The Pirate.ie Podcast #3

The Pirate.ie Podcast #3

We’re delighted to announce episode #3 of the Pirate.ie podcast which explores themes covered in our growing archive of Irish pirate radio.

The 1980s can be described as the decade that Ireland changed from black and white to colour and pirate radio was very much part of that social change. While many pushed for liberalisation, conservative forces opposed moves towards opening up Irish society and pirate radio reflected such tensions. Larger commercial stations were dominated by men’s voices while women and minority groups were better represented in specialist and community radio. Community radio itself developed a more inclusive model of participation and access and even large commercial stations practised corporate social responsibility from time to time. Religion also played a key role, with several pirates representing Catholic values which were still powerful in Irish society.

In episode #3, John Walsh and Brian Greene explore the social influence of pirate radio during its heyday.

Full recording: ABC (Dún Laoghaire)

Full recording: ABC (Dún Laoghaire)

ABC Radio broadcast from Dún Laoghaire in south Dublin in 1982 on 96 FM. This recording is from 1557-1727 on the 27th of February 1982 and features Jonathan Stewart followed by Sid Reade. Hugh Farley presents television highlights. There is a laid back, studenty vibe to the station’s music and style and the lack of adverts suggests a hobby operation.

Information about ABC is scarce but we have pieced together some details. The station may have been linked to the earlier Sonic Independent Radio from Shankill. ABC was run by Ian McDonald from his house in Clarinda Park, Dún Laoghaire, referred to as ‘Broadcasting House’ in this recording! There was a medium wave relay for a time, announced as 297 metres. The Dún Laoghaire station had no connection with the other ABC which broadcast from Dublin city centre from 1981-1984, so there were two ABCs on air for a time within a few miles of each other. This ABC later changed its name to South City Radio in May 1982. An Anoraks UK listing from the 1st of November 1982 lists South City Radio from Dún Laoghaire on 98 FM and 999 kHz AM. South City Radio later became KOVE FM. We thank Ian Biggar for his donation of this recording.

Full recording: Capitol Radio (Dublin)

Full recording: Capitol Radio (Dublin)
Advert for Capitol Radio, Hot Press, Christmas 1984 (Alan MacSimoin collection).

As discussed here before Dublin had many pirates calling themselves Capital or Capitol Radio. This recording from 1983 is from the early days of the final incarnation, the Capitol Radio which started the evening service Nitesky 96 in 1986 and ended up specialising in indie and alternative music.

In July 1983, the Anoraks UK Weekly Report announced that ABC Radio had left 1017 kHz, paving the way for Capitol to take over that frequency. DJ Martin Cullinane (aka Bob Conway) announces 1017 kHz (297 metres) and 96.1 FM and makes several references to Capitol being a new station. Capitol didn’t specialise in the hits, experimenting with ‘album music’ before moving into the indie realm, but the choice here is a little confused with three in a row from Wham mixed in with early U2 and other more alternative sounds. The recording was made from 1855-1940 on the 27th of August 1983 and although taken from FM, sound quality is poor in places. You can hear other recordings of Capitol here.

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: Radio Annabel (Dublin)

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.

Full recording: Radio Annabel (Dublin)
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)

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.