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.
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.
KTOK was one of a number of pirates broadcasting to Co. Donegal in the 1980s and located in the Castle Centre in Donegal Town. It was set up by Russ Padmore, former manager of North West Community Radio in Buncrana. He had also worked previously with ABC Radio in Waterford and indeed it was thanks to Italian transmitters imported by ABC that KTOK got on air. The pop music format proved popular in an area where Irish and country music was common on radio.
KTOK was first noted in the Anoraks UK Weekly Report on 24th May 1987 on 1566 kHz with a relay of RTÉ Radio 2. On 19th July Weekly Report said that the station had been picked up as far south as Sligo Town and according to DX Archive, the signal was also heard in the UK. Ex-Radio Caroline DJ Dave James was said to be among those involved. An Anoraks Ireland list from July 1987 listed KTOK on 1566 kHz and on 96, 98 and 103 FM. The station continued until 31st December 1988 at 4pm when it was closed down by Russ Padmore.
This recording was made from 95.9 FM on 26th August 1988 from 1847-1934 and features Russ Padmore followed by Laura Live. Thanks to John Breslin for the donation.
Coast 103 (also Coast Hot Hits and Coast Power FM) was on the air for 18 months from mid-1987 until the end of 1988 and was one of Galway’s bigger pirate stations. Based on Prospect Hill just off Eyre Square, it was set up by Steve Marshall and the late Keith York. The station broadcast on 1566 kHz AM and on 103 and other FM frequencies. In April 1988 it merged with the Limerick station Hits 954 and became known as Coast Hot Hits. 954 kHz was used for a while and there was a chain of FM transmitters covering an area from Mayo to Limerick and even into the outskirts of Cork City. In the summer of 1988 Coast had outside broadcasts from Galway and an official launch in Limerick City was planned.
This recording is of Brian Davis from 1956-2045 on 9th December 1988, with pop hits and plenty of requests. It was made from 102.5 FM and is kindly donated by John Breslin. There are requests from Galway and Clare and the voice of Tony Allan is heard on sweepers and ads. A promotion worth £200 in association with local shops is also heard.
Overnight radio is almost always automated these days and while many pirates also put out tapes in the early hours or closed down for the night, a sizable number of stations ran live programming around the clock. One such station was the Cork super-pirate ERI (1982-1988). This is a recording of part of a live overnight show on ERI from 1985. Tony Ashford (Ciaran Brannelly) is on the long graveyard shift playing music through the night until 6am.
Emer Lucey (Lucy Potter Coogan) is heard every hour with ‘ERI News Review’, a pre-recorded bulletin of the main stories from the previous day. The recording was made from 96.7 FM and runs from 0145-0240 on Wednesday 23rd October 1985. ERI also broadcast on 1305 kHz (announcing 225 metres) and could be heard over a large area.
This is a recording of veteran newscaster the late great Bob Gallico reading the lunchtime news on New Year’s Day 1988 on Dublin super-pirate Energy 103. Bob’s voice was one of the most familiar and iconic of the 1980s Dublin pirates.
Energy 103 emerged from the ashes of Radio Nova on 29th April 1986 and broadcast until 11th March 1988, when it closed suddenly. Within hours its frequencies were taken over by Q102. Bob Gallico died in 2013 at the age of 83 in Massachusetts. You can read tributes here.