In this interview, Dave Reddy recalls his involvement in ARD (Alternative Radio Dublin) and Radio 257 at the end of the 1970s. Dave would go to to establish what would today be called ‘pop-up’ community stations, starting with Radio Sandymount in 1984.
Radio Sandymount went on air as part of a community festival in that area and Dave Reddy explains that the model was soon to be requested by community groups elsewhere, leading to similar short-term stations in Ringsend, Donnybrook and Wicklow. Dave was also founder of the first Christmas station Radio Snowflake, which is now run by David Baker who himself broadcast on the 1980s pop-up stations and many other pirates.
The interviewer is Eolann Aitken. You can listen to a recording of Radio Donnybrook here.
Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB) was a pioneer in Irish community radio and spent almost ten years on air from 1979 to 1988. Based in the north Wicklow town, it focused on local speech content and specialist music in contrast with other stations broadcasting pop music. BLB’s innovative approach inspired other stations in Ireland and it also attracted interest in community radio circles abroad. The station broadcast on AM (837 kHz and later 657) and FM and could be heard well beyond Bray in its later years. You can read more about BLB here.
This fascinating panel discussion features three founding members of BLB: Mark Quinn, Michael Gray and Doug Bel-Maguire. The interviewer is Eolann Aitken.
This summer, Community Radio Youghal celebrated 40 years since it began broadcasting as a pirate from the east Cork town. CRY was licensed as a community radio station in 1995 but its history stretches back to 1979 when it began broadcasting as a pirate.
See the DX Archive site for photos and history of CRY’s pirate days. You can listen to the current CRY here.
A special documentary, ‘Born in the USA’, aired by CRY on July 4th 2019 to mark its 40th birthday, was funded by Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
We thank CRY Manager Darragh Parker and Programme Director Justin Maher for granting us permission to share this.
North Dublin Community Radio (NDCR) began broadcasting from Coolock in northeast Dublin in 1983 and was one of the leading community stations of the time, broadcasting on 1008 kHz AM and 100 FM. Many of those involved in NDCR went on to establish NEAR FM, the current licensed community station for northeast Dublin. Here’s a selection of NDCR jingles and promos from 1987 and 1988.
You can hear an interview with NDCR founder Jack Byrne here and with former presenter Declan Ralph here.
Three temporary community stations came on air in 1984 to celebrate local festivals in Dublin. Radio Sandymount, Radio Ringsend and Radio Donnybrook were all set up by Dave Reddy and broadcast on 981, 1116 or 1134 kHz. David Baker, who worked in a variety of Dublin stations in the 1980s, was also involved. In this recording from June or July 1984, David chats with Gerard Roe of Radio Annabel about the Dublin radio scene in 1984. Audio quality is poor as the recording is of a weak AM signal received in north Dublin on 981 kHz but recordings of these community stations are rare.
You can hear separate recordings of Radio Annabel here. There’s an interview with Dave Reddy of Radio Sandymount here and with David Baker here.
North Dublin Community Radio (NDCR) broadcast from c1982 to 1988 from the north Dublin suburb of Coolock and had a strong community broadcasting ethos. It first aired as Concord Community Radio before changing its name to NDCR. It could be heard on 1008 kHz AM and on 100 FM, abandoning medium wave at a later stage in common with many other stations. In this interview with Wireless on Flirt FM (https://wirelessflirt.wordpress.com/) from May 2017, NDCR founder Jack Byrne talks about the early years of the station and the establishment of its licensed successor, NEAR FM.
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.
Community Radio Fingal broadcast from north Co. Dublin from 1982 to 1988 and was an example of one of the many community-focused pirates in Ireland. It began with a 300 watt transmitter in Skerries and later moved to the nearby village of Loughshinney where it operated a 1kW rig on 1575 kHz and also broadcast on FM. In this fascinating interview from 1988, station owner Brian Matthews talks about the history of CRF, its studio and transmitter facilities and provides some amusing anecdotes about presenters and listeners.
Dublin station Radio Annabel featured a popular weekly Free Radio Campaign programme presented by Gerard Roe. This recording from 1985 features an interview with Chris Cary taken from Radio Nova in which he criticises the notion of community radio. It is followed by a reference to a newspaper article about one of the failed attempts to introduce legislation to regulate the radio sector during the 1980s.
CBC Radio started broadcasting in the West Gate, Clonmel in November 1981 and continued until the enforced close down of all pirate stations on New Year’s Eve 1988.
Over 100 volunteers, along with a handful of part-time and full-time staff, contributed on the air, and the station was hugely popular among young and old in Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir and surrounding towns.
Over the past three years, former staff member Jonathan Ryan has been researching the station’s history and listening to many audio tapes recorded during that time, along with interviewing former staff members to bring to life this audio history of life in the West Gate.
With thanks to Jonathan Ryan for an advanced copy of the audio and for a amazing work of journalism in making this radio documentary. First broadcast on South Tipperary General Hospital Radio, December 27th 2018.