Interview: Declan Meehan (part 1: 1970-1982)

Declan Meehan and John Walsh at the studios of East Coast FM in Bray, where Declan has worked since 1994.

We met one of Ireland’s most experienced broadcasters Declan Meehan recently to discuss his significant contribution to Irish pirate radio history and Irish radio in general over the past 50 years.

In the first part of a long interview, Declan discusses the early years of his involvement in the Dublin pirate scene spanning small stations such as Radio Vanessa and Radio Milinda and larger, more professional operations like ARD. He describes his unhappy move to the new RTÉ Radio 2 in 1979 and how he went on to work for the first of the superpirates, Sunshine Radio, where he met Chris Cary.

The interview includes references to many of the best-known names in Irish radio over the past half-century.

Interviews: launch of pirate radio exhibition

In 2018 broadcast historian Eddie Bohan launched his exhibition of Irish pirate radio history. The exhibition is travelling around Ireland during 2018 and 2019 to commemorate the end of the pirate era and the start of licensed radio.

Here’s an interview with Eddie Bohan about the exhibition and the importance of pirate radio history. The exhibition was launched at the South Dublin County Library in Tallaght in May 2018. The interview was first broadcast on Wireless on Flirt FM in April 2018.

Here’s a selection of interviews with some of those who came along to the launch of the exhibition in Tallaght: Jimmy McCabe (Radio Milinda), Dermot Butler (Radio Dublin and KIC FM), Chris Murray (Radio Dublin and now LMFM) and Eric Moore (LLCR and Smile FM and now RTÉ Gold). This report was first broadcast on Wireless on Flirt FM in May 2018.

Advert: The Red Corner Shop

Sometimes the ads ran for so long they became famous. The Red Corner Shop on Dorset Street advertised heavily on the Dublin pirates. This recording is from Radio Dublin in 1987.

Aircheck: Dusty’s Trail on Radio Dublin from 1985

Dusty’s Trail was a popular programme on Radio Dublin presented by Gerry Jones aimed at teenage listeners. Trailers, as they were called, wrote into the programme requesting music and even met up at organised gatherings every weekend at the band stand at Stephens Green (it wouldnt be allowed nowadays with GDPR and all the regulations of safety). In this extract from 1985, a listener sends in a copy of a response she received from Minister of State for Broadcasting Ted Nealon to her letter expressing concern that stations such as Radio Dublin would be shut down. Audio quality was never great on Radio Dublin but is worse on this recording due to a loud heterodyne.

Aircheck: Interview with Radio Dublin on its ‘last day’ of broadcasting from 31.12.88

Centre Radio in Bayside was one of the last stations to close at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Rumours abounded that Radio Dublin was going to defy the new legislation and continue broadcasting so early on the morning of the 31st of December 1988 Bobby Gibbson (Brian Greene) decided to call Radio Dublin live on air. In this recording, he speaks to breakfast presenter Robbie Prior who says that all presenters have been told that this is their final day. However he adds that station owner Eamonn Cooke could well have something up his sleeve. The recording includes poor quality live audio from Radio Dublin’s AM broadcast on 1188 kHz.

Interview: Ken Sheehan speaks about Radio Dublin

Radio Dublin was the longest running pirate station in Ireland, on air in various guises from 1966 until 2003. It was raided on numerous occasions and was one of a handful of stations to defy the deadline of New Year’s Eve 1988. In its earliest incarnation, it broadcast as Raidió Bhaile Átha Cliath every Sunday afternoon from the home of Ken Sheehan. In this interview from 1985, Mike Anderson of shortwave pirate Radio Valleri interviews Ken Sheehan about his involvement in the establishment of Radio Dublin, his views of the station in 1985 and of the pirate radio scene in general at that time.

Panel: Liam de Siún, Roger Lloyd, Ian Biggar, Eddie Bohan and Dr Don Moore

On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era.

A great panel of radio heads talk radio with Dónal Greene: Liam de Siún (BLB), Roger Lloyd (aka Prince Terry – Radio Dublin), Ian Biggar (DX Archive), Eddie Bohan (Irish Broadcasting Hall of Fame) and Dr Don Moore (ARD).

Jingles: Radio Dublin

Radio Dublin was Ireland’s longest running pirate radio station. It broadcast from 1966 until 2003 and was at its peak in the early to mid 1980s on 253m/1188KHz and 6910 kHz shortwave.

Here are a number of station idents and jingles.

Two iconic 253 jingles from the late 70s.
A top of the hour jingle from 1988. The FM transmitter had moved to 105 but the station was still announcing 98.8 also!
Radio Dublin relayed other stations frequently during its long existence including World Music Radio. This recording is from 1987. After midnight on 01.01.89 when it defied the new law, it relied on WMR tapes for the first few days before resuming live programming.

You can hear a recording from Radio Dublin’s popular Dusty’s Trail programme here and an interview with former station manager Joe Rossa (aka Joe Doyle) here.

Interview: Karl Tsigdinos (ARD and others)

On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era.

Karl Tsigdinos worked on the pirates from the mid seventies to early eighties going on to work with Radio Ireland / Today FM, Dublin City FM and RTE Gold. In this interview he explains how Hotpress (where he worked as a journalist) had a radio show that travelled around between Big D, Radio Dublin and ARD in the late seventies.

Karl Tsigdinos (Picture via Christmas FM)