Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 (13 April 1983)

Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 (13 April 1983)
Rear of Radio Dublin studios in Inchicore (courtesy DX Archive).

This is another Free Radio Campaign (FRC) programme presented by Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 in April 1983. The FRC includes a recording of the launch of Channel 2 three years previously in April 1981. Gerard plays a tape of the Community Broadcasting Cooperative (CBC) announcing a summer schedule of temporary stations for Sandymount, Ringsend, Mount Merrion, Wicklow, Ashbourne, Rathcairn, Glasnevin and Donnybrook. He informs listeners that a senior source in Radio Leinster has said the station will close in a few weeks due to financial difficulties – that would prove to be a prescient warning. There’s also part of a BBC history of pop radio including offshore stations and a report from UK radio magazine Airspec News on the Irish scene. A listener to the shortwave relay in Belfast writes in to say that the 1983 World Radio and TV Handbook includes the Irish pirates for the first time.

Once again there is bleedthrough from Radio Dublin Channel 1, meaning that audio quality is poor in places. This tape was made from 1152 kHz, announced at 269 metres, from 2000-2108 on 13th April 1983. It is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson. Listen here to Pirate.ie Podcast #10 featuring our interview with Gerard Roe about his memories of pirate radio.

Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 (6 April 1983)

Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 (6 April 1983)
Radio Dublin Channel 2 studio (courtesy Gerard Roe).

This edition of Gerard Roe’s Free Radio Campaign (FRC) show on Radio Dublin Channel 2 from 1983 includes a recording of Olwen Dixon of Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB) outlining the philosophy of community radio, as heard on Concord Community Radio in north Dublin. Both stations were strongly associated with the growing community radio movement and would later lead the National Association of Community Broadcasters (NACB). The show also features a recording of new station Finglas Community Radio. Gerard notes that Channel 2 has been off FM for the previous two weeks due to poor weather conditions but reminds listeners that the FRC would be repeated on Westside Radio International on shortwave on Sunday morning.

The tape was made on 6th April 1983 from 2000-2108 from 1152 kHz, announced as 269 metres although that wavelength equates to 1116. Audio quality is poor in places due to bleedthrough from the main Radio Dublin channel. This recording is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

Listen here to Pirate.ie Podcast #10 featuring our interview with Gerard Roe about his memories of pirate radio.

Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 (15 December 1982)

Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 (15 December 1982)
Radio Dublin in Inchicore c. 1985 (courtesy Andy Carter).

Gerard Roe presented the Free Radio Campaign (FRC) show on Radio Dublin Channel 2 from 1982-1984. The FRC quickly became popular with watchers of the Irish radio scene at home and abroad. It was broadcast on a Wednesday evening from 2000-2100 on Channel 2 and repeated on Sunday morning from 1100-1200 on the shortwave station Westside Radio International.

This edition of the FRC begins with Gerard’s usual recap of news items from a year before, when many Dublin stations were off the air due to a snow storm. Gerard notes that Big D is back on AM after a break and plays a recording of a discussion about local radio between James Dillon of Big D and Jim Kemmy of Radio 257 on 1st January 1980. There is news about the offshore Radio Caroline and Dublin pirates using the same name and KELO is said to be behind the relay of Radio Nova on 298 metres. The start of Christmas station Radio Snowflake on 199 metres is also noted.

Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 (15 December 1982)
Original cassette label from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

Channel 2 was established in April 1982 on FM only as a specialist opt-out service from Radio Dublin. It began on FM only but later added AM. There were technical problems due to lack of investment and poor audio quality because of bleedthrough from the powerful transmiters in close proximity. The signal was often weak on AM and FM was limited to the Inchicore area. Interference from Radio Dublin Channel 1 can be heard clearly on this recording, which was made from 98.8 FM from 2001-2110 on 15th December 1982.

This recording is from the Anoraks Ireland Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson. Listen here to Pirate.ie Podcast #10 featuring our interview with Gerard Roe about his memories of pirate radio.

Last night of Galway station WLS

Last night of Galway station WLS
WLS studios at Prospect Hill, 1986 (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

This unconfirmed recording may be part of the final night of broadcasting of Galway pirate WLS Music Radio. The cassette label refers to ‘last night’ but it is not clear from the recording that this is the case. It begins at either midnight or 1am as the unidentified DJ refers to both. He sarcastically thanks Brian Mackay for letting disco music run on without waiting for him to arrive, perhaps an indication that things were not well at WLS.

Last night of Galway station WLS
Part of original cassette label from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

If this is in fact the final night, it would date from sometime in the second half of June 1987. The Anoraks UK Weekly Report of 28th June said it had received several reports during the previous week that WLS was off the air. It repeated a claim made on the Anoraks Show on Radio West that ‘an irate WLS investor arrived at the studios and seeing no immediate return forthcoming for his investment, proceeded to remove first transmitters, then studio equipment’. The Galway City Tribune on 3rd July reported that WLS had been off the air for the previous two weeks and its premises emptied of equipment. The owner of the premises at Prospect House where the station was located said he arrived on Monday morning to find the lock broken, the door ajar and everything gone. Manager Don Stevens was unavailable for comment and had left Galway. The City Tribune on 10th July reported that a listener who had won £1,000 in a phone-in competition in May was never paid by WLS.

Whatever about the circumstances of its closure, WLS established a slick on-air sound over its more than two years on air and changed the nature of pirate radio in Galway city. WLS developed a commercial model similar to the ‘super-pirates’ in other cities and a style that would influence subsequent stations. Indeed, two founders of WLS, Steve Marshall and Keith York, went on to set up Coast 103, another successful Galway pirate that broadcast from July 1987 to December 1988. However, despite a high quality FM signal for its time on air, WLS still managed to cause interference to television reception in the city, which led to RTÉ being granted an injunction against it.

Steve Marshall and Richie O’Shea on WLS

Steve Marshall and Richie O'Shea on WLS
WLS letterhead from 1986 (courtesy Ian Biggar).

This recording of Galway pirate WLS was made towards the end of the station’s life in June 1987. It begins with the end of Steve Marshall’s show and a promo for the Solid Gold Sunday programme with Don Stevens. The top-of-the-hour ident mentions ‘VHF stereo’ only as AM had been discontinued at this time. Steve is followed by Richie O’Shea from midday who mentions a £1,000 giveaway. Commercials include local businesses and agency adverts. The sound is tight with good music and slick jingles but WLS would be gone within the next few weeks.

Steve Marshall and Richie O'Shea on WLS
Cassette label from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

Made on 4th June 1987, part 1 above runs from 1150-1238 and part 2 below from 1238-1326. The tape was recorded from 96.4 FM in stereo with excellent audio quality.

Part 2 from 1238.

This recording is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.