Centre Radio in Bayside was one of the last stations to close at midnight on New Year’s Eve 1988. Rumours abounded that Radio Dublin was going to defy the new legislation and continue broadcasting so early on the morning of the 31st December, Bobby Gibbson (Brian Greene) decided to call Radio Dublin live on air. In this recording, he speaks to breakfast presenter Robbie Prior who says all presenters have been told that this is their final day. However he adds that station owner Eamon Cooke could well have something up his sleeve. The recording includes poor quality live audio from Radio Dublin’s AM broadcast on 1188 kHz.
The Dublin pirates were not all about pop and some stations served niche audiences or specific demographics. One station playing easy listening and classical music was KLAS which broadcast on 98.5 FM from late 1986 until the end of 1988. The station was established by Radio Carousel boss Hugh Hardy from his home in the suburb of Sutton but after a change in management it changed its name slightly to Class Radio and moved to the city centre.
This recording features the initial set of KLAS jingles. More information about KLAS is available here.
On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era. Here RTÉ broadcaster Bryan Dobson tells Leigh McGowran about his times in Southside Radio and Radio Nova in the early 1980s.
Radio Dublin was the longest running pirate station in Ireland, on air in various guises from 1966 until 2003. It was raided on numerous occasions and was one of a handful of stations to defy the deadline of New Year’s Eve 1988. In its earliest incarnation, it broadcast as Raidió Bhaile Átha Cliath every Sunday afternoon from the home of Ken Sheehan. In this interview from 1985, Mike Anderson of shortwave pirate Radio Valleri interviews Ken Sheehan about his involvement in the establishment of Radio Dublin, his views of the station in 1985 and of the pirate radio scene in general at that time.
Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB) was one of the leading community broadcasters of the 1980s and put out a strong signal on 657 kHz AM from Bray in Co. Wicklow. In this promo from 1987 which includes the voice of Minister for Communications Jim Mitchell, BLB extols the virtues of community radio in anticipation of the new licences. Although many of those involved in BLB were behind the licensed Horizon Radio in 1989, that station was to merge with another more commercially-focused broadcaster in Wicklow and community radio proper was not licensed until the mid 1990s. You can read more about Horizon Radio on the Wireless Flirt blog.