In the second part of our extended interview, long-time broadcaster Declan Meehan discusses his move from Sunshine to Radio Nova in 1982 which was by then the biggest station in Dublin. He tells us how Chris Cary copied the sound of KIIS FM in Los Angeles to bring a new broadcasting style to Ireland. Despite his love for Radio Nova, Declan left the station because of the bitter NUJ strike in 1984. Although he moved into licensed radio in the UK and Ireland after that, Declan’s involvement with the pirates didn’t quite end there. The interview concludes with Declan’s thoughts on the pirate legacy and his views on the state of radio today.
You can hear the first part of this interview here.
Magic 103 (103.5 FM and initially also 1521 kHz AM) was set up by Radio Nova in 1985 and was one of many examples of Chris Cary’s innovation in splitting AM/FM services to expand programming. Magic, which began broadcasting on April 29th, was a mostly easy-listening and talk service in contrast to the chart music format of Nova.
‘ABC Network News’ was broadcast on both Nova and Magic, and the journalists also presented programmes on Magic. This airchecked recording is from the early days of the service – we estimate it to be May 1st 1985. Dave Johnson (aka Andrew Hanlon) is both presenter and newscaster. He reads out a request from a listener in Co. Down, evidence of how far the FM signal travelled on a relatively uncrowded band. Sound quality is variable on this recording and some of it may have been recorded from AM.
Magic 103 was short-lived and closed in September 1985.
On January 29th 2019 we were honoured to take part in a special edition of the Radio Survivor podcast dedicated to this archive. You can listen back here to an hour of discussion with Brian Greene and John Walsh about the story of Irish pirate radio, the aims behind the archive and the plans for the future.
In this interview, broadcast historian Eddie Bohan tells John Walsh about the expansion of Radio Nova in Dublin up to 1986 and afterwards in the UK. This interview was first broadcast on Wireless on Flirt FM in June 2018.
You can hear Radio Nova airchecks and jingles here.
There’s plenty of Radio Nova material available online already and we don’t intend to compete with that. Here is a selection from our own collection of airchecks of Radio Nova Dublin from 1984 to 1986. We also include two recordings from the Nova satellite service from the UK in 1988 which was relayed on FM in Dublin and used as an overnight service by some stations.
Listen to interviews with former Nova presenter Tom Hardy here and newsreader Bryan Dobson here. You can hear historian Eddie Bohan describe the growth of Radio Nova here.
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. Here RTÉ broadcaster Bryan Dobson tells Leigh McGowran about his times in Southside Radio and Radio Nova in the early 1980s.
Dublin station Radio Annabel featured a popular weekly Free Radio Campaign programme presented by Gerard Roe. This recording from 1985 features an interview with Chris Cary taken from Radio Nova in which he criticises the notion of community radio. It is followed by a reference to a newspaper article about one of the failed attempts to introduce legislation to regulate the radio sector during the 1980s.