Airchecks: Radio West

Image courtesy of DX Archive

Radio West was a popular station which began broadcasting from Mullingar in Co. Westmeath in 1982. On low power initially on 1071 kHz, it bought Radio Nova’s original 10 kW transmitter and moved to 765 and then 702 kHz where it remained until the end of 1988.

By 1988, it also had a series of low-power FM transmitters and 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 an AM relay on 711 kHz covering Co. Galway and this 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.

Here is the introduction to the 6pm news from 30.08.88 including the end of an ad for Dunnes Stores, the top of the hour ident voiced by Derek Flood and the start of the news with Kevin Palmer.

The end of the 6pm news of the same date including part of the mart report for Tullamore. Radio West took its rural audience seriously and had regular mart reports for farmers.

More airchecks from 1988 including ads and jingles.

A jingle and news sting from 1987. 96.3 FM was just one of many FM frequencies used by Radio West.

A Tony Allan ident emphasising the ‘national’ coverage.

In this fascinating interview with engineer Gerry O’Reilly, the Radio West 10 kW transmitter is discussed.

Jingles – Capitol Radio/Nitesky 96

There were several stations calling themselves Capital or Capitol Radio at various times during the pirate era but one favourite of ours was Capitol Radio/Nitesky 96 which evolved from playing album tracks to indie and alternative music. Nitesky 96 was launched as a ‘sister station’ to Capitol in April 1986 and initially featured specialist programmes before settling into its own style of niche music drawing on the lively Dublin band scene. Its ‘Alternative Night’ at McGonagle’s nightclub in South Anne Street was highly popular towards the end of the station’s existence in 1988.

Image courtesy of DX Archive

Capitol broadcast on 1017 kHz until early 1986 before selling its AM TX to the new Liberties Local Community Radio which took up position on 1035 kHz. For the remainder of its existence Capitol/Nitesky broadcast on 94.1 and 95.8 FM. Capitol’s jingle package was from the station of the same name in South Africa. Here’s a selection of those jingles along with some idents featuring Tony Allan and a Bill Mitchell ident for Nitesky.

Here is Capitol’s news sting. Like many others, Capitol downgraded its news service in later years and read a weather forecast at the top of the hour, using this sting. Other stations using this sting also included CBC in Clonmel and City Centre Radio in Limerick.

You can listen to an aircheck of Capitol here.

Interview: Paul Downes – Radio City

On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era. In this interview, Walter Hegarty talks to Paul Downes about his time as DJ at Radio City on Capel Street. Radio City went on the air in late 1979 and broadcast on 1145, 1161 and 1165 kHz.

Interview: Tom O’Brien – Radio City

On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era. In this interview, Tom O’Brien talks about his time on AM Dublin pirate Radio City. Radio City went on the air in late 1979 and broadcast on 1145, 1161 and 1165 kHz.

Interview: Eamonn O’Connor

On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era.

Eammon O’Connor is a radio enthusiast and ham radio operator from Raheny in Dublin 5. He is very well known to the AM pirate operators of the 1970s from his correspondence with stations. Eamonn spoke to Dónal Greene about his radio memories.

Interview: Derek Jones (Radio Valleri)

One of Ireland’s longest serving DJs and radio operators, Derek Jones sat down to tell his radio story, from AM Raidió Bhaile Átha Cliath (Radio Dublin) in the 1960s, to his long running SW station Radio Valleri, to Christmas FM and Retro FM. Derek also discusses his favourite radio memories including his nine years on Radio Caroline Dublin in Sutton.

image via dxarchive.com

Jingles: Radio Dublin

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.

Two iconic 253 jingles from the late 70s.
A top of the hour jingle from 1988. The FM transmitter had moved to 105 but the station was still announcing 98.8 also!
Radio Dublin relayed other stations frequently during its long existence including World Music Radio. This recording is from 1987. After midnight on 01.01.89 when it defied the new law, it relied on WMR tapes for the first few days before resuming live programming.

You can hear a recording from Radio Dublin’s popular Dusty’s Trail programme here and an interview with former station manager Joe Rossa (aka Joe Doyle) here.