Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 5)

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 5)
Just some of the hundreds of cassettes in the Leon Tipler Collection (photo by Brian Greene)

Part 3 of Leon Tipler’s documentary ‘The Irish Pirates’ is entitled ‘Hello Again’, and features a return visit to Ireland in September 1983. In this episode, Volume 5 of the 8-part series, Tipler begins with a bandscan of Irish AM and FM from Aberystwyth on the west-Wales coast in August 1983. Returning to Dublin a month later, he comments on the improved sound of Treble TR before boarding a train to Kilkenny and Waterford. Kilkenny Community Radio and Suirside Radio are featured in depth and as usual there are several interesting bandscans.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Index to Volume 5

00:00 Irish bandscan from Aberystwyth August 1983
00:30 1983 raids
01:23 ERI
02:00 Radio West
04:10 South Coast Radio
06:00 FM DXing from Aberystwyth
07:00 Arklow Community Radio
08:31 Radio West
09:05 Kilkenny Community Radio
11:00 September 1983 visit
12:00 Treble TR
15:50 Radio Carlow
16:30 Visit to Kilkenny
17:15 Kilkenny Community Radio
27:45 Visit to KCR – community radio ethos
41:00 Visit to Waterford
42:05 WLR
42:50 Suirside Radio
43:25 ABC Tramore
46:00 Suirside Radio
48:30 Visit to Suirside Radio

Full recording: Crystal City Sound (Waterford)

Full recording: Crystal City Sound (Waterford)
Image courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

Crystal City Sound was one of the 1980s pirates broadcasting from Waterford city. It came on air in October 1985, emerging from the ashes of Suirside Radio which had been on air since February 1979. Crystal City stayed on the same frequency as before, 1332 kHz. The station is listed on AM and FM in Anoraks Ireland reports from 1986 and 1987 but by April 1988 the name had changed to NCR. Crystal City saw itself as offering a broader range of programmes and more specialist music shows than the other major Waterford stations, WLR and ABC. Unusually for the commercial Irish pirates of the time the station was managed by two women, Gracie Sheehan and Sandra Penkert.

Full recording: Crystal City Sound (Waterford)
Image courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

This recording was made from 97 FM on the 6th of December 1985 from 7.07pm. The presenter is Joe Patricks who told us that he got touch in touch with Crystal City Sound after being invited to a wedding in Waterford. He then came to Ireland on the boat from Liverpool and did a few shows in Waterford before returning to the pirate station KFM in Stockport in Manchester. See also DX Archive for more audio and here for an interview about the background to Suirside Radio. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Interview: Paul Kelly (Radio Clare, Radio Munster, Hits 954)

Interview: Paul Kelly (Radio Clare, Radio Munster, Hits 954)
The corner of Parnell Street and Shannon Street in Limerick. One of the bigger Limerick pirates of the 1980s, City Centre Radio (CCR), was located in the yellow building.

In this interview, Paul Kelly remembers working as a presenter on pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick in 1987 and 1988. He began at Radio Clare in Ennis in 1987 and recalls the very basic studio and transmitter set-up before better equipment was installed with the assistance of Big L in Limerick. Paul then moved on to Limerick city stations Radio Munster and the more formatted Hits 954. He also discusses the bandscans that he did in Limerick in the final weeks and days of the pirates in December 1988. The interviewer is Mary Ryan.

Aircheck: Pirates co-operate in charity marathon

Aircheck: Pirates co-operate in charity marathon
Image courtesy of DX Archive

In 1986, three large pirate stations – Sunshine Radio in Dublin, ERI in Cork and ABC in Waterford – co-operated to jointly organise a 250-mile maxi-marathon between the three cities.

Here are two promos – the first from ERI and the second from ABC – voiced by Mark Byrne of Sunshine Radio. They are fascinating on so many levels: co-operation between pirate stations, a campaign backed by big commercial sponsors and funds raised going to a major charity, the Central Remedial Clinic.

This is a good example of how the archive can give us a more global view of what was happening in the 1980s. Listeners to each station did not know that all three stations were involved but the archive can tell us that. The level of co-operation surpasses what exists today between stations in the same large radio groups.

It also reminds us that despite often fierce local competition, stations from different parts of the country were willing to co-operate for charitable causes. No doubt they also had an eye to the impeding legalisation and wanted to position themselves as socially responsible.

Full recording: ABC Radio (Waterford)

ABC Radio broadcast from 1982 to 1988 from Tramore near Waterford and was one of the southeast’s most popular pirates. It began broadcasting on 729 kHz and later moved to 1026 kHz, using a 1 kW transmitter. This recording was made from 1715-1749 on 26 March 1986 and recorded from AM. The presenter is Tony Morrell and the segment includes news, ad breaks and weather.

Full recording: ABC Radio (Waterford)
Image courtesy of DX Archive

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