The Pirate.ie Podcast #9: Our audio tribute to Don Moore (RIP)

The Pirate.ie Podcast #9: Our audio tribute to Don Moore (RIP)
L-R Ian Biggar, Roger Lloyd and Don Moore at the Pirate.ie meet-up in October 2018.

It was with sadness that we learned recently of the death of Don Moore, one of the early pioneers of Irish pirate radio in the crucial period of the mid- to late-1970s. Dr Don, as he was known on air, was the operator of Radio Westside, a shortwave station later called Westside Radio International. He became involved in the early days of Radio Dublin before moving on to its great rival, ARD which he developed into a professional station around the turn of the decade.

In episode #9 of the Pirate.ie podcast, Brian Greene and John Walsh interview various people who knew Don, either in person or over the air, and get their assessment of his influence on the development of Irish radio: Roger Lloyd (Prince Terry), Derek Jones, Declan Meehan and Ian Biggar.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #8: Our audio tribute to Robbie Robinson

The Pirate.ie Podcast #8: Our audio tribute to Robbie Robinson
Robbie Dale in the Radio Caroline days (photo courtesy of Sunshine Review 1985).

We’ve compiled an audio tribute to the radio legend Robbie Robinson who died on August 31st 2021 at the age of 81 in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. In episode #8 of the Pirate.ie podcast, colleagues, friends and listeners share their memories of Robbie and his station, Sunshine Radio, which transformed the Irish radio scene when it hit the airwaves in 1980.

Many thanks to everyone for taking the time to remember Robbie and honour his legacy in this way: Cathy Cregan, Aidan Cooney, David Baker, Lawrence John, Eddie Bohan, Cathy Dunne, John Fleming, Lillian O’Donoghue, Paul Allen, Simon Maher, Kevin Branigan, Pat Courtenay and Andy Preston.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #7

The Pirate.ie Podcast #7
A collage of pirate radio in Northern Ireland from 1969-1975 (courtesy of Eddie Bohan).

In episode #7 of the Pirate.ie podcast, we look at aspects of the history of pirate radio in Northern Ireland. Brian Greene and John Walsh talk to broadcast historian Eddie Bohan about his research into the pirates of Derry and Belfast during the period 1969-1975. At that time, pirate radio was a tool of both nationalist/republican and unionist/loyalist communities during the turbulent early years of the Troubles.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #7
A map of Belfast’s pirate stations at the time (courtesy of Eddie Bohan).

The podcast covers stations such as Radio Free Derry, Radio Free Belfast, Radio Shankill and Radio Orange and describes how they fanned the flames of violence and sectarianism. Pirates on both sides were popular in their communities but were a headache for the British authorities and no-one was ever prosecuted for involvement in them.

We thank Eddie Bohan for sharing his fascinating research with us which will be presented in a book in the near future. See his blog for further updates about his work.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #6

The Pirate.ie Podcast #6

In episode #6 of the Pirate.ie podcast, we analyse the politics and economics of Irish pirate radio from 1978-1988. The pirates emerged because of the political failure to develop diversity in radio and became a thorn in the side of the authorities, especially from the early 1980s with the arrival of high-powered, professional operators.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #6
Sunshine Review 1985 (DX Archive). Sunshine raised a lot of money for the Central Remedial Clinic in Dublin.

Many stations practised corporate social responsibility in an effort to appear respectable but once they began to attract advertising revenue away from RTÉ, they were raided or jammed. Political instability and ideological differences stymied the development of legislation to regulate the radio sector, with several failed radio bills in the 1980s.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #6
Political influence in high places: Mike Hogan in the Q102 helicopter over Dublin in 1986 (pic Irish Times).

In this episode, listen to Brian Greene and John Walsh explore the politics and economics of the era with the help of extracts from our archive including news programmes, interviews, commercial breaks and advertising promos. This discussion is based on our article published in 2020 in the Journal of Radio and Audio Media.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #5

The Pirate.ie Podcast #5
Simon Maher at Phantom FM in Wexford Street during a temporary licence period in spring 2004.

In episode #5 of the Pirate.ie podcast, it’s a great pleasure to bring you an interview with Simon Maher, a leading light in the 1990s pirate scene and in subsequent licensed stations. Despite new broadcasting laws that were supposed to silence the pirates, Simon and many others cut their teeth in the lively and diverse world of free radio in Dublin throughout the decade.

In this interview with Brian Greene and John Walsh, Simon looks back over twenty years of radio ranging from garden sheds to multi-million euro professional operations and back to alternative online radio. He describes the humble origins of Coast FM (1991-1996) in bedrooms and garden sheds and the growth of his indie/alternative pirates Spectrum FM (1996-1997) and Phantom FM (1997-2003). After applying three times, Phantom eventually got a full-time alternative rock licence and broadcast to Dublin from 2006-2014 until financial problems forced a corporate takeover and rebranding. Simon discusses the success and failure of the licensed Phantom and tells us why he thinks specialist radio needs to return to its roots. He currently runs 8Radio.com, an alternative online station that has been on multi-city FM under temporary licences.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #5
A Coast 105 poster from the early 1990s from Brian Greene’s collection.

This interview gives a fascinating insight into the similarities and differences between the 1980s and 1990s pirates and is also a lesson in how radio needs to reinvent itself to survive.