ARD and Big D on New Year’s Eve 1979

ARD and Big D on New Year's Eve 1979
ARD flyer (courtesy DX Archive).

The late 1970s was a key period of growth for pirate radio in Dublin, with hot competition developing between Radio Dublin and rival breakaway stations ARD and the Big D. This recording from the medium wave band on 31st December 1979 gives a flavour of how the pirates rang in the new decade that would prove so crucial for Irish radio. It runs from 2351-0035 and switches between ARD on 273 metres, which was due to close down that night, and the Big D on 273 metres.

Paul Vincent winds down ARD in the company of the late Dave C and financial backer Bernard Llewellyn, who explains that the station is closing down in order to apply for a licence. Optimistically, he predicts that local radio will be legalised by June 1980. The late Don Moore, who invited Llewellyn into ARD, is also heard in the background and one of the DJs to say his goodbyes is none other than Ian Dempsey. ARD left the airwaves just after half past midnight but pretty much everyone involved in it – bar Llewellyn – returned in the form of Radio 257 within a few days.

The recording also includes snippets of the Big D’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, including a scratchy phone connection with Dennis Murray who is in the company of drunker revellers in the city centre. We thank Shay Geoghegan for his donation.

Disco hits and requests on CBC

Disco hits and requests on CBC
L-R: Alan Edwards, Pete Andrews and Tony Allen at CBC, January 1979 (courtesy Lillian O’Donoghue).

Our final recording of CBC is of Alan Edwards on 21st August 1979. It is a partial aircheck of his show from 1930-2130 and begins with Alan thanking Noel Evans (aka Welch) who was on air before him. Of interest are the live-read and pre-recorded adverts for various businesses including Greg Anthony Fashions, Adam and Eve’s Restaurant and Cork Joinery. Requests include one ‘for the girl in the green blouse from the dancer’ at the Ballyphehane disco and another for ‘Miss Ballinacurra’, a village near Cork. People from Blackrock are asked to ring in requests and they duly do so, followed by listeners in Douglas and then Farranree. The next DJ Conor O’Sullivan can’t make it because he has no transport so Alan announces that CBC is to close down at 2130. At the end of the recording is an advert for the ‘Alan Edwards disco roadshow’, a sign of how pirate DJs relied on gigging around town to make ends meet. There’s also a request for Lillian McCarthy (O’Donoghue) and the recording is followed by two personal messages recorded for Lillian by Alan and Noel.  The music is fantastic and Alan is an enthusiastic DJ who clearly has many loyal listeners.

As often happens in the world of pirate radio, there was a split in the CBC ranks which led to Stevie Bolger and Con McParland starting Alternative Broadcasting Cork (ABC) from the same building that originally housed CBC in Montenotte. ABC began testing in July 1978 on an announced 233 metres. This station continued into 1979, but again a split from ABC led to the formation of Capital Radio which was on air until 1982. Stevie went on to work with RTÉ Cork Local Radio. Thanks as ever to Lillian O’Donoghue for the photo and recording and to Gearóid Quill and Ian Biggar for background information.

Susan James spins the hits on CBC

Susan James spins the hits on CBC
CBC DJs Joe Horgan, Barry Jones, Noel Evans, John Dolan, Gratton Woods, Luke Ward and Steve Taylor (courtesy Lillian O’Donoghue).

This is a recording of Susan James (O’Connor) on CBC on Friday 3rd August 1979 from 2009-2051. The station was on 1394 kHz at the time, announcing 230 metres. As well as spinning the latest hits and her favourite classics, Susan reads a live advert for Seán Jennings’ carpet shop and plugs Tom Duffy’s circus and other local events. It’s a lively, upbeat show from a woman DJ, a rarity in the pirate era. Unfortunately Susan isn’t in the group photo above, which was taken in August 1979.

Thanks to John Breslin for the donation.

Cork’s Top 40 on CBC

Cork's Top 40 on CBC
Lillian McCarthy with Luke Ward in August 1979 (courtesy of Lillian).

This recording of the Cork Broadcasting Company (CBC) was made on 24th July 1979 and features various DJs. Luke Ward is heard first, inviting entries into his quiz and signing off at the end of his show. The station is located in Patrick’s Quay at this time.

Luke is followed by the lunchtime show with Pete Andrews (O’Neill) who introduces Cork’s Top 40. The number one record is ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ by the Boomtown Rats. The final DJ is Ed Harris.

Thanks again to Lillian O’Donoghue for the donation.

Alan Edwards celebrates one year on CBC

Alan Edwards celebrates one year on CBC
Alan Edwards in the CBC studio in May 1979 (courtesy Lillian O’Donoghue).

This recording of Alan Edwards was made on 1st July 1979, a year to the day after he began working at CBC. Alan plays snippets from his first show on 1st July 1978 and comments on the difference in his voice over the past year. A birthday cake was delivered to the station by a loyal fan and Alan and his producer tuck in between records. It is announced that the station will close at 10pm instead of midnight because Barry Jones won’t be in for his show.

In the 1978 recording CBC’s frequency is given as 1327.52 kHz which is equivalent to almost 226 metres rather than the announced 230 metres. A year later, Alan announces 1303 kHz which is equivalent to 230 metres. This is a 40+ year-old cassette recorded from AM, with the 1978 inserts themselves recorded from AM, so audio quality is poor throughout. The recording above starts at around 7.30pm and is a partial aircheck. The recording below starts just before 9pm. Thanks to Lillian O’Donoghue for the donation.

Part 2 of the Alan Edwards show.