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

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 5)

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 5)
Just some of the hundreds of cassettes in the Leon Tipler Collection (photo by Brian Greene)

Part 3 of Leon Tipler’s documentary ‘The Irish Pirates’ is entitled ‘Hello Again’, and features a return visit to Ireland in September 1983. In this episode, Volume 5 of the 8-part series, Tipler begins with a bandscan of Irish AM and FM from Aberystwyth on the west-Wales coast in August 1983. Returning to Dublin a month later, he comments on the improved sound of Treble TR before boarding a train to Kilkenny and Waterford. Kilkenny Community Radio and Suirside Radio are featured in depth and as usual there are several interesting bandscans.

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

Index to Volume 5

00:00 Irish bandscan from Aberystwyth August 1983
00:30 1983 raids
01:23 ERI
02:00 Radio West
04:10 South Coast Radio
06:00 FM DXing from Aberystwyth
07:00 Arklow Community Radio
08:31 Radio West
09:05 Kilkenny Community Radio
11:00 September 1983 visit
12:00 Treble TR
15:50 Radio Carlow
16:30 Visit to Kilkenny
17:15 Kilkenny Community Radio
27:45 Visit to KCR – community radio ethos
41:00 Visit to Waterford
42:05 WLR
42:50 Suirside Radio
43:25 ABC Tramore
46:00 Suirside Radio
48:30 Visit to Suirside Radio

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’.

Aircheck: Royal County Radio (Navan)

Aircheck: Royal County Radio (Navan)
Early flyer for RCR courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

Royal County Radio was set up in Navan, Co. Meath on the 8th of October 1982 and was a rival station to the popular Radio Carousel which broadcast from the town’s shopping centre. RCR was set up by ex-Carousel staff including the legendary Don Allen (RIP) who had worked on Radio Caroline North and Radio North Sea International. The station used the old Southside Radio transmitter from Dublin and moved around the medium wave band, starting on 254 metres (announcing 244 metres as in the flyer) then moving to 301 metres (999 kHz although they were slightly off-channel on 1000 kHz), before settling on 355 metres (846 kHz). An FM transmitter on 96.8 was added later. A report on an Irish tour by Anoraks UK in May 1984 describes RCR as going downhill as many presenters had left to join the new Cavan Community Radio, and the Navan station seems to have closed that summer.

This short recording is from 846 kHz and starts just before the midday news with Lynsey Shelbourne (Dolan). Don Allen’s voice can be heard on promos and presenting. We estimate the date as sometime in the spring of 1983, as Don left RCR to go to ERI in Cork in April. One of the best known voices on rural Irish pirate radio in the 1980s where he presented many country music shows, Don died in 1995.  Thanks to Ian Biggar for his detective work which allowed us to piece together this information.  This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.