Ken Regis on Cork City Local Radio

Ken Regis on Cork City Local Radio
L-R: CCLR veterans Jill St Clair (Trish Deeney), Ken Regis (O’Sullivan), Rob Richards (Allen) & Eric Hansen (John Creedon) in 2015 (courtesy Ken O’Sullivan).

We’re very grateful to Ken O’Sullivan for his donations of recordings of Cork City Local Radio (CCLR). The first recording was made on 24th April 1983 from 95.5 FM in stereo and features Ken Regis, as he was known on air, with a Sunday afternoon requests show. There’s also a pretty tough competition with a prize of a box of chocolates up for grabs. Some of the recording is airchecked and there’s a bit of wobble on the 40-year old cassette.

The recording below is of Ken Regis on 19th March 1983 from 1555 from 95.5 FM. It begins with adverts for local businesses around Cork and a generic sung jingle. There’s also a radio-related competition and interestingly, the show is being taped for a listener in Galway. Sound quality is fair due to the wobbly cassette.

The final recording features Ken in the early evening of 22nd May 1983 and is again from 95.5 FM. There’s a reference to a petition to support local radio in Cork, a reflection of the raids on Dublin stations a few days previously. Adverts are a mixture of pre-records and live-reads and once again the tape is showing its age.

Rónán Ó Dubhthaigh (RIP) on Bray Local Broadcasting

Rónán Ó Dubhthaigh (RIP) on Bray Local Broadcasting
Rónán Ó Dubhthaigh (top left) at the launch of Raidió na Life in 1993 (courtesy Saol/Raidió na Life).

We were saddened to learn of the death on 17th November 2021 of Rónán Ó Dubhthaigh, a pioneering broadcaster with Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB) in the 1980s. After developing Irish language programmes on BLB, Rónán went on to be the manager of the licensed Irish language station Raidió na Life in 1993.

BLB was one of the leaders in local community broadcasting during the pirate era and played a key role in the National Association of Community Broadcasters (NACB) which lobbied for licensed community radio. It began broadcasting in 1979 and continued until the closedowns at the end of 1988, making it one of the country’s longest-running pirate stations. As a community station, BLB prided itself on catering for minority groups and audiences served poorly by mainstream radio, including Irish speakers in its catchment area of north Wicklow and south Dublin. Irish was marginal on pirate radio, particularly among commercial stations, but community radio across the country regularly broadcast programmes in Irish. There were also Irish language pirate stations such as Saor-Raidió Chonamara in the Connemara Gaeltacht in 1970 (which led to the establishment of Raidió na Gaeltachta) and Raidió an Phobail in Dublin in 1979.

Rónán Ó Dubhthaigh (RIP) on Bray Local Broadcasting
BLB car sticker (courtesy of DX Archive).

Mar stáisiún pobail, chuir BLB roimhe freastal ar ghrúpaí mionlaigh agus daoine nach raibh freastal mar is ceart á dhéanamh orthu ag na stáisiúin mhóra raidió, ina measc cainteoirí Gaeilge i dtuaisceart Chill Mhantáin agus deisceart Bhaile Átha Cliath. Bhí an Ghaeilge imeallach ar an raidió bradach, go háirithe ar na stáisiúin tráchtála, ach craoladh cláracha Gaeilge ar stáisiúin raidió pobail ar fud na tíre. Bhí stáisiúin bhradacha Ghaeilge ann chomh maith, ina measc Saor-Radio Chonamara i nGaeltacht Chonamara in 1970 (a thug ann do Raidió na Gaeltachta) agus Raidió an Phobail i mBaile Átha Cliath in 1979.

This is an extract from the final half hour (2030-2100) of one of BLB’s Irish language programmes Timchuairt Bhré (a trip around Bray), presented by Rónán Ó Dubhthaigh on 9th November 1983. Rónán went on to present Irish language programmes on the successor licensed station to BLB, Horizon Radio (John Walsh of Pirate.ie also worked on those programmes) and he became the first manager of the licensed Raidió na Life in 1993. The recording features Irish traditional and folk music and is followed by the station closedown at 2100.

Seo í an leathuair an chloig deireanach (2030-2100) de cheann de chláracha Gaeilge BLB, Timchuairt Bhré, á chur i láthair ag Rónán Ó Dubhthaigh ar 9 Samhain 1983. Lean Rónán air ag cur cláracha Gaeilge i láthair ar Horizon Radio, an stáisiún ceadúnaithe a tháinig i gcomharbacht ar BLB. D’oibrigh John Walsh ó Pirate.ie ar na cláracha sin chomh maith. Ceapadh Rónán ina chéad bhainisteoir ar an stáisiún ceadúnaithe Raidió na Life in 1993. Ar an taifeadadh seo, cloistear ceol Gaelach agus traidisiúnta agus ina dhiaidh sin dúntar an stáisiún ar 2100.

Rónán Ó Dubhthaigh (RIP) on Bray Local Broadcasting
9 Prince of Wales Terrace, Quinsboro Road, Bray from where BLB broadcast in its later years. Horizon Radio was also based here (photo by John Walsh).

This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

More Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria

More Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria
Tom Hardy on the day of the Radio Nova raid, 18th May 1983 (courtesy Joe King).

This is another recording of Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria on 828 kHz AM from 0915-0945 on 30th June 1983. Tom Hardy is on air and features include the Nova Jobspot advertising current employment vacancies around town. The late Bob Gallico reads news headlines at half past the hour. There are plenty of agency ads and promos for the Radio Nova Puma 10K race and for a Nova news hotline which has just been launched. Reception is fair but Nova was operating on reduced power at this time following the raid the previous month.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria

Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria
Colm Hayes at the Nova raid in May 1983 (courtesy Joe King).

Radio Nova courted listeners on the west coast of Britain throughout its five-year existence from 1981-1986. By the spring of 1983, it had a 10 kW transmitter in operation on 819 kHz, with a 50 kW rig ready to go into service. Expansion plans were set back by the infamous raid of 18th Mary 1983, and when it returned to the air, Nova operated on lower power for a while and switched frequencies between 828 kHz and 819 kHz.

This recording was made from 828 kHz AM in Cumbria on 29th June 1983 from 2045-2115. Colm Hayes is on air announcing AM only, because Nova’s 88 FM frequency was at this time used for an specialist service called Super Nova every evening. News is read by David Malone. Reception is reasonably strong but noticeably weaker than in other periods and it would be autumn 1983 before Nova resumed high-power broadcasting on AM.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Non-stop Radio Annabel

Non-stop Radio Annabel
Part of a letter sent by Gerard Roe to Brian and Dónal Greene in 1985.

Here’s another recording of Dublin pirate station Radio Annabel made from 98.1 FM on 20th September 1983. The station also broadcast on 1035 kHz AM at this time. Continuous music with jingles and stations idents are heard. There are no timechecks, so this could be an automated show, possibly for broadcast overnight. Radio Annabel was one of the smaller Dublin pirates of the early 1980s, broadcasting from Parnell Square in the north inner-city from 1983 to 1985.

Thanks to Shay Geoghegan for the donation.