AMS (Astra Media Services) was a Kilkenny station broadcasting from 18th October 1987 until 31st December 1988, when it closed down along with the vast majority of the Irish pirates. AMS broadcast from 0745-2400 daily, offering a mainstream service during the day with specialist programming at night.
This recording was made in November 1987, a few weeks after AMS was launched. In Part 1 above, Paul Madigan refers to the ‘new sound of Kilkenny’ and presents his evening mix of chart music and oldies. There is a healthy number of adverts for local businesses, including several in the Arcade in High Street, where AMS was located. Part 2 below is of station manager Séamaí B. (Séamus Brennan), with the nightly Irish hour. In a reminder of the influence of religion in 1980s Ireland, he tells listeners that they can attend evening Mass in Kilkenny because of the holy day of obligation. Audio quality ranges from fair to poor, with distortion and hum at times.
Part 1 runs from 1745-1833 and Part 2 from 1900-1946 on 2nd November 1987. The tape was recorded from 98.6 FM and is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.
Laois Community Radio (LCR) broadcast from early 1982 for six years from the town of Mountrath, closing down on 31st December 1988 along with the vast majority of the other pirate stations. This recording was made on Christmas Day 1987 and features Jimmy Hayes with the Nashville Sound show. The music is country and bluegrass and there are Christmas requests and a promo urging listeners to support the businesses advertising on LCR. At the time, the station broadcast daily from 9am to 11pm on 1242 kHz and on 101.5 and 102 FM.
The recording was made from one of LCR’s two FM frequencies from 1713-1800 (the times on the label are incorrect) on 25th December 1987. It is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated by Paul Davidson.
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.