Full recording: South Coast Radio (Cork)

Full recording: South Coast Radio (Cork)
South Coast Radio sticker, courtesy of DX Archive

This is a recording from the original South Coast Radio (1982-1984), one of the most popular Cork pirates of the early 1980s, broadcasting on 1557 kHz (announced as 194 metres) and 104 FM. It runs from 1450-1600 on the 30th of October 1983, a Sunday, and features an outside broadcast from Dan Lowrey’s pub as part of the Cork Jazz Festival. In studio is former Radio Caroline DJ Johnny Lewis and another offshore veteran Keith York (RIP) is on the link side from the pub along with Peter O’Neill. News is read by Andrew Hewkin but is delayed due to the OB. Audio quality from the pub is poor in places but the fact that it took place at all was evidence of South Coast’s desire to push the boundaries of radio at the time. Lewis and York joke about the pub closing for ‘holy hour’ on Sunday afternoon and chat to the musicians. Barrie and Ruth Johnson of Anoraks UK happen to be visiting the station and get a brief mention on air.

There’s also an announcement advising listeners that any interference to transmission is not South Coast’s fault but due to jamming from the RTÉ transmitter site at Spur Hill. 1983 was a turbulent year for the pirates between raids by the authorities and jamming by RTÉ. South Coast shut down voluntarily following the raids on Sunshine Radio and Radio Nova on the 18th and 19th of May 1983 but returned soon afterwards on the 23rd of May.

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

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 7)

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 7)
Part of ‘The Irish Pirates’ from the Leon Tipler Collection (photo by Brian Greene).

Continuing with Part 3 of Leon Tipler’s documentary ‘The Irish Pirates’, we hear more from the Cork radio scene in 1983 and also learn about the Limerick pirates. The hour begins with a visit to the 10 kW South Coast Radio AM transmitter site in Cork in the company of John Lewis. That is followed by a visit to ERI and an interview with veteran broadcaster Don Allen. There is also a rare insight into the earliest days of the Cork pirates in an interview with Con McParland. Tipler then continues to Limerick where he calls into two local stations, Big L and Raidió Luimní. The episode concludes with interviews with Mike Richardson of Big L and the popular John ‘the Man’ Frawley of Raidió Luimní.

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 7)
Big L logo, courtesy of DX Archive.

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

Index to Volume 7

00:00 Visit to South Coast Radio TX site
09:11 Visit to ERI studios
16:30 Interview with Don Allen
25:00 ERI heard in UK
26:10 John Lewis on South Coast Radio
27:45 Interview with Con McParland of Radio Sundown
30:00 Visit to Limerick
30:50 Raidió Luimní
33:00 Big L
35:00 Visit to Big L
36:50 Interview with Mike Richardson
44:05 John ‘the Man’ Frawley on Raidió Luimní
46:06 Visit to Raidió Luimní
49:00 Interview with John ‘the Man’ Frawley

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: ERI (Cork)

Full recording: ERI (Cork)
ERI sticker courtesy of DX Archive.

Here’s a recording from one of the main Cork stations ERI from 0905-1035 on the 19th of May 1983, the day of the raid on Sunshine Radio in Dublin. Along with South Coast Radio, ERI was one of many stations across the country to close temporarily later that day as fears spread of a widespread clampdown on the pirates. Station manager Paul Graham begins his show by wondering if he will make it midday and later extends commiserations to ‘friends in Portmarnock’, a reference to the closure of Sunshine. There is no mention of the raid on the 0930 headlines read by Lynsey Shelbourne (Dolan) or the 1000 bulletin read by Don Allen but it wasn’t long before plans were being made to close ERI as a precaution.

The recording was made from 1305 kHz, announced as 225 metres. Many thanks to Ian Biggar of DX Archive for sharing this with us.

Paul Graham remembers 19th May 1983:

‘I arrived at the studios at Whites Cross around 0815 and briefed the news team on any stories that I needed to be updated on. By 0840 I was digging through the oldies library to find a few choice tunes for the show. The current and recent hits were in boxes in the studio on a rotation system, along with the current albums. Then into the studio and a quick chat with Hugh Browne our breakfast DJ while Don Allen read the 0900 news, after which I started my programme.

Around the half way through my shift the raid took place in Dublin and shortly after I got a phone call from South Coast Radio, our rivals across town. I was told that raids on both our stations were imminent! I pondered what to do being the station manager, so after a short while I decided to close the station down temporarily and remove the studio gear. We had  just completed rebuilding studio 1 with some top of the range equipment and I didn’t want the P&T to take this away. As it happened, there was no raids in Cork! CCLR carried on if I remember correctly and possibly Radio Caroline Cork, but ERI and South Coast Radio were temporarily silent.

I have often wondered to this day if that was a genuine call from South Coast, but the outcome was that the owners of ERI were not pleased with my actions and by June 1st I had left the station. I felt uncomfortable staying there with, as I thought, the owners having lost confidence in me. I found out in recent years via Facebook from MD Joe O’ Connor, that it was not the case and had I sat down  with Joe and his mother Kathleen things would have been resolved and more than likely I would have stayed. The studios were hastily re-built by senior engineer Robin Adcroft and we were up and running once more. I carried on with the 0900-1200 show until I left the station a couple of weeks later’.