This recording of County Sound is from 101 FM on the 23rd or 24th of July 1988 and features Ciaran Wilson (Brannelly) on air. Charley Anderson of the Irish reggae group Century Steel Band, who are in town for Galway Race Week, is in studio and livens up proceedings. Century Steel Band’s version of the popular ballad ‘The Fields of Athenry’ is played and there’s a competition for listeners to win a 12-inch by the band.
Evidence of the success of County Sound is provided by the large number of adverts, many voiced by Jon Richards, now of Galway Bay FM, who was the overnight presenter. A temporary offshoot of County Sound, Tuam Festival Radio, is also mentioned. Thanks to Ciaran Brannelly for this donation.
Another recording of County Sound gives a sense of this successful Galway station in the final months of broadcasting. Big Sam presented an evening show from 9pm to midnight and again from 6pm to 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. This recording was made on the 18th of September 1988 from 1818-1906 and includes the ‘Yes/No Game’ which attracts plenty of callers from around the county.
A noticeable aspect of the County Sound recordings is the large number of adverts for businesses in Galway City and County. This tape is no exception, and the first commercial break also includes a promo for a gig by Daniel O’Donnell in Salthill. County Sound closed on the 31st of December 1988 along with most other pirates. We thank Ian Biggar for sharing this recording.
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.