Radio Nova was renowned for many things including its powerful signal, slick formatting and innovative content. Another aspect which drew attention to the station and boosted its audience were the regular cash prizes which were occasionally very generous. On 30th August 1983, Nova gave away £6,000 in cash, a fortune in the cash-strapped times, to Dolores Carney from Trim in Co. Meath. This recording was made from 1857-1930 that evening and features part of the ‘Dublin Today’ talk programme which of course gives prominence to the giveaway, replaying the moment when Dolores heard that she had won and her subsequent interview with Declan Meehan.
The presenter is Sybil Fennell, one of the best known newsreaders on Nova and interestingly, the recording gives an example of how Nova sometimes split its service between AM and FM in order to maximise its audience. On this occasion, ‘Dublin Today’ was broadcast on 828 kHz AM only, while 88 FM carried a rock music show. It’s hard to believe that this was just five months after Nova was raided and shut down by the authorities but by August 1983, Ireland’s biggest pirate station was back with a vengeance.
This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.
This is the well-known recording of Radio Nova on the morning of the infamous raid on the 18th of May 1983. Gardaí and officials from the Department of Posts and Telegraphs arrived at about 9.30am and requested that both Nova and KISS FM cease transmission at once. Keys were sought for the transmission site and just over an hour later, the plug was pulled. Nova returned at about 4.15am the following morning but on lower power and at lunchtime the station announced that it would close officially at 6.00pm that evening.
This recording from 819 kHz AM begins on May 18th during the 10am news with Bob Gallico. After the news, DJ Declan Meehan asks station owner Chris Cary to come to the studios in Herbert Street immediately. During the following 30 minutes, Declan makes several references to the fact that Nova may go off the air and back to back jingles are played during records. Bob Gallico joins Declan throughout the hour for live versions of their inimitable two-handers, responding to unfolding events. At the same time another DJ Tom Hardy was bringing the P&T officials to the transmitter site in Rathfarnham in order to put Nova off the air. During out interviews with former Nova staff, many recalled their memories of the 1983 raids including Tom Hardy and Dennis Murray. Declan Meehan recalls his Nova days here.
This recording is courtesy of DX Archive where more information about and recordings of the 1983 raids can be found.
Radio Valleri was one of the long-running Irish shortwave pirates of the 1970s and 1980s. Founded by Mike Anderson and Derek Jones, it began testing in 1972 on 1525 kHz medium wave before moving to short wave. The station became a regular operator on Sunday mornings, one of many such pirates from Ireland in the 49 metre band. There’s a detailed history on the DX Archive pages. One of those involved at the beginning was Arno St Jude (Declan Meehan).
This recording from 1985 is of station jingles, voiced by Brian and Dónal Greene. The frequency announced is 6870 kHz.
On October 2nd 2018, it was announced that a large collection of press clippings and other documents and material from the pirate era would be donated to Dublin City University’s Media History Collection. The donation was announced at a press conference in Dublin, organised by broadcast historian Eddie Bohan and Brian Greene of this website. The press conference featured some well-known radio and media people who cut their teeth in pirate radio: Stuart Clarke of Hot Press, Declan Meehan of East Coast FM and Kevin Branigan of Radio Nova. This recording also includes Dr Mark O’Brien of DCU and Eddie Bohan. It was first broadcast on Wireless on Flirt FM.