After the merger things ran pretty smoothly for Boyneside Radio. The advertising log was healthy and the station was really establishing itself as one of the leading regional radio stations in Ireland. However, like a bolt from the blue all that changed. On the afternoon of Monday 13th April 1987 an official from the Department of Communications, along with three Gardaí, entered the station premises on Mill Lane. The staff were told to close all transmitters, cease broadcasting at once and never return to the air. The official said that interference was being caused, but refused to elaborate further.
The only transmitter that was thought might have caused the alleged interference was the FM link on 99.1 MHz, as this was the only transmitter located in a built-up area. This was taken out of service and replaced with a known and tested clean transmitter. In the meantime, unofficial contact had been made between a station representative and a head official in the Department. It was arranged that the official would check on the morning of Wednesday 15th if there was still interference. However, on that day at 1407 the raiding party arrived consisting of six Gardaí, one detective, and two Department officials. During the raid a local newspaper photographer had his camera snatched by a Department official. This was covered in the next issue of the paper (see above).
The officials then proceeded to remove all equipment from the studios as well as the FM transmitter and compressor. They used cutters rather than disconnecting the equipment. The station was instructed to switch off all transmitters and never return or another raid would take place.
The officials left and headed back to Dublin. Meantime Boyneside Radio was back on the air by 1730 from a secret location. Programmes were pretty much as normal, although initially some technical breaks were experienced. By the end of April 1987 the station was back in the usual studios on Mill Lane and things returned to normal.
The recording above is of an interview with Eddie Caffrey about the incident on the Radio West Anorak Hour on the following Sunday, 19th April 1987. The recording below is of Boyneside shortly after the raid on 23rd April 1987, featuring automatic music from 0620-0700 and Mike Ahern (Richard McCullen) on the breakfast show from 0700-0936. It was made in Blackpool by Gary Hogg and the station’s output sounds perfectly normal. Of interest to DXers is the skywave propagation in the first hour when ERI in Cork, also on 1305 kHz, can be heard clearly at times. Many thanks to Ian Biggar for these recordings and for the research.
Boyneside Radio continued to provide a service to the people of the north east until finally closing at just after 3pm on Saturday 31st December 1988.
The traditional Irish music show the Green Scene is the longest-running programme on commercial radio in Ireland and dates from the Boyneside Radio era. Presented by Eddie Caffrey, it was popular across the northeast of Ireland and further afield. This recording is from 1020-1105 on Saturday 27th September 1986 and features a huge number of requests from Louth, Meath, Armagh, Down, Dublin and even Blackpool. There’s also an ad for a céilí in Rochdale, Lancashire, evidence of how well the Boyneside signal travelled on AM across the Irish Sea. The show also includes the regular radio bingo slot with Dermot Finglas and news is read by Gerry Malone.
The Green Scene is still presented every Saturday by Eddie Caffrey on LMFM. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.
By the mid-1980s, Boyneside had established itself as one of the main radio stations in Co. Louth and a successful regional station in its own right, with satellites in Kells, Co. Meath and on the border. Its main AM transmitter on 1305 kHz was heard far and wide throughout the northeast of Ireland and beyond and Boyneside was describing itself as the largest regional radio station in Ireland.
This recording is of the main Boyneside station in Drogheda from 0945-1030 on 19th February 1985. Its features the end of Daire Nelson’s breakfast show, complete with comedy inserts, followed by news headlines at 10 o’clock. The late Dave C (Cunningham) then takes over for the mid-morning slot.
This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.
Today we bring you two more recordings of Boyneside Radio in 1983. The first recording was made from 2003-2030 on 1st July 1983 and features Áine Ní Ghuidhir on news followed by Neil O’Brien presenting the ‘Night Flight’ programme. There’s an ad for the popular Bubbles disco in Drogheda which regularly featured Boyneside DJs. Requests are received from north and south of the border, reflecting Boyneside’s large catchment area.
The second shorter recording below is the last part of a show presented by Dave C (Cunningham) from 1152-1200 on 28th June 1983. Dave C was one of the pirate pioneers of the 1970s and involved in stations such as Radio Dublin and Alternative Radio Dublin (ARD). He was a director of Radio 257 and following its closure in 1982, he moved to Boyneside.
These recordings are from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England. Both are from AM and sound as if they were recorded some distance from Drogheda, possibly on the west coast of the UK.
Over the years Boyneside Radio operated services in Dundalk, Kells and Navan with local programming at certain times of the day. These had varying levels of success, but the most successful ‘satellite’ station must have been Boyneside Radio North. The station opened to serve the North of Ireland in the late summer of 1982, capitalising on the growing listenership to the Irish pirates north of the border.
Transmissions were on 1233 kHz AM, announced as 244 metres, from a studio located at Killeen, Co. Louth, just south of the border. Boyneside North had live programmes from 0800-1400, after which there was a relay of the Heady Eddie programme from Drogheda, more local output from 5pm and then a Drogheda relay in the evening and overnight.
The station employed several DJs from Northern Radio, which had closed earlier in the year. In 1986 a new mast was erected at Edentubber from which a high power FM signal was broadcast. At one point the power output was estimated at 20 Kw which reached Belfast, although there were reports of patchy reception around the city centre. Ironically, this mast remained in use by pirate radio until 2020, when it was illegally and dangerously felled by the Department of Communications following a raid.
Despite strong competition from other stations around the border, Boyneside North operated successfully until the final closedown on Saturday December 31st 1988 when it closed at 3pm.
This recording is of Marty Donnan on Boyneside North from 1000-1100 on 6th December 1982. Marty later worked for Downtown Radio and BBC Radio Ulster. We thank Ian Biggar for the text and recording.