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.
Radio West was a popular station which began broadcasting from Mullingar in Co. Westmeath in 1982. On low power initially on 1071 kHz, it bought Radio Nova’s original 10 kW transmitter and moved to 765 and then 702 kHz where it remained until the end of 1988.
By 1988, it also had a series of low-power FM transmitters and was boasting that it could be heard in 23 of the 26 counties. It even re-branded itself as ‘West National Radio 3’ and perhaps saw itself as a contender for a national commercial station as the licensed era approached. West also had an AM relay on 711 kHz covering Co. Galway and this promo from 1988 is aimed at attracting Galway businesses to advertise. Its owner Seán Coyne was involved in the licensed Galway station of the same name in the early 1990s. Radio West was eventually re-branded as Galway Bay FM.
Here is the introduction to the 6pm news from 30.08.88 including the end of an ad for Dunnes Stores, the top of the hour ident voiced by Derek Flood and the start of the news with Kevin Palmer.
The end of the 6pm news of the same date including part of the mart report for Tullamore. Radio West took its rural audience seriously and had regular mart reports for farmers.
More airchecks from 1988 including ads and jingles.
A jingle and news sting from 1987. 96.3 FM was just one of many FM frequencies used by Radio West.
A Tony Allan ident emphasising the ‘national’ coverage.
In this fascinating interview with engineer Gerry O’Reilly, the Radio West 10 kW transmitter is discussed.
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.
In this interview, Walter Hegarty talks to Gerry O’Reilly, a transmitter man from the border regions. Gerry worked on transmitters for the following stations: Kandy Radio, Galway District Radio (GDR), Hometown Radio, Big M, Erneside, NWCR, CCR, Breffni Radio, Midwest Radio. East Coast Radio (Louth), Melvin Radio, Radio North, Riverside Radio, Boyneside Radio, DCR Letterkenny, Radio West, Rainbow Radio, Star Radio, North Star, KISS FM, KITS, North Atlantic Radio and many more.
Broadcasts of Dublin station Q102 were disrupted in July 1986 by a mysterious ‘phantom’ who managed to break into the VHF link to the AM transmitter and disrupt normal programming on 819 kHz. Anoraks UK reported receiving anonymous calls from Dublin to say that the ‘ghost’ of Radio Nova was to return and later that day, Radio Nova jingles were broadcast on Q102’s AM frequency (Radio Nova had closed in March 1986). A person on a bicycle with a rucksack and home-made dipole was spotted near Q’s transmitter site but escaped before engineers could catch up with him. The ‘Phantom’ also called Radio West’s Sunday Anoraks’ Hour to threaten further disruption. This mysterious recording includes references to that programme and also cheekily edits a Capitol Radio jingle, changing it from ‘Move over to Capitol’ to ‘Move over Capitol’. This was apparent hint that Capitol would be the next target!