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.
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. We’re reliably informed that CAU stands for ‘clutterfree and you’ and certainly the station played a lot of uninterrupted music! These airchecks from 1988 include jingles, ads and links from Locky Butler’s programme and gives a good flavour of the sharp on air sound.
Radio West was a popular station in Mullingar broadcasting 10 kW of power on 702 kHz throughout the midlands and beyond during the 1980s. It also had a series of low-power FM transmitters and by 1988 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 a relay on 711 kHz covering Co. Galway and the following 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.
The Dublin super-pirate Sunshine Radio published several editions of a magazine to keep in touch with its listeners. A form of multimedia in the pre-internet age, the Sunshine Radio Review included a special edition published after it was raided and closed down temporarily in 1983. Here is a promo for another edition of the Review from 1985 to mark the station’s 5th birthday.
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.
Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB) was one of the leading community broadcasters of the 1980s and put out a strong signal on 657 kHz AM from Bray in Co. Wicklow. In this promo from 1987 which includes the voice of Minister for Communications Jim Mitchell, BLB extols the virtues of community radio in anticipation of the new licences. Although many of those involved in BLB were behind the licensed Horizon Radio in 1989, that station was to merge with another more commercially-focused broadcaster in Wicklow and community radio proper was not licensed until the mid 1990s. You can read more about Horizon Radio on the Wireless Flirt blog.
Radio Dublin was Ireland’s longest running pirate radio station. It broadcast from 1966 until 2003 and was at its peak in the early to mid 1980s on 253m/1188KHz and 6910 kHz shortwave.
Here are a number of station idents and jingles.
There were many Centre Radio stations. This small pirate broadcast in Baldoyle and Bayside in northeast Dublin between 1986 and 1988. It closed on December 31st 1988 at 2359:59. Here is one of the station jingles. You can read more about Centre here.