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.
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.
Phoenix Radio broadcast from Foxrock in south Co. Dublin for about a year from late 1986 to November 1987. With the strap line ‘your south Dublin station’, Phoenix emerged from various low powered hobby pirates set up by Locky Butler. Phoenix played mostly chart hits and despite a youthful staff, the station aimed for a professional sound. A November 1986 listing from Anoraks Ireland logged Phoenix on 1116 kHz AM and 99.14 FM in stereo with broadcasting hours from 0830-0030 daily. In July 1987, Anoraks Ireland logged it on 94.24 FM only with broadcasting hours of 0700-0100. Phoenix was ordered to close down by the Department of Communications in November 1987 but was relaunched as CAU FM a few hours later from a new transmission site.
This recording is from 107 FM on the 5th of April 1987 and begins shortly before 2pm with Stephen Davitt signing off and handing over to Derek Hansen. Audio quality is wobbly in places due to a degraded cassette and for that reason, the recording is partly edited.
This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.
Shannonside Community Radio was a short-lived pirate broadcasting to Limerick city in 1987. Information about the station is scant but it appears that it started around February of that year and broadcast on 97.5 FM with an address at 37 Catherine Street in the city centre.
The first recording above is a series of airchecks and is undated, but estimated to be from March 1987. DJs include Leonard Scott, Mark Young and Johnny Reggae (John Dronay), who had previously worked on popular Limerick pirate Big L. Aspiring DJs are asked to send a demo tape to the station. The second recording below is from 2nd March 1987 and begins with the Wonderworth sponsored programme, presented by Johnny Reggae. Other DJs are Mike Patton and Liz Dronay, who possibly had a connection with John.
There was plenty of competition in the Limerick radio market in early 1987. The bigger stations were Sound Channel and City Centre Radio, both aimed at younger listeners, and Raidió Luimní which focused on speech content and music for older cohorts. Shannonside Community Radio does not feature in listings by Anoraks Ireland from July 1987 so it appears that it lasted only a few months. It is not to be confused with the similarly named Shannonside Local Radio, that broadcast from north Kerry from 1987-1988.
These recordings are from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.
Swinging Radio Impulse was a hobby station specialising in oldies. On air in 1987 and 1988, it broadcast at night and at weekends on 95.89 FM from Galway city centre with just 5 watts of power. This recording from 2044-2130 on 21st November 1987 features the late John Steele (on-air name Carl Turner) presenting a live show. There’s a real hobby feel to the programme with plenty of reverb in idents and even live voiceovers. John also mocks the midlands station Radio West which was then available on a local Galway relay and there’s a request for the late Keith York of large Galway station Coast 103.
This recording is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.
Swinging Radio Impulse (SRI) was a small hobby pirate station broadcasting from Galway city centre in 1987 and 1988. It was run by the late John Steele (on-air name Carl Turner), who had a large vinyl collection and was something of an authority on various musical styles from the 1950s on. SRI dubbed itself ‘Ireland’s only oldies station’ and was on air mostly in the evenings and at weekends. Precise dates are unknown, but in July 1987 Anoraks Ireland listed a ‘Radio Impulse’ on 95.3 or 96.1 FM in Galway and Swinging Radio Impulse was logged in an Anoraks UK Weekly Report in November that year. It’s not clear when the station closed down. An Anoraks Ireland survey from November 1987 recorded that SRI broadcast on 95.89 FM in mono, announcing 96, with a power of just 5 watts from a house in Bohermore, Galway city centre. Broadcasting hours were 2100-0100 during the week, 0900-1500 on Saturday and 1100-1700 on Sunday.
This recording was made on 10th November 1987 from 0026-0100 and features Carl Turner with what appears to be a pre-recorded programme for the first half-hour. Audio quality is poor with a lot of hiss but improves when programming goes live. There is an American advert for Old Spice shampoo from the 1960s and music is interspersed with home-made and generic station idents. A promo for Anoraks Ireland is voiced by a young John Walsh, co-founder of Pirate.ie.
Carl Turner also presented an oldies programme on Sunday mornings on commercial Galway station Coast 103. He was also an active member of Galway Radio Club. Thanks to Ciaran McCarthy and Shane Martin for background information. This recording is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.