CAU FM was a short-lived station broadcasting on 103.5 FM from Foxrock in south Dublin from the summer of 1987 until the summer of 1988. Although more a hobby than a commercial station, it had a professional sound and slick jingle package and was run by Locky Butler who still works professionally in audio and sound recording. This is an aircheck of a longer recording from 1988 (unfortunately we have no date) featuring Locky Butler on air.
Sometimes the ads ran for so long they became famous. The Red Corner Shop on Dorset Street advertised heavily on the Dublin pirates. This recording is from Radio Dublin in 1987.
Capitol Radio/Nitesky 96 specialised in indie and alternative music and was one of the last stations in Dublin on air on New Year’s Eve 1988, broadcasting live from Side’s nightclub. This recording is from the 30th December 1988 and features Conor Brooks promoting the listeners’ all-time Alternative Top 30 that was to be broadcast the following day, the final day. The suggested bands and songs give a good indication of Capitol’s unique musical style. The Alternative Top 10 based on listeners’ votes was a popular weekly feature on the station.
Dusty’s Trail was a popular programme on Radio Dublin presented by Gerry Jones aimed at teenage listeners. Trailers, as they were called, wrote into the programme requesting music and even met up at organised gatherings every weekend at the band stand at Stephens Green (it wouldnt be allowed nowadays with GDPR and all the regulations of safety). In this extract from 1985, a listener sends in a copy of a response she received from Minister of State for Broadcasting Ted Nealon to her letter expressing concern that stations such as Radio Dublin would be shut down. Audio quality was never great on Radio Dublin but is worse on this recording due to a loud heterodyne.
Centre Radio in Bayside was one of the last stations to close at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Rumours abounded that Radio Dublin was going to defy the new legislation and continue broadcasting so early on the morning of the 31st of December 1988 Bobby Gibbson (Brian Greene) decided to call Radio Dublin live on air. In this recording, he speaks to breakfast presenter Robbie Prior who says that all presenters have been told that this is their final day. However he adds that station owner Eamonn Cooke could well have something up his sleeve. The recording includes poor quality live audio from Radio Dublin’s AM broadcast on 1188 kHz.
The Dublin pirates were not all about pop and some stations served niche audiences or specific demographics. One station playing easy listening and classical music was KLAS which broadcast on 98.5 FM from late 1986 until the end of 1988. The station was established by Radio Carousel boss Hugh Hardy from his home in the suburb of Sutton but after a change in management it changed its name slightly to Class Radio and moved to the city centre.
Dublin station Radio Annabel featured a popular weekly Free Radio Campaign programme presented by Gerard Roe. This recording from 1985 features an interview with Chris Cary taken from Radio Nova in which he criticises the notion of community radio. It is followed by a reference to a newspaper article about one of the failed attempts to introduce legislation to regulate the radio sector during the 1980s.
Broadcasts of Dublin station Q102 were disrupted in July 1986 by a mysterious ‘phantom’ who managed to break into the VHF link to the AM transmitter and disrupt normal programming on 819 kHz. Anoraks UK reported receiving anonymous calls from Dublin to say that the ‘ghost’ of Radio Nova was to return and later that day, Radio Nova jingles were broadcast on Q102’s AM frequency (Radio Nova had closed in March 1986). A person on a bicycle with a rucksack and home-made dipole was spotted near Q’s transmitter site but escaped before engineers could catch up with him. The ‘Phantom’ also called Radio West’s Sunday Anoraks’ Hour to threaten further disruption. This mysterious recording includes references to that programme and also cheekily edits a Capitol Radio jingle, changing it from ‘Move over to Capitol’ to ‘Move over Capitol’. This was apparent hint that Capitol would be the next target!
This recording is of the main 6.00 evening news from Drogheda-based Boyneside Radio on 30 August 1988 and includes an interview with a representative of local residents in Clonlyon in Co. Meath protesting against the erection of a high longwave mast for Radio Tara in nearby Clarkestown. RTÉ’s proposed joint venture with Radio Luxembourg, Radio Tara went on the air as Atlantic 252 in September 1989. It was aimed at the large and lucrative British market at a time when the UK had no national commercial radio station. Atlantic 252 was very successful in the first half of the 1990s but closed in 2002.
Aircheck of northeast Dublin Pirate Centre Radio recorded from 23:on 30 30.12.88 to 05:30 on 31.12.1988. On air overnight is Bobby Gibbson (aka Brian Greene). Centre had just finished broadcasting a live variety concert from its studio location at the Mid Sutton Community Centre from 8pm-11pm. The decision was taken to broadcast through the night for the last time before the closedown at midnight on the 31st.