Full recording: County Sound (Galway)

Full recording: County Sound (Galway)
County Sound broadcast from upstairs in the building on the right, now an auctioneers (photo by John Walsh).

This recording of County Sound is from 101 FM on the 23rd or 24th of July 1988 and features Ciaran Wilson (Brannelly) on air. Charley Anderson of the Irish reggae group Century Steel Band, who are in town for Galway Race Week, is in studio and livens up proceedings. Century Steel Band’s version of the popular ballad ‘The Fields of Athenry’ is played and there’s a competition for listeners to win a 12-inch by the band.

Evidence of the success of County Sound is provided by the large number of adverts, many voiced by Jon Richards, now of Galway Bay FM, who was the overnight presenter. A temporary offshoot of County Sound, Tuam Festival Radio, is also mentioned. Thanks to Ciaran Brannelly for this donation.

Full recording: County Sound (Galway)

Full recording: County Sound (Galway)
County Sound logo courtesy of DX Archive (with thanks to Shane Martin for the enhancement)

Another recording of County Sound gives a sense of this successful Galway station in the final months of broadcasting. Big Sam presented an evening show from 9pm to midnight and again from 6pm to 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. This recording was made on the 18th of September 1988 from 1818-1906 and includes the ‘Yes/No Game’ which attracts plenty of callers from around the county.

A noticeable aspect of the County Sound recordings is the large number of adverts for businesses in Galway City and County. This tape is no exception, and the first commercial break also includes a promo for a gig by Daniel O’Donnell in Salthill. County Sound closed on the 31st of December 1988 along with most other pirates. We thank Ian Biggar for sharing this recording.

Full recording: County Sound (Galway)

Full recording: County Sound (Galway)
County Sound logo courtesy of DX Archive. With thanks to Shane Martin for the enhancement.

Over the coming days we’ll bring you recordings of the popular Galway station County Sound which broadcast first from Tuam and then Galway City in 1987 and 1988. This recording is from 1607-1707 on the 3rd of April 1988, Easter Sunday, and features Ciaran Wilson (Brannelly) on air. Ciaran interviews Dave West of the Coventry band The Bonediggers who were busking in Galway at the time, as well as the band manager Gerard Joyce who is Irish. The programme contains an interesting discussion of the independent Irish and UK music scene and focuses on the challenges of being a band from the English midlands when so much of the scene is based in London. There are references to the importance of radio play for small bands of the 1980s attempting to break through. The Bonediggers also express their desire to meet the Galway singer Mary Coughlan, who was enjoying national success at the time.

County Sound broadcast on 101 FM to Galway and also had transmitters covering the county on 96.4 and Ballinasloe on 95.8. We thank Ciaran Brannelly for his donation of this recording.

Full recording: County Sound (Galway)
County Sound broadcast from upstairs in this building in 1988 (photo by John Walsh).

Full recording: KFM (Galway)

Full recording: KFM (Galway)
KFM flyer, courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

KFM, also known as Galway County Radio, broadcast from 1986 to 1988 from a village west of Galway before moving into the city itself. It was set up by Shane Martin and John Browne in November 1986 and broadcast initially on 99 FM for 12 and a half hours a day, from 7.30am to 8.00pm. The transmitter site was over 130 metres above sea level in Moycullen, a village 12 kilometres west of Galway, and this gave it a large coverage area. An entry from KFM in the Anoraks UK Weekly Report of February the 1st 1987 claimed that the station was covering an 80-kilometre radius and that it would soon be extended to specialist programming and community information. An AM channel was also promised although this never materialised.

By June 1987, KFM was broadcasting 24 hours a day and claiming to cover both Galway City and Co. Galway, including Connemara. The station told Weekly Report that it was aimed at the 20-50 audience and had a minimum of 15 percent programming in Irish and English, reflecting the fact that part of the Connemara is a Gaeltacht area. KFM also produced a bilingual leaflet, in which it announced its intention to seek a licence.

Full recording: KFM (Galway)
Bilingual KFM flyer, courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

At this stage KFM was on 95, 99 and 99.3 FM and was reported to be listenable as far east as Ballinasloe. There were also reception reports from as far south as Ennis in Co. Clare. In November 1987, KFM moved into Galway City, adding to the competition between the pirates there. Coast 103 were the most successful city station at the time but in early 1988 the Tuam station County Sound would also move into Galway. Like most other stations, KFM closed down on the 31st of December 1988.

This recording of KFM was made from 96 FM on the 24th of September 1988 from 2222-2310 and features Shane Keating on air. There are requests for ‘madly in love’ couples and a mixture of pop music and oldies. Keating was clearly a bit of an anorak: he mentions listening to RTÉ Radio 2 on AM in Birmingham and promises a new programme for DXers, with a special focus on shortwave. We thank Ian Biggar for the donation. This was originally recorded by John Breslin in Co. Clare and being outside the core coverage area, audio quality is fair. Thanks also to Shane Martin for further information.

Full recording: Zoom 103 (Dublin)

Full recording: Zoom 103 (Dublin)
Cassette label from the Skywave Collection (photo by Brian Greene).

Zoom 103 was a short-lived station which came on air on 103.1 FM immediately following the final closure of Radio Nova on the 19th of March 1986. After a receiver was appointed to Nova Media Services, Nova’s FM service was replaced by continuous music just after 3pm on that day while continuing on 738 kHz AM until 6pm. Shortly after 10pm, the music service on 103.1 FM began identifying itself as Zoom 103. Programmes continued as normal the following day, with the usual line-up of Nova presenters but without Chris Cary and an AM service. Zoom broadcast from 144 Upper Leeson Street in the city centre but closed suddenly on Monday the 24th of March, after the Nova receiver reportedly seized the transmitter. A new station calling itself Energy 103 emerged from the ashes of Zoom on the 28th of April and continued until the 11th of March 1988, also from Upper Leeson Street.

Full recording: Zoom 103 (Dublin)
144 Upper Leeson Street, former home of Zoom and Energy 103, is now a hair salon (photo by John Walsh).

This recording is from 1405-1450 on the second day of Zoom, the 20th of March 1986, and features Colm Hayes on air, who refers to Gary Hamill (Seán McCarthy) on news. There are no jingles, imaging or ads. It was made from 103.1 FM and despite the tape label, is in mono.

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