Radio Dublin still going after attempt to cut off power

Radio Dublin still going after attempt to cut off power
The rear of Radio Dublin at 58 Inchicore Road in 1988 (photo courtesy of DX Archive).

Radio Dublin was the most high-profile of the pirates to defy the new broadcasting laws that came into effect on at midnight on 31st December 1988. The station was served with a prohibition notice to cut off its electricity and phones and it left the air suddenly at 9.44am on 19th January 1989, returning within an hour using a generator. However, embarrassingly for the Minister for Communications, the station went to the High Court later that day and got an injunction obliging the authorities to restore services until the end of the month.

This is a recording of Radio Dublin owner Eamonn Cooke on his weekly Station News slot on Sunday 22nd January 1989, where he mentions the injunction and the upcoming High Court challenge to the constitutionality of the broadcasting laws. He says that Radio Dublin is still on AM, FM and shortwave and hopes to continue until April or May despite the uncertainty. Cooke also announces that 15 or 16 pirates are still on air or have returned, including Radio North in Donegal, Erneside Community Radio in Cavan, Radio Star in Monaghan and Zee 103 in Louth. There are some breaks in the recording and it seems to be an edited version. Thanks to John Breslin for the donation.

Radio Dublin continued for many more years, only closing down permanently in 2002 following the conviction of Cooke for sexually abusing children. He was jailed in 2003 and again in 2007 and died in 2016 while on temporary release. If you require support with this issue, you can contact the organisation One in Four.

David Baker on Southside 95 FM

David Baker on Southside 95 FM
David Baker a few years previously on Radio Donnybrook (photo courtesy of Dave Reddy).

Southside 95 began broadcasting on 94.9 FM from Dún Laoghaire in south Co. Dublin on 7th December 1987 under the direction of Paul Vincent who had worked in various stations previously including Sunshine Radio. Many familiar names in the station’s early days included former KLAS DJs David Baker, Bryan Lambert and Dan O’Sullivan and Peter Madison who had worked with stations such as Sunshine Radio, Radio Nova, Magic 103 and Boyneside Radio. According to the Anoraks UK Weekly Report on 28th February 1988, Southside was facing financial problems and several of the staff had left or were about to do so. In March 1988, the station moved to new premises in the Dún Laoghaire Shopping Centre and continued to be mentioned in Anoraks Ireland and Anoraks UK lists.

David Baker on Southside 95 FM
Southside business card (courtesy of DX Archive)

Following the launch of Chris Cary’s Radio Nova International by satellite from Surrey in England on 1st May 1988, speculation grew that Irish stations would carry all or part of the service. The edition of Weekly Report from 22nd May contained the following: ‘It is thought that many Irish stations may invest in a satellite dish and relay Nova, inserting their own adverts in opt-out advert spaces, and leaving Nova’s national adverts in’.  

Southside 95 began relaying Nova in July for substantial periods of the day and by the end of the month had ceased its own programming altogether. The ‘Nova Night Network’ service – overnight programming from the satellite station – was relayed by many Irish pirates in the latter part of 1988, including Coast 103 in Galway, ABC in Waterford and Liberty Radio and Centre Radio in Dublin. The relay was switched off at 1pm on 31st December 1988.

This is a recording of David Baker on Southside 95 on 21st January 1988 from 1345-1421. The style is a mixture of easy listening music and community announcements and there are references to other magazine and specialist programmes. The recording is courtesy of Robin Dee of Golden Radio International.

Jingles for Twiggs FM in Galway

Jingles for Twiggs FM in Galway
Twiggs FM flyer (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

Twiggs FM broadcast from Salthill in Galway for about six months at the end of 1987 and beginning of 1988. It was based at the Eglinton Hotel on Salthill promenade and was called after the hotel’s popular nightclub. Twiggs FM regularly broadcast gigs from the club and there was a student vibe from the station with promos for events at University College Galway (now NUI Galway) and the Regional Technical College (now GMIT). The station was set up by local man Shane Martin and Alan Russell from Dublin who had established another Galway pirate, Atlantic Sound, in 1984. Sound engineer Roland Burke from Dublin was also hired. Many DJs were enticed away by the bigger and more professional station Coast 103 and Twiggs FM closed in March 1988 due to financial difficulties.

Here’s a set of clever Twiggs FM jingles and liners from 1987, featuring the voices of the late Roland Burke and Gerry Moore. Gerry Moore did voice-overs for many pirates in Dublin during the 1980s. We thank Alan Russell for this donation.

Community Radio Drogheda covers rescue attempt of Irish woman in San Francisco

Community Radio Drogheda covers rescue attempt of Irish woman in San Francisco
Community Radio Drogheda sticker (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

In September 1981, a Donegal man attempted to rescue his daughter from a compound owned by the Unification Church (the ‘Moonies’) in San Francisco. After they were refused admission, James Canning and about 30 Irish-American supporters tried to break into the building and remove Mary Canning. Drogheda journalist Niall O’Dowd, who worked with the Washington Post, was the only reporter to witness the incident and was contacted by media all over the world for comment.

Knowing that a local man was on the ground, Community Radio Drogheda (CRD) wanted to cover the drama and on his lunchtime show on 16th September 1981, Gavin Duffy interviewed Niall O’Dowd about the incident. No doubt it helped that Niall’s brother Michael was news editor at CRD. Niall O’Dowd went on to become a highprofile figure in Irish America, founding the Irish Voice Newspaper and Irish America magazine as well as the website Irishcentral.com. Another brother Fergus became a Fine Gael TD for Louth.

Community Radio Drogheda broke away from Boyneside Radio in July 1981 and operated a separate service until May 1982 when the two stations merged again. We thank Eddie Caffrey for his donation of this recording, which begins with an ad break before the interview.

New donations to Pirate.ie

New donations to Pirate.ie

We thank Barry Dunne, David Lynch, Eddie Caffrey, John Breslin and Kevin Branigan for their recent donations of recordings to Pirate.ie. Our thanks is due also to Ian Biggar for his ongoing collaboration and support.

Stations of the 1980s covered in recent donations include BLB, Boyneside Radio, Community Radio Drogheda, Capitol Radio, Energy 103, Hope FM, Kilkenny Community Radio, KISS FM (Monaghan), KISS FM (Stillorgan), LLCR, Phoenix Radio, Pulsar 98, Q102/SuperQ, Radio Dublin, Radio Nova, Smile FM, Southside 95, Sunshine Radio and Tallaght Community Radio.

Among the stations of the 1990s featured in these new recordings are Coast 105, Hot 107, Power FM, Radio Dublin and Sunset FM.

We look forward to posting these in our archive, along with background information and analysis, over the coming months. We are also continuing to work through previous big donations including the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection and the Skywave Tapes Collection, bringing you the best in Irish pirate radio since the late 1970s.

If you wish to donate original cassettes, pirate memorabilia or digitised recordings to us, get in touch.

John Walsh & Brian Greene