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.
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.
In this special episode #4 of the Pirate.ie podcast, we’re delighted to bring you an interview with one of the most familiar voices on Dublin pirate radio in the 1980s, David Baker. David worked in a long list of stations ranging from Radio City, Big D and ARD to KISS FM, Radio Leinster, Heartbeat and KLAS 98. He was also heavily involved in the temporary stations set up by the Community Broadcasting Co-operative and the original Christmas station, Radio Snowflake.
In this interview with John Walsh and Brian Greene, David looks back on his pirate days in Ireland and recalls the many stations where he worked from the late 1970s until 1988. Based in the UK for many years, he also gives his views on the radio scene today and talks about his latest project Chelmer Radio.
Many thanks to David for sharing his memories with us in this special podcast.
Pirate.ie would like to thank all of our followers and contributors for their support in 2020. We will you all a very happy Christmas and hope for a better 2021 for everyone.
We’re delighted to announce episode #3 of the Pirate.ie podcast which explores themes covered in our growing archive of Irish pirate radio.
The 1980s can be described as the decade that Ireland changed from black and white to colour and pirate radio was very much part of that social change. While many pushed for liberalisation, conservative forces opposed moves towards opening up Irish society and pirate radio reflected such tensions. Larger commercial stations were dominated by men’s voices while women and minority groups were better represented in specialist and community radio. Community radio itself developed a more inclusive model of participation and access and even large commercial stations practised corporate social responsibility from time to time. Religion also played a key role, with several pirates representing Catholic values which were still powerful in Irish society.
In episode #3, John Walsh and Brian Greene explore the social influence of pirate radio during its heyday.
We’re delighted to announce episode #2 of the Pirate.ie podcast which explores themes covered in our growing archive of Irish pirate radio.
AM broadcasting, widely used by the pirates up to the end of the 1980s, allowed radio signals to travel far and wide beyond the borders of the state. Even small stations could be carried long distances thanks to the magic of night-time AM propagation but dozens of pirates along the border deliberately beamed their signals northwards. With 50 kW of power at its peak, the Dublin super-pirate Radio Nova aimed specifically at the northwest coast of Britain. Ireland also had many hobby shortwave pirates which could be heard thousands of miles from home.
In episode #2, John Walsh and Brian Greene explore how AM spillover, both accidental and deliberate, brought the Irish pirates to a bigger audience.
We’re delighted to announce the first episode of our new series of the Pirate.ie podcast. In this series, John Walsh and Brian Greene will discuss various aspects of Irish pirate radio history. We’ll have interviews with those who were involved in pirate radio and also bring you commentary on different types of stations from around the country.
Episode #1 is a discussion of the significance of the Irish pirate radio era of 1978-1988 which we are currently featuring in depth on Pirate.ie. The analysis is based on our recent article in the Journal of Radio and Audio Media which examined the political, economic, social, cultural and technological importance of the pirates for the Irish radio sector.