Aircheck: Capitol Radio (Dublin)

Aircheck: Capitol Radio (Dublin)
Capitol/Niteksy ad in the Sunday World, April 1986 from Alan MacSimoin collection.

Here’s a short aircheck of Capitol Radio from sometime in 1988. Capitol was a strong supporter of the alternative Irish music scene and the bands A-House and Cypress Mine are featured in this recording. The weather sting doesn’t fire at 3pm so the presenter carries on and reads the forecast. The request for ‘Brian and Pat listening in the Centre in Bayside’ is a reference to Centre Radio, the station ran by Brian Greene from Dublin 13 in 1988. Brian and fellow Centre presenter Pat Kenny phoned in the request – one station listening to another!

Aircheck: Radio Leinster closedown

Aircheck: Radio Leinster closedown
Radio Leinster logo courtesy of DX Archive

Radio Leinster closed unexpectedly just after 1pm on the 19th of May 1983, following the raid on Sunshine Radio that morning and on Radio Nova the previous day. Although almost all stations in Dublin switched off their transmitters on the 19th as fears about raids spread, most were back on air within days but Radio Leinster was never to return. Anna Craig (Chisnall) read the lunchtime news at 1pm and said there would be another bulletin at 3pm but within minutes the closure of the station was announced suddenly by managing director Justin James. The station closed with its signature tune, Seán Ó Riada’s ‘Mise Éire’.  

Radio Leinster was an innovative and unique station which aimed at the RTÉ Radio 1 listenership with a mixture of musical styles, talk programmes and specialist shows. It broadcast on 738 kHz am (406 metres) and 93 FM, the signal benefiting considerably from a high site in Sandyford overlooking Dublin. You can hear a recording of Radio Leinster from the morning of the 19th of May here.

This recording is courtesy of one of the Radio Leinster presenters, Al Dunne who was on air for the closedown. A tribute Radio Leinster was set up by another former presenter David Baker in 2020.

Full recording: Westside Radio (Dublin)

Full recording: Westside Radio (Dublin)
Advertisement for Westside Radio in Irish Radio News (1983), courtesy of Ian Biggar.

Westside Radio broadcast on 290 metres (1035 kHz) and began its life as Double R Radio in Inchicore in the house of the late Seán Day (Murphy). It migrated between various hotels and pubs in the city. In early 1983, Gerard Roe reported in Irish Radio News that Westside had tested on a number of occasions on 290 metres from a site in Mulhuddart in the northwest of the city with a strong signal and good audio quality. They were later reported to have run into legal trouble and were told to vacate the pub in Mulhuddart from where they were broadcasting. This recording was made on the 18th of March 1983, the day of the raid on Radio Nova which led many stations to close down temporarily. Westside returned but not for long because Anoraks UK reported in July that it had closed down ‘due to interference with a computer’. According to Offshore Echoes in October 1983, one theory circulating was that as the station was based on licensed premises, the pub owner didn’t want to jeopardise their forthcoming licence renewal.

Westside merged with ABC Radio to become Radio Annabel, which began testing by September 1983 on 1035 kHz and 98 MHz FM. Some of those involved in Westside set up Blanchardstown Community Radio in a near-derelict building on the main street in the west Dublin suburb. The second undated clip below is also from 290 metres, although the very start is clipped. It is an advertising promo for Westside voiced by Gerry Marsden who took over management of the station in 1983 and would later work in Radio Dublin. There is no link with the long-running shortwave pirate Westside Radio International. Thanks to Ian Biggar and Paul Shepherd for additional information.

This recording is from the Skywaves Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International was a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Aircheck: Royal County Radio (Navan)

Aircheck: Royal County Radio (Navan)
Early flyer for RCR courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

Royal County Radio was set up in Navan, Co. Meath on the 8th of October 1982 and was a rival station to the popular Radio Carousel which broadcast from the town’s shopping centre. RCR was set up by ex-Carousel staff including the legendary Don Allen (RIP) who had worked on Radio Caroline North and Radio North Sea International. The station used the old Southside Radio transmitter from Dublin and moved around the medium wave band, starting on 254 metres (announcing 244 metres as in the flyer) then moving to 301 metres (999 kHz although they were slightly off-channel on 1000 kHz), before settling on 355 metres (846 kHz). An FM transmitter on 96.8 was added later. A report on an Irish tour by Anoraks UK in May 1984 describes RCR as going downhill as many presenters had left to join the new Cavan Community Radio, and the Navan station seems to have closed that summer.

This short recording is from 846 kHz and starts just before the midday news with Lynsey Shelbourne (Dolan). Don Allen’s voice can be heard on promos and presenting. We estimate the date as sometime in the spring of 1983, as Don left RCR to go to ERI in Cork in April. One of the best known voices on rural Irish pirate radio in the 1980s where he presented many country music shows, Don died in 1995.  Thanks to Ian Biggar for his detective work which allowed us to piece together this information.  This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Aircheck: Radio Donnybrook (Dublin)

Aircheck: Radio Donnybrook (Dublin)

Radio Donnybrook was one of three temporary community stations which 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 as well as low power FM. This is a loop recording from 981 kHz on the 10th of June 1984 of David Baker announcing the imminent opening of Radio Donnybrook.

There’s another short recording of Radio Donnybrook here and you can listen to an interview with Dave Reddy about Radio Sandymount here.