Tony Allan interviewed at Sunshine Radio

Tony Allan interviewed at Sunshine Radio
Early Sunshine Radio crew from 1980 with Tony Allan in the centre at the top (courtesy Pat Herbert).

Tony Allan (RIP) was one of the most iconic voices of Irish pirate radio in the 1970s and 1980s. He presented on many larger stations and was heard doing voiceovers on countless other pirates throughout the country. In this recording, he is interviewed by Kieran Murray of the Free Radio Campaign Ireland outside the Sands Hotel in Portmarnock in north Co. Dublin, where Sunshine Radio was located. The station had started broadcasting less than two months previously on 29th September 1980, its launch delayed by the sabotaging of its aerial, allegedly by a rival Dublin pirate. Tony refuses to speculate about the incident and instead emphasises the professionalism of Sunshine in contrast to existing Dublin stations. He also talks about his background in the offshore station Radio Caroline.

The interview was conducted on 16th November 1980 and is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

Morning shows on Echo Community Radio

Morning shows on Echo Community Radio
Anoraks Ireland card and compliments slip

Echo Community Radio was a shortlived station broadcasting from west Dublin in the second half of 1985. First up in this recording is Dave Canning with the final part of his breakfast programme. He is followed by Workers’ Playtime presented by Gerry Marsden, a familiar name on 1980s pirates including Radio Dublin, which he went on to manage. Adverts are heard for local businesses, many in the Centrepoint Shopping Centre in Blanchardstown where Echo was located. There’s also a promo seeking DJs, newsreaders and sales representatives for the station.

Both 280 metres (1071 kHz) and 105.5 FM are announced by the DJs. The recording was made from 1071 kHz from 0918-1049 on Wednesday 7th August 1985 and is from the Anoraks Ireland Collection. Audio quality is fair, with some distortion.

Various shows on Donegal’s KTOK

Various shows on Donegal's KTOK
1988 KTOK studio shot with owner Russ Padmore in the blue shirt (courtesy Andy Carter).

KTOK was a successful commercial station broadcasting from Donegal Town between summer 1987 and the end of 1988. This recording features airchecks of various programmes between Christmas 1987 and February 1988. First up is Dave James, formerly of offshore station Radio Caroline, recorded between 1400 and 1800 on 27th December 1987. Frequencies mentioned are 103 and 96 FM and 1566 kHz AM. There are plenty of requests, promos for Christmas holiday events and gigs, the ‘gosh factor’ trivia segment and a television guide. The KTOK Cinderella Christmas Pantomine is mentioned but is unfortunately edited out of the recording, as are most of the adverts for local businesses. News on the hour with John Breslin is similarly cut, but the DJ is heard reading the headlines at half-past the hour.

At 17 minutes, the recording switches to airchecks of the Dave James show from 8th February 1988 between 1000-1300. 99 FM is heavily promoted as the new transmitter for North Donegal, with 96 FM serving South Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo. There is no mention of the AM transmitter as it may have been discontinued at this time.

At 58 minutes, station founder Russ Padmore is heard from 18th February 1988 between 1500-1800. Local gigs and discos are promoted and news on the hour is read in English and Irish but edited out. The inclusion of Irish may have been as much due to impending broadcast legislation as the fact that many parts of Donegal are Irish-speaking. Music is mostly pop but includes some oldies and country, reflect the huge popularity of the latter in rural areas of Ireland.

It is unclear which FM frequency the recording was made from. It is from the Anoraks Irish Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

DJ Lee on Echo Community Radio

DJ Lee on Echo Community Radio

Echo Community Radio was one of several small Dublin stations that came and went during the 1980s. It broadcast from Blanchardstown in west Dublin and was first logged by DX Archive in July 1985. The station broadcast on AM only initially and was located in the Centrepoint Shopping Centre. According to Anoraks UK Weekly Report, it closed down by January 1986. There is no known connection to the earlier Echo Radio based in Clontarf in 1982.

This recording of Echo Community Radio features DJ Lee, a familiar voice from the 1980s pirates, presenting an afternoon slot. There’s a listeners’ competition for cinema tickets but tellingly, no adverts are heard over 90 minutes of primetime radio listening. The station claimed to broadcast to the Greater Dublin Area but clearly power was low as there is co-channel intereference, likely from Radio Carousel North on the same frequency of 1071 kHz (announced by Echo as 280 metres).

The tape was made from 1555-1737 on Wednesday 26th June 1985 and is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection.

Dennis Murray on Liberty 104

Dennis Murray on Liberty 104
Liberty 104 car sticker (courtesy DX Archive).

By 1988, Liberty 104 had attracted some high-profile Dublin broadcasters to its studios in the heart of the Liberties district and the station was gaining listeners. One experienced DJ who had previously been heard on Radio Nova and its offshoot KISS FM was Dennis Murray, who in this recording presents a drivetime show. Music is a mixture of chart hits and classics and there is a listener competition based on identifying three songs. A promo for factory requests underlines how stations like Liberty 104 catered for this cohort of the population. Confusingly, Dennis refers to 103 FM on a few occasions despite the 104 branding, although there was a lot of variation in the station name during its almost 3 years on air. News at the top of the hour is read by Michael Mahon.

Dennis Murray on Liberty 104
Original cassette inlay from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

The recording was from 1723-1809 on Monday 4th April 1988 and is from the Anoraks Ireland Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson. Audio quality is good to fair with some hiss. It is not clear from which FM frequency the tape was recorded but Liberty 104 broadcast on 103.5 and 103.9 FM at this time as well as 1035 kHz AM.