Pirate Pioneers: early Radio Dublin jingles (update)

Pirate Pioneers: early Radio Dublin jingles (update)
Original demo tape box for Big D jingles (courtesy of Kieran Murray).

A few weeks ago, we featured the first Radio Dublin jingle package courtesy of Kieran Murray. Kieran has been researching the background to this package and has sent us the following report.

Radio Dublin was the very first pirate radio station in Ireland to play jingles. I heard these myself at the time. The jingles played on air referred to ‘WDEE – The Big D’. At that time, Radio Dublin used the tag line ‘The Big D’. So, having managed to locate my copy the Radio Dublin Jingles (The Big D) from the early 1970s, I set about trying to locate the original master recordings – the source of these iconic jingles – and also to find out a bit more about their origin and where they came from.

My search took me to jingle expert Norman Barrington. I downloaded his jingle database and set about searching for a radio station that used the call-sign ‘WDEE’ (you can hear this clearly on those jingles used by Radio Dublin in the early 1970s). Within a short time, I identified a set of jingles with just one listing on the jingle database matching ‘WDEE’. It transpires that a jingle company called SPOT Productions (located in Fort Worth, Texas, USA) was one of many jingle companies around that time that used to send out 5″ demo tape reels to various radio stations, touting for (jingle) business.

Pirate Pioneers: early Radio Dublin jingles (update)
Image from Radio Dublin history published in 1972 with Big D tagline (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

The reels were generally recorded in mono, as they were only intended as a demo and also because most broadcast stations in the USA at that time were on AM. SPOT may have sent this particular ‘WDEE’ jingle demo to lots of radio stations and it is not even certain that WDEE-AM 1500 (a country music station in Detroit, USA, from 1969 to 1980) ever received a copy of this demo or even ordered a jingle package from SPOT.

Thanks to Bryan Lambert, I can now reveal what happened that 5″ jingle tape reel. He takes up the story:

‘It was Mark T. (Mark Story) who gave that tape reel to me as a present several years ago. The reel travelled to Wexford with me between 1992 and 2001 where I transferred it to cassette. The reel remained in the filing cabinet I used at South East Radio with my carts and some other tapes. I’m sorry to say I left all of these behind me so they were all probably thrown out after I went home to Dublin when my father became ill in 2001’.

So, now you know what happened to that jingle tape reel. However, the mystery continues. How did that 5″ demo tape reel from SPOT Productions, manage to make its way over to Ireland? Who brought this reel over? How come Radio Dublin chose to use this tape as their jingle ID? Plus … how did Mark T. (Mark Story) get possession of this demo tape reel?


Kieran Murray (April 2021)


Photo – SPOT Productions original demo tape box: http://www.normanb.net/

Jingle Master Copy, WDEE Jingles Demo: http://www.normanb.net/

History of WDEE: https://www.early70sradio.com/2011/09/station-spotlight-wdee-in-detroit.html

Aircheck of WDEE-AM 1500  (1971, Tom Dean): https://www.mcrfb.com/?p=55840 (you can hear the Big D jingles being used here).