Fossett’s Circus on Galway’s Atlantic Sound

Fossett's Circus on Galway's Atlantic Sound
Atlantic Sound studios (photo courtesy of Alan Russell).

In the first half of 1984, Galway pirate Atlantic Sound broadcast a varied schedule of music and original speech programming. This is a clip from station founder Alan Russell’s magazine programme from May or June 1984. Seán Costello interviews Annie, a South African trapeze artist with Fossett’s Circus at Fairgreen in Galway city centre during a visit by the circus to town. It was recorded on a Marantz Superscope machine. Below is a longer interview by Seán with the late Teddy Fossett who provides a brief history of the circus before taking the opportunity to share some grievances about the circus industry. Seán attempts to wrap up the interview after 15 minutes but Teddy is in full flight about the competition with Circus Hoffmans from the UK.

Atlantic Sound interview with Teddy Fossett, 1984.
Fossett's Circus on Galway's Atlantic Sound
Atlantic Sound studios (photo courtesy of Alan Russell).

The photos were taken in the Atlantic Sound studio at the end of 1983 when the station had begun testing. A full schedule began in 1984. Pictured are a Canary 12- channel mixer, Technics decks, a JVC cassette deck, Sennheiser headphones, a Shure mic and the news reader’s desk. We thank Alan Russell for the donation. In the second half of 1984 after his departure, the station was re-launched as a ‘hot hits’ format.

The early days of KISS FM 102.7

The early days of KISS FM 102.7
KISS FM flyer (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

One of several offshoots of Radio Nova, KISS FM, came on the air on September 7th 1982 and broadcast until January 15th 1984. Starting off by playing continuous music only on 102.7 FM, KISS developed into a specialist and speech service alongside Nova, mopping up additional advertising and listeners.

This is the original version of an interview conducted by British radio enthusiast Leon Tipler during a visit to KISS FM in September 1982. He speaks to Brian Edgar and Stuart McLaughlin about the plans for KISS, rivalry between the Dublin stations and the economics of pirate radio.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England. Below is a KISS FM promo from 1982 for a giveaway of £102.70. This was donated to us by Paul Buckle.

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.