Afternoon music mix on Kandy Radio

Afternoon music mix on Kandy Radio
Kandy Radio poster (courtesy Ian Biggar).

Kandy Radio broadcast from Ballinasloe in east Galway from 1986 to 1988. This recording was made on Monday 13th October 1986 from 1320-1405 from the station’s AM frequency, 1386 kHz. Mark White is on air until 1330 and is followed by Paul Davis for the afternoon show. News is read by Tara and adverts feature local businesses in east Galway, south Roscommon and west Offaly. The music is a mixture of middle-of-the-road, country and chart hits. There is co-channel interference due to congestion on the frequency, suggesting that the recording was made outside Kandy’s core area of east Galway.

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

Kandy Radio on fair day in Ballinasloe

Kandy Radio on fair day in Ballinasloe
Kandy Radio in 1987 (courtesy Andy Archer).

Kandy Radio broadcast from the town of Ballinasloe in east Galway from the middle of 1986 until spring 1988. Serving the town and its rural hinterland, Kandy sounded very different to the slicker Galway City stations that aped the ‘hot hits’ format of the super-pirates in other cities. Kandy Radio was initially logged by Anoraks Ireland on 1386 kHz AM and 98.2 FM and although manager John McGrath said it had a radius of 30 miles, he also reported reception reports from Norway and Sweden. An Anoraks Ireland survey from November 1987 recorded a move to 1404 kHz and both 98.5 and 100.9 FM. Hours of broadcasting were 0800-1900 and there were plans for programmes 24 hours a day. A log from April 1988 recorded Kandy on 103.5 FM only and the station closed down that month.

This recording of Kandy Radio was made from 1386 kHz from 1636-1721 on Saturday 11th October 1986, country fair day in Ballinasloe. Paul Davis is on air until 5pm and says that he will be gigging later that night in Hayden’s Hotel where Irish Eurovision star Johnny Logan will also be performing. News at 5pm is read by Tara and she is followed by Steve Jones with more requests and a mix of music. There are plenty of ads for small businesses in Ballinasloe and surrounding areas and the Top 30 is donated by a local record shop. Complete with uneven audio and technical glitches, this is the authentic sound of a small town radio station from the height of the pirate era.

Kandy Radio on fair day in Ballinasloe
Original cassette label from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

The recording may have been made some distance from Ballinasloe because it suffers from co-channel interference due to congestion on 1386 kHz by both Irish and British stations. It is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

Easy listening on KLAS 98

Easy listening on KLAS 98
KLAS car sticker (Alan MacSiomoin Collection)

KLAS 98 (later Class Radio) was an easy-listening music station serving Dublin from November 1986 until the end of 1988. Set up by Hugh Hardy, founder of the popular Dublin station Radio Carousel, KLAS stood out in a market dominated by chart music pirates vying for the youth audience. Aimed more at poaching listeners from RTÉ Radio 1 than Radio 2, KLAS broadcast a range of middle-of-the-road music and also featured jazz and classical. It was was first based in a garage behind Hugh Hardy’s home in the northeastern suburb of Sutton, before moving to the city centre in 1987.

Easy listening on KLAS 98
Car sticker from 1988 (Anoraks Ireland Collection)

KLAS was later sold to businessman John May and rebranded as Class Radio. Many high-profile presenters passed through its doors including David Baker, Pat Courtenay, Bryan Lambert, Chris Barry and Suzanne Duffy. Co-founder of Pirate.ie John Walsh was also a presenter and newsreader. In 1989, Class Radio was involved in an unsuccessful application for one of the Dublin licences.

Easy listening on KLAS 98
Original cassette label from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

Our recording is of the early days of KLAS when the station was based in Sutton. It was made from 98.54 FM on Tuesday, 28th November 1986 and features Nick Adams presenting his lunchtime show and reading news. Nick would later be heard on RTÉ. Part 1 above runs from 1117-1205 and part 2 below from 1301-1349. There are plenty of agency advertisements, a sign of the promise of KLAS in its early days.

Part 2 from 1301

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

Test broadcast of Radio Free Ulster

Test broadcast of Radio Free Ulster
Front page image from The Irish Press, March 3rd 1986 (courtesy Eddie Bohan).

Radio Free Ulster was a paramilitary pirate station operated during the Loyalist general strike called for Monday March 3rd 1986. The strike was in opposition to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The station carried out test transmissions from above an illegal drinking den between Woodvale and the Shankill Road in West Belfast on Sunday March 2nd on 101 MHz FM. Radio Free Ulster broadcast throughout Monday and Tuesday afternoon before the transmitter was turned off.

The Irish government was aware of the broadcasts, which occurred at a time of high tension in Northern Ireland. The broadcasts attracted national and international attention and a chilling photo of Radio Free Ulster was featured on the front page of The Irish Press and in The Schenectady Gazette, a newspaper in upstate New York. The station was also covered in The Belfast Telegraph.

This recording is of a test broadcast and is presumably from Sunday March 2nd. Audio quality is terrible with a faint voice breaking through the crackle and hum and eventually announcing Radio Free Ulster. Loyalist marching band music is heard in the background. Thanks to Paul Buckle for the recording and to Eddie Bohan for background information and the image. For more information about stations run by paramilitary groups during the early days of the Troubles, listen here to a podcast featuring Eddie Bohan.

More Telstar Community Radio from 1986

More Telstar Community Radio from 1986
Telstar flyer from 1988 (courtesy Ian Biggar)

This is another recording of Co. Louth station Telstar Community Radio from 1986. Broadcasting from the village of Blackrock south of Dundalk, Telstar was heard across the county and beyond and held its own for eight years despite stiff competition from other local pirates.

More Telstar Community Radio from 1986
Handwritten cassette label from the Anoraks Ireland Collection

Part 1 of this recording above was made from 88.5 FM from 1222-1310 on 30th April 1986 and features the end of the show presented by station manager Ray Stone, who also reads the news. Ray is still broadcasting today on local licensed station LMFM. Part 2 below was made on the same date from 1310-1400 and features Dominic Keenan. Telstar also broadcast on 1197 kHz, announcing 250 metres.

Part 2 of the recording from 1310

This recording is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson. More material from this collection can be heard on Radiowaves and the Irish Pirate Radio Archive.