Sunrise Special on Westside Radio

Sunrise Special on Westside Radio

This is another recording of Westside Radio, a station broadcasting from Sligo from 1986 to 1988. On air is Ed Stevens with the breakfast show called Sunrise Special although as he notes, the morning is wet and overcast. He claims that Westside is the only station broadcasting in either Sligo or Leitrim at that time. The style isn’t particularly slick, audio levels are uneven and the station phone is out of order, but there are plenty of ads for local businesses so clearly Westside had an audience around Sligo.

The recording was made from 0800-0932 on 30th August 1988 from 97.6 FM, announced as 97.5. We thank John Breslin for the donation. It seems that Westside Radio closed in the autumn of that year.

Part 2 of recording from 0845-0932.

Westside Radio from Sligo

Westside Radio from Sligo
Westside Radio ad from Anoraks UK Weekly Report, February 1987

Westside Radio began broadcasting from Sligo on 97.5 MHz FM on 15th November 1986, playing mostly country and western music. The Weekly Report of Anoraks UK on 7th December reported that the audio was quite loud and sometimes distorted. An advert in Weekly Report in February 1987 (pictured) claimed that Westside was Sligo’s ‘first ever country music, folk and traditional and easy listening radio station’. Subsequent reports by Anoraks UK referred to plenty of requests and adverts, so the format appeared to be working locally. By April 1987, the station had changed its name to Westside Community Radio.

In February 1987, a West Coast Radio from Sligo was reported to be testing on 1143 kHz AM and 103.5 FM. This was a shortlived station but there must have been confusion between the similar names when both were on air.

This recording of Westside Radio was made from 97.6 FM from 2028-2202 (part 2 below) on 29th August 1988 and features a chart music show with Des McAleer who adds ‘Power 97.5 FM’ to the station ID. Clearly Westside had moved beyond its original easy listening format by this late stage in its existence, at least in its evening shows. The station was listed in an Anoraks UK log on 5th July 1988 and Power 97 is mentioned in a report from Sligo on 24th September, suggesting that it may have changed its name by that time. We thank John Breslin for this donation.

Part 2 of the recording (2115-2202).

‘Never more than a minute from music’: Galway’s Atlantic Sound

'Never more than a minute from music': Galway's Atlantic Sound
An Atlantic flyer from early 1984 when the station was still on 1107 kHz (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

Atlantic Sound began testing at the end of 1983 and launched a full schedule at the start of 1984. A report in the Galway Advertiser on 29th December 1983 said that the station aimed to be ‘a fusion of RTÉ Radio One, Community Radio and Radio Nova’. Presumably the reference to ‘community radio’ was to the temporary local RTÉ stations on air at the time. Atlantic Sound’s founder journalist Alan Russell was quoted as saying that the station would buy equipment from the BBC and comply with the specifications required by the proposed radio authority. He added that it would not be a pop music station.

In mid-1984, after the arrival from Cork of two DJs with an offshore radio background, the late Keith York and Don Stevens, Alan Russell left Atlantic Sound and the broad schedule was changed to a ‘hot hits’ format. In this recording from the August bank holiday weekend of 1984, Seán Costello plays requests for mostly chart music and generic jingles are heard. He says that Atlantic Sound is ‘never more than a minute away from music’ and there’s a reference to a £1,000 giveaway but the thin commercial breaks suggest that the station was not making much money.

The recording was made from 99 FM and runs from 1858-1945 but is undated. Atlantic had moved from 1107 to 1026 kHz AM by this stage and had added FM. Thanks to Shay Geoghegan for the donation and to Alan Russell for background information.

Robbie Robinson closes 3rd Sunshine charity auction

Robbie Robinson closes 3rd Sunshine charity auction
Letter from Valerie Goulding of the CRC in the 1985 Sunshine Review (courtesy DX Archive).

This is the final section of the 3rd annual Sunshine Radio charity auction in aid of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC). Station owner Robbie Robinson (RIP) auctions one of that year’s big prizes, a holiday to Portugal donated by Joe Walsh Tours. He then calls the founder of the CRC Lady Valerie Goulding to tell her that Sunshine has raised over £22,000 that year. As the letter above indicates, by 1985 the auction had brought in over £100,000 for the CRC, a considerable amount for the time and evidence of Sunshine’s commitment to charitable causes.

Another item of interest in this recording is a advert placed by the Association of Independent Broadcasters in Ireland, a group formed by some of the commercial pirate stations to represent the sector. News at 9pm is read by Caroline Callaghan.

This recording was made from 2054-2132 on 11th April 1983. It is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated by Steve England.

Live on-air bidding at Sunshine’s 3rd charity auction

Live on-air bidding at Sunshine's 3rd charity auction
Sunshine Radio CRC badge (courtesy DX Archive).

The third Sunshine Radio charity auction for the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) was held in 1983 and continued to build on the success of earlier years. This is the final part of the first day’s 12-hour auction programme, presented by the late Robbie Robinson. There is live on-air bidding for the Sunshine Extravaganza, an evening gala concert with music, food and drink, all profits from which went to the CRC. News is read by Emer Dolan (Woodfull). Within a month, Sunshine would be put off the air when the station was raided by the authorities in a crackdown on pirate radio.

The recording was made from 2053-2139 on 9th April 1983. It is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.