Full recording: KLAS 98 (Dublin)

KLAS logo from 1986 from Alan MacSimoin collection.

KLAS 98 (later Class) was an easy listening station which broadcast to Dublin from November 1986 until the closedowns of December 1988. It was set up by the founder of the Radio Carousel network, Hugh Hardy, and based first at a garage behind his north Dublin home. News bulletins from KLAS and overnight programming were relayed on occasion from Dublin to the Carousel stations in Navan and Dundalk. After Hardy stepped back in early 1988, KLAS moved to Dame Street in the city centre and was managed by David Baker. It then moved to Harcourt Street where it was taken over by television aerial salesman John J. May.

This recording from 98.5 FM is of Hugh Hardy presenting on the 26th of December 1986 from 1637-1722. News is read by a very young John Walsh. The voice of the late Bob Gallico is heard on an advert. There are no time checks or references to St. Stephen’s Day in the links so this could be one of the automated 8-hour VHS tapes used by KLAS for overnights.

John Walsh has written his memories of KLAS here and we have further recordings in the archive here. This recording is courtesy of DX Archive.

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.

Aircheck: Radio Carousel (Navan)

Image courtesy of Ian Biggar

This is an aircheck of a full day’s broadcasting on Radio Carousel Navan on the 28th of April 1983. The station was one of four in the Radio Carousel network in Counties Louth and Meath and along the border which by 1982 was claiming to cover 30% of Ireland from Belfast to north Dublin. The recording begins at 8am and includes presenters Kieran Murray (who also does news), Tina Anderson, station boss Hugh Hardy on a relay from Dundalk, Mike Ahern (aka Richard McCullen), Robbie Byrne and Nick Butler. The studio was situated in a glass booth in the middle of Navan shopping centre, showing that the days of pirates hidden in sheds and attics were over.

Carousel began broadcasting from Dundalk on the 19th of May 1978 and gradually expanded throughout the region. A 1982 advertising brochure lists four stations in Dundalk (265 metres), Drogheda (215 metres), Navan (210 metres) and Newry (212 metres). There was also a short-lived station in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan. By April 1988 the Carousel network was being wound up by Hugh Hardy who moved into video production and promotion of live artists. Radio Carousel Navan was the last station on air, closing in June 1988. Hear a panel discussion on the Louth pirates here and the memories of former Carousel broadcaster Ian Biggar here.

Image courtesy of Ian Biggar.

Radio Carousel Navan announced 210 metres but in fact broadcast on 1386 kHz as well as 95.1 FM. 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

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.

Interview: Ian Biggar (part 2: ERI, Zee 103)

John Walsh interviewing Ian Biggar

Here is the second part of our interview with one-time broadcaster and long-time Irish pirate radio enthusiast Ian Biggar, recorded at his home in Harrogate in England.

In this part, Ian remembers his involvement with ERI in Cork and Zee 103 in Omeath, Co. Louth in the 1980s. He also tells us how he recorded thousands of hours of Irish pirates over the past 40 years and gives his views on the radio scene today.

Interview: Ian Biggar (part 1: Boyneside Radio, Radio Carousel)

We met one time broadcaster and long time enthusiast of Irish pirate radio Ian Biggar in Harrogate recently to discuss his love of the medium and his involvement in Irish stations.

John Walsh interviewing Ian Biggar

In the first part of a long interview, Ian talks about how he first got into pirate radio while still a child in Scotland. He then describes how he discovered the Irish scene and went on to work in the Co. Louth stations Boyneside Radio and Radio Carousel.

Doing some MW DXing with the help of a loop

Ian recorded thousands of hours of valuable Irish pirate radio and has contributed significantly to the DX Archive site. We’re very grateful to Ian for his time and hospitality during our visit to Harrogate and for his life-long dedication to preserving Irish pirate radio memories.

Full recording: KLAS 98.5 FM

Image courtesy of DX Archive

The Dublin pirates were not all about pop and some stations served niche audiences or specific demographics. One station playing easy listening and classical music was KLAS which broadcast on 98.5 FM from November 1986 until the end of 1988. The station was established by Radio Carousel boss Hugh Hardy from his home in the suburb of Sutton but after a change in management it changed its name slightly to Class Radio and moved to the city centre.

This recording is from early 1987 (we don’t have an exact date) and features David Baker on air. There are also agency ads and jingles. Thanks to David for the recording.

You can hear an interview with David Baker about his involvement in KLAS here. Co-founder of this site John Walsh was also involved in KLAS and has recorded his memories here.