Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 6)

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 6)
Episodes from the Leon Tipler documentary ‘The Irish Pirates’, from his collection (photo by Brian Greene)

Continuing Part 3 of Leon Tipler’s acclaimed documentary ‘The Irish Pirates’, episode 6 looks at the pirate scene in Waterford and Cork in 1983. The hour begins with more from Suirside Radio in Waterford and an interesting discussion about the nature of community radio at the time. Tipler then moves on to Waterford Local Radio (WLR) before continuing his visit to Cork where he visits ERI, Cork City Local Radio (CCLR) and South Coast Radio. We get an insight into the rivalry between local press and the pirates and between the larger stations ERI and South Coast.

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 6)
ERI car sticker, courtesy of DX Archive.

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

Index to Volume 6

00:00 Visit to Suirside Radio (cont. from Vol. 5)
07:30 Visit to WLR
07:30 WLR news and Dermot Graham show
23:00 Visit to Cork
23:15 Community Radio Youghal
24:55 CCLR
25:35 Don Allen on ERI
27:30 South Coast Radio
28:40 CCLR
28:55 ERI
29:05 South Coast Radio
31:00 Visit to CCLR
41:15 Rivalry between local press and pirates
47:10 Don Stevens on South Coast Radio
50:00 Visit to South Coast Radio
53:00 Interview with John Lewis
56:00 South Coast Radio £1,000 giveaway

Interview: Noel Cronin (Community Radio Youghal)

Interview: Noel Cronin (Community Radio Youghal)
The farmhouse near Youghal where the pirate CRY was based (courtesy Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

Community Radio Youghal celebrated the 40th anniversary of its start as a pirate on the 4th of July 2019. The station, one of the pioneers in community radio, began its life in a loft at the farmhouse of Eileen Connolly outside the town, before moving into the centre of Youghal. In this interview one of CRY’s founders, Noel Cronin, tells John Walsh about the station’s origins, its early community programming and outside broadcasts, the transmission set-up on AM and FM and the emotional final broadcast on the 31st of December 1988. Community Radio Youghal returned as a licensed station and continues to broadcast today on 104 FM to Youghal and surrounding areas in east Cork/west Waterford.

Interview: Noel Cronin (Community Radio Youghal)
CRY’s studio during in the farmhouse loft (courtesy Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

You can listen to a documentary about the history of CRY here. This interview with Noel Cronin was first broadcast on Wireless on Flirt FM. Photos are courtesy of Ian Biggar of DX Archive where more information can be found about CRY.

Full recording: Wonderland Radio (Dublin)

Full recording: Wonderland Radio (Dublin)
Flyer for Wonderland Radio courtesy of Ian Biggar, DX Archive.

Wonderland Radio was a community station broadcasting to the suburb of Tallaght in southwest Dublin from 1984 to 1988. According to local newspaper The Tallaght Echo, it was launched on the 12th of May 1984. One of those involved in setting up the station was the late Fr. Joe Cullen, a Dominican priest from Tallaght and Wonderland is yet another example of a community pirate established after the departure of RTÉ’s local radio experiment from the area. The address for most of Wonderland’s existence was a cottage at 3 Greenhills Road but it famously broadcast from the back of an ambulance at one stage. Wonderland was first noted by Anoraks UK on their Ireland tour in October 1984 and is logged a few times on 1359 kHz/220 metres over the following year although the signal on the west coast of England suffered from splatter from Manx Radio on 1368 kHz.

Wonderland’s promotional material used the strapline ‘Tallaght Community Broadcasting’ and changed its name to Tallaght Community Radio in the summer of 1986. The station continued until the end of 1988 on both AM and FM (91.8 MHz) and as the advert below illustrates, shared the ethos of other community broadcasters such as BLB and NDCR. ‘TCR’ was not supposed to be used on air because the full title emphasised the station’s community credentials. Wonderland and Tallaght Community Radio were also popular with radio anoraks because of the Friday night Free Radio Show hosted by Bernard Evans from late 1986. Many of those involved in the station went on to set up the licensed Tallaght FM which was on air from 1999 to 2008. Thanks to Ralph McGarry and Bernard Evans for assistance with research.

Full recording: Wonderland Radio (Dublin)
Advert for Wonderland Radio in the Sunday World, 8th December 1985. Courtesy Alan MacSimoin collection.

This recording from 1206-1252 on the 11th of December 1985 features the American-sounding presenter John Gummin (possibly an on-air name) with a mixed contemporary and 1960s music style. The recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin. 

Aircheck: Radio Donnybrook (Dublin)

Aircheck: Radio Donnybrook (Dublin)

Radio Donnybrook was one of three temporary community stations which 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 as well as low power FM. This is a loop recording from 981 kHz on the 10th of June 1984 of David Baker announcing the imminent opening of Radio Donnybrook.

There’s another short recording of Radio Donnybrook here and you can listen to an interview with Dave Reddy about Radio Sandymount here.

Jingles: Dublin Community Radio

Jingles: Dublin Community Radio

Dublin Community Radio (DCR) was set up as Downtown Community Radio by long-time radio enthusiast Joe King in 1979 in the YMCA hall in Ringsend, Dublin 4. It moved to a shed at the back of his house in Lower Grand Canal Street where it was renamed Dublin Community Radio and later switched to a larger premises in Gardner Street in the city centre. Radiowaves.fm reports that it was the first true community radio station in Dublin. DCR dealt with issues in various communities, recorded programmes around the city and did live broadcasts from community events. According to Joe King, the station had specialist shows including one presented by the Dublin historian Éamonn Mac Thomáis. Some of the early voices included Bernie Jameson and her brother (DJ name Graham Talbot), Paul Caffrey, Paul Doyle (RIP) and Niall McGowan. DCR broadcast on 963 kHz, announcing as 312 metres.

Joe King’s DCR closed in 1982 but a second, unconnected Dublin Community Radio began broadcasting in 1984 and became KISS FM in 1985. Both these stations’ idents feature the voice of Tony Allan. The announcement of 105 FM at the end of the recording is from the second DCR. Tony’s voice was everywhere during these years and the fact that he spans the two separate DCRs is as confusing as it is interesting. This 1982 recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.