Aircheck: Radio Leinster closedown

Radio Leinster logo courtesy of DX Archive

Radio Leinster closed unexpectedly just after 1pm on the 19th of May 1983, following the raid on Sunshine Radio that morning and on Radio Nova the previous day. Although almost all stations in Dublin switched off their transmitters on the 19th as fears about raids spread, most were back on air within days but Radio Leinster was never to return. Anna Craig (Chisnall) read the lunchtime news at 1pm and said there would be another bulletin at 3pm but within minutes the closure of the station was announced suddenly by managing director Justin James. The station closed with its signature tune, Seán Ó Riada’s ‘Mise Éire’.  

Radio Leinster was an innovative and unique station which aimed at the RTÉ Radio 1 listenership with a mixture of musical styles, talk programmes and specialist shows. It broadcast on 738 kHz am (406 metres) and 93 FM, the signal benefiting considerably from a high site in Sandyford overlooking Dublin. You can hear a recording of Radio Leinster from the morning of the 19th of May here.

This recording is courtesy of one of the Radio Leinster presenters, Al Dunne who was on air for the closedown. A tribute Radio Leinster was set up by another former presenter David Baker in 2020.

Full recording: KLAS 98 (Dublin)

KLAS logo from 1986 from Alan MacSimoin collection.

KLAS 98 (later Class) was an easy listening station which broadcast to Dublin from November 1986 until the closedowns of December 1988. It was set up by the founder of the Radio Carousel network, Hugh Hardy, and based first at a garage behind his north Dublin home. News bulletins from KLAS and overnight programming were relayed on occasion from Dublin to the Carousel stations in Navan and Dundalk. After Hardy stepped back in early 1988, KLAS moved to Dame Street in the city centre and was managed by David Baker. It then moved to Harcourt Street where it was taken over by television aerial salesman John J. May.

This recording from 98.5 FM is of Hugh Hardy presenting on the 26th of December 1986 from 1637-1722. News is read by a very young John Walsh. The voice of the late Bob Gallico is heard on an advert. There are no time checks or references to St. Stephen’s Day in the links so this could be one of the automated 8-hour VHS tapes used by KLAS for overnights.

John Walsh has written his memories of KLAS here and we have further recordings in the archive here. This recording is courtesy of DX Archive.

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.

Full recording: KISS FM (Dublin 1)

KISS FM compliments slip, courtesy of Ian Biggar.

There were so many pirates called KISS FM that it’s hard to untangle all their stories. We’ve done our homework on this one but as ever we welcome corrections and additional information. The origins of this KISS FM were in Dublin Community Radio which began in 1979. KISS started testing in May 1985 and eventually settled on 1116 kHz AM and 94.8 and 104.1 FM. The station was owned by two German businessmen based in Cavan and located in the impressive sounding ‘Kiss Broadcasting Centre’ in Dublin 1. Well-known Dublin radio presenter David Baker was the manager but remembers how run-down Foley Street was at the time. Over St. Patrick’s weekend 1986, KISS organised a Disco Dance Marathon in the nearby North Star Hotel in aid of the Irish Association for Autistic Children with the help of the Radio West outside broadcast unit. Later that year the station introduced an easy listening format using former presenters from Radio Leinster. On the 3rd of October 1986, KISS was the first pirate to be raided for years when officials from the Department of Communications arrived in Foley Street complaining about interference. There’s a detailed account of the raid in Peter Mulryan’s book Radio Radio (1988). KISS never recovered and is not listed in an Anoraks Ireland report from November 1986.

We visited KISS in Foley Street in 1986 and remember a studio on a mezzanine level with a window in front of the DJ’s console looking down on an empty factory. This recording is from the 24th of June 1985 (6.35-7.20pm) and includes an announcement that KISS had just returned to 105 FM. There are ads and professional jingles and the music sounds great after all those years!

Thanks to David Baker for help with details and to Ian Biggar for the image. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Full recording: KLAS 98.5 FM

Image courtesy of DX Archive

The Dublin pirates were not all about pop and some stations served niche audiences or specific demographics. One station playing easy listening and classical music was KLAS which broadcast on 98.5 FM from November 1986 until the end of 1988. The station was established by Radio Carousel boss Hugh Hardy from his home in the suburb of Sutton but after a change in management it changed its name slightly to Class Radio and moved to the city centre.

This recording is from early 1987 (we don’t have an exact date) and features David Baker on air. There are also agency ads and jingles. Thanks to David for the recording.

You can hear an interview with David Baker about his involvement in KLAS here. Co-founder of this site John Walsh was also involved in KLAS and has recorded his memories here.

Jingles: Radio City

Radio City went on the air in late 1979 and broadcast from Capel Street in Dublin on 1145, 1161 and 1165 kHz. In this jingle package from the early 1980s, the legendary Tony Allan announces 257m. These jingles were donated by David Baker, who begins this interview by describing his time at Radio City.

You can listen to other interviews about Radio City here and here.

Aircheck: Radio Donnybrook

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.

Interview: David Baker (ARD, Radio City, Radio Leinster, Radio Donnybrook, KISS FM, Heartbeat, KLAS)

We are delighted to bring you some recordings from Wireless on Flirt FM. In this interview, John Walsh caught up with David Baker who worked for or managed a long list of pirates in Dublin in the 1980s. John worked with David in KLAS from 1986-1988.

image via Wireless on Flirt FM: The garage at the back of 312 Sutton Park, Dublin 13, the location KLAS first broadcast from.