Visit to Community Radio Fingal

Visit to Community Radio Fingal
CRF sticker (courtesy of DX Archive).

Community Radio Fingal (CRF) broadcast from various locations in north Co. Dublin from March 1982 until the end of 1988. In September 1982, they were visited at the Rockabill Hotel near Skerries by the British radio enthusiast Leon Tipler during one of his Irish trips.

This is the unedited version of the interviews about CRF in Tipler’s documentary series ‘The Irish Pirates’. Speaking in the tiny CRF studio, Pat Young explains that the station emerged from Dublin Community Radio, which by 1982 was struggling with increased competition in the city’s pirate scene. At the time the station broadcast on 1584 kHz AM, announcing 189 metres, with 1 kW of power which gave it good reception all over Dublin. A 25-watt FM transmitter on 96 MHz linked to the AM installation a few kilometres away. CRF had 10-12 presenters and four sales staff and was doing well with listeners and advertisers. Tipler also interviews DJ Sindy who is one of four female presenters and a part-time sales representative.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Interview with Paul Byrne (Radio Carrick, CBC, WLR)

Interview with Paul Byrne (Radio Carrick, CBC, WLR)
A young Paul Byrne in the CBC studio (courtesy of Jonathan Ryan).

Paul Byrne began working in pirate radio in his native Tipperary in the early 1980s. In this interview with John Walsh, he explains how he got involved with radio and remembers his involvement in various stations including Radio Carrick (Carrick-on-Suir), CBC (Clonmel), NCLR (Mallow), Centre Radio (an offshoot of CBC) and WLR (Waterford). Listen to a documentary about the history of CBC here.

He also speaks about the influence of radio abroad on the Irish pirates, the quest for originality among the young pioneers, the influence of the pirates on local communities and their broader significance for Irish society in the 1980s.

Interview with Paul Byrne (Radio Carrick, CBC, WLR)
Poster for CBC Clonmel (courtesy of Jonathan Ryan).

Paul Byrne has 40 years of experience of the Irish broadcast industry. After the pirates, he worked as a presenter on the licensed WLR and later moved into management, becoming CEO of Tipp FM and then Radio Kerry. In 2020 he became director of Pure Radio, an online station from Tipperary.

Interview with John Clarke of Radio Nova

Interview with John Clarke of Radio Nova
John Clarke in Radio Nova in 1983 (photo courtesy of Svenn Martinsen)

This is the original full recording of an interview by Leon Tipler with veteran DJ John Clarke on Radio Nova in September 1982. It was conducted in studio in the busy period leading up to 6pm and John chats away in between lining up music and ads on carts. An edited version was included in the documentary series ‘The Irish Pirates’.

He speaks about the history of Nova and describes the differences between it and its great rival, Sunshine Radio. Chris Cary wanted to begin broadcasting on FM and pushed a ‘clutter-free’ format with sweeps of music. The reaction from listeners was very positive from the start and Nova was soon a hit in boutiques, shops and factories with advertising flooding in. AM came later and the powerful signal increased the station’s popularity even more.

John also discusses the recent RTÉ jamming of Nova and a survey that established Nova’s dominance in the Dublin market. He says that most listeners to Nova and Sunshine were unaware of their pirate status because of the stations’ professionalism. The interview concludes with a mention of Kieran Murray’s Free Radio Campaign and the importance of logging pirate radio history. We’ll second that!

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

London pirate radio history and recordings

London pirate radio history and recordings
Stephen Hebditch’s book is available from Amazon and independent booksellers.

London has been a hotbed of pirate radio since the 1960s and has always had a strong connection with Ireland through emigration and cultural influences. The thousands of pirate stations in London across the decades have been documented on the website AMFM.org.uk and in the book London’s Pirate Pioneers (2015) by the site’s founder Stephen Hebditch. Recordings of the London pirates are posted regularly on the site’s Twitter account.

In this interview with John Walsh, Stephen explores the background to and growth of London pirate radio and includes audio clips from different eras and genres of stations. He also explains the book project and covers the relationship between London pirate radio and the Irish pirate scene.

This interview was broadcast originally on Wireless on Flirt FM in April 2021.

Interview with Aidan Cooney

Interview with Aidan Cooney
Aidan Cooney as pictured in the Sunshine Radio Review from 1985 (courtesy of DX Archive).

Aidan Cooney is another well-known broadcaster who spent many years in the pirates up to 1989. In this interview, he recalls his earliest memories of and involvement with the 1970s Dublin pirates. ‘Aidan Jay’, as he was known, started his broadcasting career with ARD and Radio Dublin from 1978 when he was just 16 and still at school. Other pirates where he worked in the 1980s included Radio Leinster, Sunshine Radio and Treble TR.

Since the licensing of the independent sector in 1989, Aidan has been a familiar name on commercial radio and television and is currently a presenter on Dublin’s Q102.

Interview with Aidan Cooney
ARD at the Crofton Hotel, L-R: listener, Bryan Lambert, Mike Maloney (photo courtesy of Dave Reddy).

This interview was conducted by Dave Daly in 2017. We thank Dave for his donation to the archive.