Hospital requests on WLR

Hospital requests on WLR
Colin Kennedy on air (photo courtesy of Eoin Ronayne).

This is an airchecked recording of the popular Sunday Hospital Requests show from 12 noon to 2pm on Waterford Local Radio (WLR), reflecting that station’s community focus in contrast with other more commercial rivals. Colin Kennedy is covering for Clodagh Walsh and everyone else seems to be standing in also – the previous show was presented by Michael Forrestal for Tony Weldon and at the last minute, Paul Power is replaced by Eoin Ronayne in the 2-5pm slot.

There are piles of requests for hospital patients and other listeners in Waterford and south Tipperary, reflecting the show’s strong local following. We don’t have an exact date but estimate this to be from February 1983. Sound quality is fair and there is some warble on the music reflecting the cassette’s age. Thanks to Colin Kennedy for donating this recording.

Promos and jingles from WLR

Promos and jingles from WLR
WLR logo (courtesy of DX Archive).

Waterford Local Radio (WLR) began broadcasting in 1978 and continued until the pirate shutdowns of 1988. It was one of the few countywide pirates to be licensed in 1989 and continues to hold the Co. Waterford franchise, still using the WLR name. Here is a selection of promos, adverts and jingles from 1982 and 1983. There is also a snippet of news read by Elinor O’Brien and a clip of Tony Weldon introducing Teatime Special. The jingles are from an Alfasound package and the voice of Bill Mitchell is hear on sweepers.

WLR broadcast on 1197 kHz AM (announcing 252 metres) and 88.8 FM. It was a professional station with a more community-focused approach than its main rival, ABC. We thank former WLR DJ Colin Kennedy for this donation.

Radio Leinster – June 12th 1981

Radio Leinster - June 12th 1981
Radio Leinster logo courtesy of David Baker.

A new recording of what would become Dublin’s easy listening station Radio Leinster has surfaced. It was recorded early in the station’s life on June 12th 1981, the day after the general election. Paul Vincent is on air. The recording comes to us courtesy of Ian Biggar and the DX Archive.

The Free Radio Show that survived a raid but was never broadcast

The Free Radio Show that survived a raid but was never broadcast
The Radio Rainbow International transmitter (courtesy of Kieran Murray).

Kieran Murray was a well-known voice on the pirates from the late 1970s and had a deep knowledge of the Irish scene, presenting Free Radio Shows on various stations. Here, he shares a fascinating story about one programme that was never broadcast due to a raid by the authorities but survived nonetheless.

When I left Radio Carousel (Navan) to join Boyneside Radio in early 1985, Eddie Caffrey told me about the shortwave station he had been running called Radio Rainbow International. The station broadcast each Sunday morning, 09:00 to about 13:00, on 6240 kHz (in the 48-meter band) and with a powerful signal, using about 500 watts, it reached most of Europe and beyond.

The Free Radio Show that survived a raid but was never broadcast
Radio Rainbow International logo (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

The format was oldies, requests and relays for other pirate radio stations (mostly from those in other European countries that risked being raided in their own countries if they broadcast). The listeners loved it and the reception reports came flooding in – from Europe and beyond. We even received a reception report from the United States!

So, Eddie invited me to present a weekly 60-minute show, which we called ‘The Free Radio Show’. Each show was given a number, rather than a date, because I just was never sure what date that show would be broadcast on and because the shows were not date specific, it left the option open to repeat a programme if we needed. As it turned out, we never had to do this!

So, we began with Free Radio Show #1. Each show was recorded by me, over the course of a week, in the spare studio of Boyneside Radio, in Donaghy’s Mill, Drogheda, Co. Louth. I used a C120 cassette (single use only, as the recording tape was so thin, so I never re-used them). The show consisted of segments; the intro, listeners’ letters, 5 minutes of jingles, radio station feature and finally free radio news from the past week. The theme tune I used was a track called ‘Man Of Action’ by the Les Reed Orchestra, an old pirate favourite tune, as this had previously been used as the theme for the offshore radio station Radio Northsea International in the 1970s.

The Free Radio Show that survived a raid but was never broadcast
Eddie Caffrey of Radio Rainbow International and Boyneside Radio (courtesy of Kieran Murray).

So, each show got recorded, numbered and completed by Friday and was ready for broadcast that Sunday. Meanwhile, Eddie (who was the engineer and part-owner of Boyneside Radio) added an AM transmitter (1 KW AM on 1521 kHz) and then added an FM stereo transmitter, completing the output of Radio Rainbow International – on AM, FM and short wave.

The shows continued each week, until we got to Show #49, which was due for broadcast on Sunday 19th April 1987. I did the intro, listeners’ letters, 5 minutes of jingles and the radio station feature – and that is where the recording stops. The last bit was for the free radio news but I never got to complete this. When Boyneside Radio was raided on Wednesday 15th April 1987, I was ready to record the free radio news when the Gardaí and Department of Communications officials arrived and took everything: cassette decks, records, mixers, turntables, microphones, tapes – anything that wasn’t nailed down! Among the cassettes they took was the C120 cassette that had my part-finished Show #49.

So we had no Free Radio Show for the following two Sundays, 19th and 26th April 1987, but we came back for a special show on 3rd May and featured an interview with Eddie that discussed the raid on Boyneside Radio. The studio recording attached here was never actually broadcast, because I had to do an entirely new show featuring details of the raid and the interview with Eddie Caffrey about what happened. After each show was broadcast, I used to receive requests for copies of each show from various listeners, so the C120 cassette of the previous week would be posted out to someone who requested this. As a result, I do not have any studio copies of the Free Radio Show except for this one, the ‘unfinished’ Free Radio Show #49. The only reason we have this original recording is because all the equipment was returned after the raid, including that famous C120 cassette. So, in a roundabout way, the Gardaí did us a favour in helping to preserve a studio copy of this show!

Late night on South Coast Radio

Late night on South Coast Radio
South Coast poster (adapted from DX Archive image).

South Coast Radio was one of the popular Cork pirates of the early 1980s and broadcast on 1557 kHz (announced as 194 metres) and 104 FM. This recording was made from FM from 2204-2304 on 12th April 1982. Alan Reid (aka Henry Condon, RIP) has just taken over from John Kenny and is on the late night shift until 1am. The voice of the late Hugh Browne can be heard on some of the ads. There’s some warble towards the end, reflecting the age of the cassette.

Along with other high-powered stations in Dublin, South Coast Radio was jammed by RTÉ in 1983 and closed down temporarily following the raids on Radio Nova and Sunshine Radio in May that year. This recording was donated to us by Paul Buckle.