There is relatively little coverage of Radio Star Country in local press in Co. Monaghan after the initial warnings and raids in the early 1990s. One bone of contention locally was the relationship between the small number of pirates that remained on the air and the new licensed local station. The licence for Counties Cavan and Monaghan was awarded to Northern Sound Radio, and there are occasional reports about the perceived threat posed by the pirates to the new independent station. The Northern Standard on 7th January 1993 reported a claim that the pirates were damaging Northern Sound’s revenue. On 28th January, the paper carried a report that a meeting of the County Council was told that there were still two pirates on air in Co. Monaghan. However, the Standard itself carried an advertisement for Radio Star Country’s religious programme, ‘Showers of Blessings’, on 6th May 1993, the first of many over the years.
There have been sporadic references over the years in local press to Radio Star Country, often in relation to the station’s involvement in local events, awards or concerts or in the form of advertisements for the growing number of religious programmes. On 17th July 1997, the Anglo-Celt newspaper in Co. Cavan reported that Radio Star Country was presenting the Ulster Line Dancing Championships, reflecting a popular musical trend at the time. In March 1998, the Northern Standard reported that Radio Star DJs appeared at heats of the Blackwater Talent Contest in northern Monaghan. On 13th May 1999, the Standard carried an advert for another Christian programme on Radio Star Country and exactly a year later on 13th May 2000, another advert referred to station DJs at the Cookstown Gala Night in Co. Armagh. Similarly, the Standard of 13th March 2003 reported that Radio Star Country would provide live coverage of a Special Olympics World Games benefit night from the Lakeside Hotel, Monaghan. On 7th February 2008, there was a report in the Standard that the Radio Star Music Award would be presented to local musician Tony Cannon at a concert in the Kelly’s Inn Hotel in Omagh. From 2014, the Northern Standard reported an annual live broadcast by Radio Star Country from a vintage rally in Clontibret, Co. Monaghan. On 10th September 2015, the newspaper reported that Monaghan Vintage Club thanked Radio Star Country, Northern Sound and the Standard for promoting their event – the ironic equivalence between the different types of local media apparently unnoticed!
This recording of Radio Star Country was made on 11th May 1999, more than a decade after the Monaghan station first defied the new broadcasting laws that were supposed to silence the pirates. On air is Country Girl Claire, who continues to broadcast on the station to this day. News on the hour is from INN in Britain and the recording also includes a Radio Star Country noticeboard. Part 1 of the tape above runs from 1003 and Part 2 below from 1048.
The tape was made by Rodney Neill from 981 kHz AM. Many thanks to Ian Biggar for the donation.