Pirates ring RTÉ to complain about 1984 jamming

Pirates ring RTÉ to complain about 1984 jamming
An advert for Radio Annabel listing its own advertisers, Sunday World, 6th January 1985. Annabel would be gone within two months (Alan MacSimoin collection).

Spring 1984 was the height of the RTÉ jamming campaign against super-pirates such as Radio Nova and Sunshine Radio in Dublin and South Coast Radio in Cork. On 26th April 1984, Sunshine boss Robbie Dale (Robinson) attempted to ring RTÉ live on air during his mid-morning programme. RTÉ were jamming Sunshine on 531 kHz at the time from the Radio 2 site in Beaumont, claiming that they were testing on the frequency. Robbie Dale spoke to the RTÉ press office but failed to get through to Assistant Director-General Bobby Gahan.

Pirates ring RTÉ to complain about 1984 jammingA few days later on Dublin Community Radio, David Baker was more successful. During a special programme about the radio scene, he managed to speak to Bobby Gahan live on air and ask him about the jamming. According to Peter Mulryan’s book Radio Radio, the Minister for Communications Jim Mitchell requested RTÉ in April 1984 to stop jamming as control of the airwaves was a matter for government and not for the state broadcaster. Such was the audience for pirate radio, it appeared that the government feared the political implications if popular stations couldn’t be heard.

These recordings were broadcast by Gerard Roe on the FRC programme on Radio Annabel on 17th June 1984. Our recording was made from 1035 kHz AM. The photo is of Bobby Gahan in 2015 when he was Lord Mayor of Stepaside in Dublin and is by the Evening Herald.

Full recording: Radio Annabel (Dublin)

Full recording: Radio Annabel (Dublin)
Radio Annabel cassette from the Skywaves Collection.

Radio Annabel began testing in September 1983 following a merger of two smaller stations Westside Radio and ABC. They were logged in October by the Anoraks UK Weekly Report on 1035 kHz and then 981 but eventually settled on 1323. Annabel continued to broadcast from the Ivy Rooms Hotel (now the Gate Hotel) on Parnell Street in the north inner-city where ABC had been based. It was popular with anoraks because of the weekly Free Radio Show presented by Gerard Roe.

Full recording: Radio Annabel (Dublin)
This image is of part of a letter sent by Gerard Roe in 1985 to Brian and Dónal Greene, after they loaned him a tape to use on the FRC programme.

This is a recording of Radio Annabel testing on 98 FM on the 7th of September 1983. Continuous music is heard, sometimes with the track repeated, and then station jingles are played but there are no links. Annabel closed in March 1985 and in the Anoraks UK Weekly Report of the 31st of March, Gerard Roe is quoted as saying that the station had run into financial problems and had been asked to leave the hotel. Anoraks UK commented: ‘This is very sad, the station was never a super-pirate by any means but was always one of the ones that was always there. The FRCI programme will be sadly missed, but I feel sure that another station will be only too pleased to host such a popular and professionally put together show’. Annabel made some more brief appearances on AM and FM in April 1985 but in June of that year Weekly Report announced that Gerard Roe was still looking for a new home for his programme.

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: KFM (Dublin)

Full recording: KFM (Dublin)

KFM was a part-time hobby station broadcasting from Sandyford in south Dublin in 1986. It was run by well-known anorak Gerard Roe who had previously hosted a popular Free Radio Show on Radio Annabel. This recording is from the 13th of April 1986 from 1420-1505 and features Gerard Roe on air. There is an advert for Anoraks UK and KFM jingles. Frequencies announced are 106 FM and a test transmission on shortwave on 6240 kHz in the 48 metre band.

This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.  

Aircheck: Radio Annabel FRC

Aircheck: Radio Annabel FRC
This image is of part of a letter sent by Gerard Roe in 1985 to Brian and Dónal Greene, after they loaned him a tape to use on the FRC programme.

This is a great recording of the popular Free Radio Campaign programme hosted by Gerard Roe on Dublin station Radio Annabel in the early 1980s. The first part is from May 20th 1984 and was recorded from 1035 kHz AM. It includes an interview with Kenny Everett from a BBC documentary about the offshore pirates, information about the new offshore station Laser 558, news about Radio Caroline, Gay Byrne celebrating 50 years of Radio Luxembourg and the 6th anniversary of Radio Carousel. The second part, probably from a week or two later, features Big D Radio and London pirate Thameside Radio. We’ve done our best with the sound but the AM signal was a bit over-modulated.

There’s another recording of the Radio Annabel FRC here.

David Baker discusses the pirate scene on Radio Annabel

David Baker discusses the pirate scene on Radio Annabel

Several temporary community stations came on air in the 1980s 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.