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.  

Full recording: Q107 (Dublin)

Q107 was one of many small weekend hobby pirates broadcasting in Dublin in the 1980s. In this undated recording it describes itself as a 24-hour weekend station but then refers to test transmissions on Saturday from midnight to midday. It seems the recording was made on a Thursday morning from 3am until the end of broadcasting. There are generic jingles but no links apart from the sign-off which is followed by the famous pirate theme tune ‘Man of Action’ by Les Reed. Q107 may have been based in Ballyfermot in west Dublin and we estimate this recording to be from 1984 as it is the other side of a tape of Radio Zodiac from that year.

The Anoraks Ireland catalogue includes a recording of Q107 from 1988 and the following account: ‘Ray Brennan, boss at Q107 was reported to be a nephew of the famous Doctor Don. We understand Don provided young Ray with the studio gear which was very basic with Realistic turntables and a Phonic 5 channel mixer. Pity young Ray didn’t make much use of the equipment and the transmitter again courtesy of Uncle Don. Q107 spent most of its 6 weeks off the air and when broadcasting programming it was terrible’. We do not know if this was the same Q107 or another station entirely. Thanks to Ian Biggar for research.

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: Radio Zodiac (Dublin)

Radio Zodiac was a short-lived station from the Castleknock area of Dublin. They were first noted by the Anoraks UK Weekly Report in August 1984 (where the name was misheard as ‘Radio Maniac’ due to poor modulation) and used a variety of frequencies around the 1400-1530 kHz area of the medium wave band. They were last noted in January 1985 and seemed to have settled around 1410 kHz by then. Radio Zodiac’s transmission times seemed to be irregular and it falls more into the hobby pirate category than a commercial operation. According to on-air announcements a ‘Zodiac Roadshow’ was in existence.

The owner of Zodiac Ciaran Brannelly told us that they started around June 1984 and were based in a concrete shed in a yard on Dunsink Lane. The AM transmitter operated at about 300 watts and the aerial ran up a tall television mast and across the yard. They converted the shed into a studio and by July they had a full schedule of DJs from 8am to 12 midnight and sometimes 24 hours a day. The music format was open so DJs played whatever music they liked. The average age was 15 to 17 and there were about 25 DJs throughout the week. Zodiac had professional voice drops made in the UK and carried a few local ads to cover rent and ESB costs. The core of listeners was based in Castleknock, Blanchardstown and Finglas but they often got calls from further afield.

In October 1984 the AM transmitter was revamped and a small 50-watt on 105 FM was built. By Christmas 1984 most of the original DJs had lost interest as the studio was in a remote location so new people came on board who were more interested in the radio scene at the time. By March 1985 Zodiac began merging with another station Castle K FM which was based in a house in Castleknock. Radio Zodiac closed around April 1985 and moved to another studio and became BFBS as Castle K had also shut. For obvious reasons it was decided that BFBS would stand for ‘Blanchardstown Frequency Broadcasting Service’ rather than British Forces Broadcasting Service, although the jingles were an edited version of the Cyprus branch of the UK armed forces radio station. BFBS had a good signal because it was relayed to a higher site and was estimated to be on 150 watts on 105.1 FM. By early 1986 BFBS had become Caroline 98 on about 500 watts.

This recording was made on the 29th of August 1984 from 1555-1640. The presenters are Brian Jones followed by Mark Wesley who also does news and there are elaborate home-made jingles based on American singer Roberta Kelly’s single ‘Zodiacs’ (1977). There’s some confusion about the frequency: the cassette label gives 1432 kHz, but 1450 is announced on air along with ‘214 kHz medium wave’ which is in fact metres but that would be equivalent to 1400 kHz. In the pre-digital days the listeners weren’t too bothered about such precision! Thanks to Ian Biggar for extra research. The recording is from the Skywaves Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International was a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin. Radio Zodiac continues online.

Full recording: Metro Radio (Dublin)

This recording of Metro Radio is from the Skywave Tapes Collection.

