Full recording: Metro Radio (Dublin)

Full recording: Metro Radio (Dublin)
This recording of Metro Radio is from the Skywave Tapes Collection.

Metro Radio was a short-lived station based in Dublin in 1983. There’s very little information available about it, but Anoraks UK reported that Metro began broadcasting on the 31st of May 1983 from Clontarf on the northside of Dublin and was seeking advertisers within a few weeks. It was on 1557 kHz (announced as 192 metres), the same frequency as another irregular pirate from this period, Diamond Radio. According to Anoraks UK there was no trace of Metro Radio by the end of 1983 and Diamond returned to 1557 in 1984. It is not known if the two stations were linked.

The recording begins at 6.50pm on the 19th of October 1983. The format is a mixture of pop and soul and the presenter from 7pm is Barry Nevin, aka Maurice Nevin (RIP) who worked in many other stations during the 1980s. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Full recording: Crystal City Sound (Waterford)

Full recording: Crystal City Sound (Waterford)
Image courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

Crystal City Sound was one of the 1980s pirates broadcasting from Waterford city. It came on air in October 1985, emerging from the ashes of Suirside Radio which had been on air since February 1979. Crystal City stayed on the same frequency as before, 1332 kHz. The station is listed on AM and FM in Anoraks Ireland reports from 1986 and 1987 but by April 1988 the name had changed to NCR. Crystal City saw itself as offering a broader range of programmes and more specialist music shows than the other major Waterford stations, WLR and ABC. Unusually for the commercial Irish pirates of the time the station was managed by two women, Gracie Sheehan and Sandra Penkert.

Full recording: Crystal City Sound (Waterford)
Image courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

This recording was made from 97 FM on the 6th of December 1985 from 7.07pm. The presenter is Joe Patricks who told us that he got touch in touch with Crystal City Sound after being invited to a wedding in Waterford. He then came to Ireland on the boat from Liverpool and did a few shows in Waterford before returning to the pirate station KFM in Stockport in Manchester. See also DX Archive for more audio and here for an interview about the background to Suirside Radio. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Full recording: Diamond Radio (Dublin)

Full recording: Diamond Radio (Dublin)
Diamond Radio flyer courtesy of Ian Biggar.

Diamond Radio broadcast on and off from 1981 to 1985. They began on the 30th of May 1981 and were heard in August by DX Archive on a visit to Dublin. The station was logged on 1580 kHz and thought to be a hobby pirate at the time. Short Wave News from December 1981 states: ‘Diamond Radio, now on 1557-59 with 500 watts. It has two teenage owners, a one bedroom office/studio and a spirit of improvisation’. The January 1982 issue said it was putting out about 170 watts and gave an address of Annadale Drive in the Marino/Whitehall area of Dublin 9. Diamond was listed by Anoraks UK on 1557 kHz in May 1984 but there was no mention of the station in a later list from August that year.

In Contact (World DX Club) in February 1984 Paul Davidson wrote: ‘Diamond Radio, a hobby station last heard summer 1982 are back on 1556 kHz with a very clear second harmonic on 3114 kHz’. The same address was reported and hours of transmission were said to be irregular, circa 1100-2400 daily. Paul did an update for Contact in early 1985 in which he listed Diamond Radio on 1556 kHz from Marino with broadcasting hours from 1600-2300. People involved in the station have confirmed to us that it was an irregular hobby pirate operating from 1981 to 1985. In Anoraks Ireland reports from 1986 and 1987 a Radio Diamond is listed on 106.1 MHz with addresses in Ballyfermot or Crumlin but was a different operator. We thank Ian Biggar and Niall Cassidy for providing information about the station’s history.

This recording is from 1557 kHz and starts at 11.27am on the 3rd of March 1984. Audio is scratchy and over-modulated but it gives a sense of the station. The recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Full recording: Capitol Radio (Dublin)

Full recording: Capitol Radio (Dublin)
Flyer for Capitol from c. 1985. Pic courtesy of Alan MacSimoin (RIP).

There were several stations calling themselves Capital or Capitol Radio in the pirate era, the best-known being the station that was on air from 1983 until the end of 1988. This Capitol became more specialist as time went on, playing first album tracks and then indie and alternative music. On the 1st of July 1986 Nitesky 96 was launched as a sister station from 6pm each evening with its own niche shows. The station was a strong supporter of the lively Dublin band scene of the 1980s, broadcast a weekly listeners’ Alternative Top 10 and held its own ‘Alternative Night’ every week.

This recording is from 96 MHz FM, begins at 9.15am on the 3rd of February 1984 and features the final 45 minutes of the ‘Daybreak’ show presented by George Long (Henry O’Donovan) who went on to work with Radio Nova and Energy 103. George also reads news also 9.15, 9.30 and 10.00 (quite a workload!) before handing over to Conor Brooks. There’s also a promo for a holiday giveaway giving the station’s address in Milltown, Dublin 14. At this time Capitol also broadcast on 1017 kHz but left AM at the end of March 1986 after reportedly selling the transmitter to the new Liberties Local Community Radio. Capitol-Nitesky 96 continued on FM until the 31st of December 1988. It was one of our absolute favourites and is still sorely missed.

This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Full recording: Centre Radio (Clonmel)

Full recording: Centre Radio (Clonmel)
Centre Radio was first located over the red building which was then a barber’s shop at 14 Abbey Street, Clonmel. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ryan.

Centre Radio was an offshoot of CBC Radio which started broadcasting from Clonmel in Co. Tipperary in November 1981. CBC had a strong community ethos but station boss Paul Byrne wanted a more youth-oriented station and so set up Centre Radio in April 1986. The station lasted until 1987 before being renamed as Premier Radio.

This recording is from 7.46pm on the 18th of July 1986 and was recorded from 88 FM. Centre also broadcast on 1251 kHz AM. The presenter is Eoin Ryan, who is now the producer of RTÉ’s Nationwide series. Paul Byrne’s voice is heard on the news intro and on some of the adverts. He recently retired as CEO of Radio Kerry. You can listen to a documentary about CBC here.

We thank Jonathan Ryan for his assistance with background information. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.