West Coast Community Radio (WCCR) broadcast on 1125 kHz (announced as 265 metres) from February or March 1982 until July 1983. It was the first relatively large Galway station since the closure of Independent Radio Galway (IRG) in July 1979. Some of those involved with IRG set up Radio Eyre in 1982 but this failed after six weeks and otherwise the city had only small, local hobby stations between 1979 and 1982. WCCR’s transmitter came originally from WKCR in Newbridge. Co. Kildare. The aerial was originally installed at Cloonacauneen Castle north of Galway and the station later moved to a cold storage unit in the eastern suburb of Roscam. Output power was initially 80-100 watts but the coverage area would be extended due to technical changes. One of those involved with WCCR was Keith Finnegan, who is now CEO of Galway Bay FM.
TheConnacht Sentinel of 1st of June 1982 reported that WCCR was distributing flyers in housing estates in Galway in a big publicity campaign. Spokesman Gerry Delaney claimed they had a range of 50 miles (80 km) with an aim to increase it to 85 miles (135 km). He said that leading shops in the city were advertising on WCCR. The paper reported that the supermarket chain Quinnsworth had taken out advertising because they had a local promotion and found the radio station ‘handy’.
This recording of WCCR is from Saturday 23rd of October 1982 from 1942-2009 and features Seán Murphy on air. There are no adverts and one generic jingle just at the end. Audio quality isn’t great and the transmitter seems to drift off channel a bit, but recordings of WCCR are rare so we are delighted to bring you a flavour of this early Galway station. Many thanks to Ian Biggar of DX Archive for the donation. Listen here to Tom Breen’s memories of WCCR.
Jon Richards has been a familiar voice on Galway radio for 35 years and is currently Programme Director of Galway Bay FM. He cut his teeth in the pirates beginning with WLS Music Radio in 1985 before moving in 1987 to County Sound, first in its home base of Tuam, and subsequently in Galway after it moved into the city in 1988.
In this interview, Jon shares his pirate memories of both stations, including transmitters and studio equipment, programme content and the colourful characters on both sides of the microphone. He recalls many near misses, including falling asleep on air during his first shift and missing a vital lift from Galway to Tuam! Jon remembers fondly his overnight shifts in the pirate days and laments the lack of live nighttime programming on radio today. He also consider the pirate legacy and gives his views on the health of the current radio scene.
We thank Jon Richards warmly for his contribution to this archive. You can listen back here to a feature about Pirate.ie on Galway Bay FM.
On the 12th of June 2020, John Walsh spoke to Keith Finnegan of Galway Bay FM about the recent series about Galway pirates on Pirate.ie. The interview includes a rare jingle from Independent Radio Galway (1978-1979), sung by the choir of University College Galway (now the National University of Ireland, Galway). Keith, now CEO of Galway Bay FM, remembers his own involvement in West Coast Community Radio (WCCR). The interview finishes with a montage of jingles and idents from the Pirate.ie series on Galway.
Many of those at Galway Bay FM cut their teeth in the Galway pirates of the era. Licensed in 1989 as Radio West, one group involved in the successful consortium was the original pirate Radio West from Mullingar. The station changed its name to Galway Bay FM in 1993.
We thank Galway Bay FM for their interest in Pirate.ie and hope that the interview will encourage more people in Galway to come forward to memories and recordings.