Kevin Palmer.
The end of the 6pm news of the same date including part of the mart report for Tullamore. Radio West took its rural audience seriously and had regular mart reports for farmers.
More airchecks from 1988 including ads and jingles.
A jingle and news sting from 1987. 96.3 FM was just one of many FM frequencies used by Radio West.
A Tony Allan ident emphasising the ‘national’ coverage.
In this fascinating interview with engineer Gerry O’Reilly, the Radio West 10 kW transmitter is discussed.
Treble TR was Dublin’s country and Irish music station and broadcast from 1981 until the end of 1988 on 945 kHz and 99.5 FM. This recording is from the 30th of December 1988, the station’s final day of broadcast. It begins just after 6pm with Aidan Cooney referring to the fact that Q102 had just gone off the air. The aircheck also includes a recording of Simon Dee of Radio Caroline fame criticising the Dutch & British governments’ approach to pirate radio and Aidan reminiscing about other Dublin stations. Aidan also talks to two people who had been involved in radio in Wicklow. Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB) had closed down earlier that week.
Liberties Local Community Radio (LLCR) began broadcasting in March 1986 from Weaver Square in Dublin 8. It was run by Sammy Prendergast who was well known for installing aerials for pirate stations. LLCR broadcast on 1035 kHz AM using the old Capitol Radio rig which had been on 1017 kHz until shortly before then. It was also heard on 104 FM at a later stage.
In this aircheck from 30.08.88 Teena Gates announces Liberty 104 and reads the news. Teena can still be heard reading news on radio in Dublin today.
Boyneside Radio from Co. Louth was one of the largest and most successful regional stations in Ireland during the 1980s. It broadcast for 10 years from 1978 to 1988 from Drogheda. During that decade Boyneside developed a series of additional transmitters and opt-out services in Navan, Kells, north Dublin and along the border aiming into Northern Ireland. Here’s a selection of airchecks and promos from 1986-1988, including one seeking a new transmission site in Kells.
You can hear a panel discussion on the Louth pirates here and a separate interview with local veteran broadcaster Eddie Caffrey here. We also have a recording of how Boyneside covered the controversy about Radio Tara (to become Atlantic 252) in Co. meath.
Radio Anita was a hobby station operated by Frank Williams (aka Frank Decker) from Howth and broadcast sporadically in the late 1980s. Here’s an aircheck from 1988 (we don’t have a precise date) recorded from 94.6 FM.
Three temporary community stations came on air in 1984 to celebrate local festivals in Dublin. Radio Sandymount, Radio Ringsend and Radio Donnybrook were all set up by Dave Reddy and broadcast on 981, 1116 or 1134 kHz. David Baker, who worked in a variety of Dublin stations in the 1980s, was also involved. In this recording from June or July 1984, David chats with Gerard Roe of Radio Annabel about the Dublin radio scene in 1984. Audio quality is poor as the recording is of a weak AM signal received in north Dublin on 981 kHz but we are unaware of any other recording of these community stations. You can hear separate recordings of Radio Annabel at http://pirate.ie/archive/the-radio-annabel-free-radio-campaign/ and an interview with David Baker at http://pirate.ie/archive/interview-dave-baker-klas/
Centre Radio (94.2 FM from Bayside in northeast Dublin) was one of the few stations to remain on air until the final deadline of midnight on the 31 st of December. In this recording Bobby Gibbson (Brian Greene) and Dave Evans (Eamonn Roe) discuss who is still on air in the early hours of the morning of the 31 st . We then hear another bandscan from just before 8.00am and a very optimistic prediction about the availability of new licences in 1989. You can read about the history of Centre here./
Heartbeat FM was a popular love song station in Dublin broadcasting from 1986 until 1988 on 1116 kHz AM and 95.5 FM, although it dropped the AM transmitter towards the end of its run. It was an example of one of the niche stations of the era and featured a format that would be copied in later years by Radio Dublin. These recordings from the 30th August 1988 include links by John Keogh and Maurice Nevin, ads, jingles and news.
Signal 106 was a hobby station from the southside of Dublin which broadcast at the end of the pirate era. It was set up by the very youthful Kevin Branigan and Mike Ormonde and broadcast from Rathfarnham during the summer and Christmas school holidays of 1988. Because its antenna was on a height the station got out well despite its low power on 106 FM, as indicated by the good reception across the city in Bayside where these recordings were made.
In the first clip we hear Graham Turner (aka Justin Leonard) and Dave Adams (aka Andrew Mangan). The top of the hour jingle is by Seán Ashmore who did many station idents in the late 1980s. The second and third clips feature Graham Turner. The date is 29.12.88, the day before Signal closed down.