Metro Radio was a short-lived station based in Dublin in 1983. There’s very little information available about it, but Anoraks UK reported that Metro began broadcasting on the 31st of May 1983 from Clontarf on the northside of Dublin and was seeking advertisers within a few weeks. It was on 1557 kHz (announced as 192 metres), the same frequency as another irregular pirate from this period, Diamond Radio. According to Anoraks UK there was no trace of Metro Radio by the end of 1983 and Diamond returned to 1557 in 1984. It is not known if the two stations were linked.

The recording begins at 6.50pm on the 19th of October 1983. The format is a mixture of pop and soul and the presenter from 7pm is Barry Nevin, aka Maurice Nevin (RIP) who worked in many other stations during the 1980s. 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: Diamond Radio (Dublin)

Diamond Radio flyer courtesy of Ian Biggar.

Diamond Radio broadcast on and off from 1981 to 1985. They began on the 30th of May 1981 and were heard in August by DX Archive on a visit to Dublin. The station was logged on 1580 kHz and thought to be a hobby pirate at the time. Short Wave News from December 1981 states: ‘Diamond Radio, now on 1557-59 with 500 watts. It has two teenage owners, a one bedroom office/studio and a spirit of improvisation’. The January 1982 issue said it was putting out about 170 watts and gave an address of Annadale Drive in the Marino/Whitehall area of Dublin 9. Diamond was listed by Anoraks UK on 1557 kHz in May 1984 but there was no mention of the station in a later list from August that year.

In Contact (World DX Club) in February 1984 Paul Davidson wrote: ‘Diamond Radio, a hobby station last heard summer 1982 are back on 1556 kHz with a very clear second harmonic on 3114 kHz’. The same address was reported and hours of transmission were said to be irregular, circa 1100-2400 daily. Paul did an update for Contact in early 1985 in which he listed Diamond Radio on 1556 kHz from Marino with broadcasting hours from 1600-2300. People involved in the station have confirmed to us that it was an irregular hobby pirate operating from 1981 to 1985. In Anoraks Ireland reports from 1986 and 1987 a Radio Diamond is listed on 106.1 MHz with addresses in Ballyfermot or Crumlin but was a different operator. We thank Ian Biggar and Niall Cassidy for providing information about the station’s history.

This recording is from 1557 kHz and starts at 11.27am on the 3rd of March 1984. Audio is scratchy and over-modulated but it gives a sense of the station. The recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Jingles: Radio Valleri International (Dublin)

Radio Valleri poster courtesy of DX Archive.

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.

Interview: Jimmy St. Ledger (Premier Radio International)

Premier Radio International logo (courtesy of DX Archive)

We bring you an interview with Jimmy St. Ledger (Jimmy Howlett) of Premier Radio International, a long-running shortwave pirate station from Ireland. Premier began broadcasting on medium wave in 1976 and went on shortwave soon after. Jimmy’s first transmitter was used to broadcast Radio Cill Dara from Naas. He was also involved with Radio Dublin before the splits of the late 1970s. The interviewer is Eolann Aitken.

Premier continued on and off over the years and was among a small number to return to the air following the closedowns of 1988. It continues to broadcast today on shortwave as a hobby station. Further information is available on its website.

Full recording: CAU FM

CAU FM was a short-lived station broadcasting on 103.5 and later 104.2 FM from Foxrock in south Dublin from mid-1987 until mid-1988. It had its origins in low-power hobby stations set up by Locky Butler and evolved into Phoenix FM. Phoenix began on 25 watts but grew to a 250 watt transmitter before being ordered to close down by the Department of Communications in 1987. Within an hour of the order being delivered, the TX was moved to a site on Three Rock overlooking Dublin and CAU FM was born.

CAU had a good signal all over Dublin, professional sound and slick jingle package. We’re reliably informed that CAU stands for ‘clutterfree and you’ and certainly the station played a lot of uninterrupted music. This full-length recording from 1988 (unfortunately we don’t have a date) includes jingles, ads and links from Locky Butler’s show and gives a good flavour of the sharp on air sound. There’s also a promo for a holiday giveaway! CAU was sold to the religious station Hope FM in the summer of 1988.

Thanks to Locky Butler for additional background information. You can listen to an aircheck of this recording here.