Full recording: Radio Annabel (Dublin)

Radio Annabel cassette from the Skywaves Collection.

Radio Annabel began testing in September 1983 following a merger of two smaller stations Westside Radio and ABC. They were logged in October by the Anoraks UK Weekly Report on 1035 kHz and then 981 but eventually settled on 1323. Annabel continued to broadcast from the Ivy Rooms Hotel (now the Gate Hotel) on Parnell Street in the north inner-city where ABC had been based. It was popular with anoraks because of the weekly Free Radio Show presented by Gerard Roe.

This image is of part of a letter sent by Gerard Roe in 1985 to Brian and Dónal Greene, after they loaned him a tape to use on the FRC programme.

This is a recording of Radio Annabel testing on 98 FM on the 7th of September 1983. Continuous music is heard, sometimes with the track repeated, and then station jingles are played but there are no links. Annabel closed in March 1985 and in the Anoraks UK Weekly Report of the 31st of March, Gerard Roe is quoted as saying that the station had run into financial problems and had been asked to leave the hotel. Anoraks UK commented: ‘This is very sad, the station was never a super-pirate by any means but was always one of the ones that was always there. The FRCI programme will be sadly missed, but I feel sure that another station will be only too pleased to host such a popular and professionally put together show’. Annabel made some more brief appearances on AM and FM in April 1985 but in June of that year Weekly Report announced that Gerard Roe was still looking for a new home for his programme.

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

Full recording: ABC Radio (Dublin)

A photo of the studio courtesy of abcradio-dublin.com – location unknown.

ABC Radio was one of the smaller Dublin stations on air from 1981 to 1984. This recording is from the 18th of May 1983 from 1436-1451 and features Gerry Williams on air, who says that all the pirates could be in jeopardy following the raid on Radio Nova that morning. ABC was in fact one of only two stations in Dublin to remain on air following the 19th of May 1983. ABC was based for a while at the Ivy Rooms Hotel (now the Gate Hotel) on Parnell Street in the north inner-city. In 1984 it merged with another small station Westside Radio to become Radio Annabel, which also broadcast from the Ivy Rooms Hotel.

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

A photo of the studio courtesy of abcradio-dublin.com – location unknown.

ABC Radio was one of the smaller Dublin stations in the early 1980s, on air from November 1st 1981 until the end of May 1984. It was an offshoot of Radio Dublin Channel 2 and began broadcasting from the Ivy Rooms Hotel (now the Gate Hotel) on Parnell Street. The frequency was 1386 kHz (announced as 1385 or 217 metres) but there were problems with another pirate on the same frequency. In April 1982, ABC moved to 963 kHz (312 metres) but was again jammed by another pirate operator, causing a further move to 981 kHz although 963 continued to be announced. ABC was one of only two stations to remain on air following the raids on Radio Nova and Sunshine Radio in May 1983 when it began 24-hour broadcasting in response to listener demand. Anoraks UK reported that it was raided itself in June 1983 due to a harmonic signal in the marine band.

There is a tribute site to ABC with more history and some images but lacking in audio. Recordings of the station are not widely available so we’re glad to bring you a selection of station IDs and promos from 1981-3. Sound quality isn’t great, reflecting poor AM transmitters and old cassettes, but the IDs feature the voice of Tony Allan and the aircheck includes Radio Nova’s news bulletin which was being rebroadcast by ABC for a while – a pirate pirating news from another pirate! ABC closed in May 1984 following an unsuccessful move to the disused State Cinema in Phibsboro. The station merged with another small station Westside Radio to become Radio Annabel, which also broadcast from the Ivy Rooms Hotel.

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