Pirate.ie proudly supports An Cailín Ciúin

Pirate.ie proudly supports An Cailín Ciúin
An Stoirm Chiúin, adapted from Q102 advert in 1985

In February 2021, the director and writer of an Irish language film to be known as Fanacht contacted Pirate.ie about using clips from our archive as ‘radio filler’. Colm Bairéad told us that the film was based on Claire Keegan’s novel Foster and set in Louth and Waterford over the summer of 1981. In order to give a flavour of local radio from that era, he said that they would like to use audio of DJs and adverts on Radio Carousel and ABC Radio from the early 1980s. We were more than happy to support this and wrote back to Colm in Irish and English with information about using or adapting the clips.

Two years later and what is now known as An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) has become a huge hit in Ireland and across the world and is the most successful Irish language film ever. It received numerous awards and was nominated for the 95th Academy Awards in the ‘International Feature Film’ category of the Oscars. An Cailín Ciúin is supported by TG4’s Cine4 scheme, an exciting initiative that has boosted several new films in Irish in recent years. Screen Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland also provided assistance. Pirate.is is proud to have contributed to the film’s success in a small way and we are delighted that Irish pirate radio audio from our archive has been heard at film festivals and cinemas throughout the world as an authentic representation of the cultural and audio history of Ireland in the 1980s.

Pirate.ie proudly supports An Cailín Ciúin

To mark the occasion, we have adapted a 1985 poster by the then new Dublin pirate station Q102, which used the tagline ‘the Quiet Storm’ in its early months on air. Q102 was the newest ‘super-pirate’ in the city, a large and professional operation that went on to enjoy commercial success until it closed down at the end of 1988 in line with new broadcasting legislation. An Cailín Ciúin is also ‘an stoirm chiúin’ – the quiet storm – that has taken the cinema world by storm and made (radio) waves in Ireland and abroad.

Déanaimid comhghairdeas ó chroí le Colm Bairéad, an léiritheoir Cleona Ní Chrualaoich agus aisteoirí agus criú uile an tsárscannáin An Cailín Ciúin. Tá ‘stoirm chiúin’ spreagtha agaibh i saol na scannánaíochta agus na Gaeilge in Éirinn agus ar fud na cruinne agus táimid fíorbhródúil asaibh.  

Friday night on Waterford’s ABC

Friday night on Waterford's ABC
ABC studio in 1985 (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

This recording of Waterford station ABC was made on a Friday evening in late 1985 and features Roddie Cleere on air. The tape begins with the final section of the Golden Hour and is followed by the start of two hours of love songs. There is a competition for passes to a local disco and plenty of requests from listeners looking forward to the weekend. Roddie also reads news at the top of the hour. He has had a long radio career in the southwest since the pirate era and is currently heard on Kilkenny/Carlow station KCLR FM.

Our tape was recorded on 8th November 1985, presumably from 101 FM, ABC’s Waterford City transmitter. 1026 kHz AM is mentioned on the cassette label but this is a stereo recording. It is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

Sunday afternoon on Waterford’s ABC

Sunday afternoon on Waterford's ABC
Selection of ABC car stickers (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

Although largely playing chart music, this recording gives a sense of some of the diversity of weekend programming on Waterford station ABC. It includes Russ Padmore presenting the American Top 40 and Billy Power with a country music programme. News at 6pm is also read by Russ Padmore and there are plenty of adverts for local businesses and national brands. Russ is clearly burning the candle at both ends because he is to return at 1am for the night shift. He is now a journalist with BBC World Service. Billy Power went on to present a country show on rival Waterford station Crystal City Sound.

Sunday afternoon on Waterford's ABC
Original label from Anoraks Ireland Collection – note incorrect times and wrong name of country presenter.

Our tape was made from 1026 kHz AM from 1735-1820 on Sunday 5th May 1985 and was recorded in Kilkenny, some distance from the transmitter. It is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

Breakfast on Waterford’s ABC

Breakfast on Waterford's ABC
Richard Staines (aka Steve Silby) at another Waterford station Suirside Radio (courtesy DX Archive).

By the mid 1980s ABC was well established as one of the leading stations in Waterford and covered the southeast on a network of transmitters on AM and FM. This recording is of the breakfast show hosted by Richard Staines (aka Steve Silby), one of the many English DJs involved in the station. The programme includes the ‘Bits and Pieces’ competition to guess clips from chart hits, the ‘Memory Module’ oldies section and a quiz featuring software transmission sounds made by an early generation of home computers. Among the many adverts is a promotion for the ABC 3rd birthday party and outside broadcast coming up the following weekend. News on the hour is read by Steve himself.

Breakfast on Waterford's ABC
Original cassette label from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

Our tape was made from 101 FM on Wednesday 6th March 1985. Part 1 above runs from 0748-0836 and Part 2 below from 0836-0924.

Part 2 from 0836.

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

Stuart Clark on ABC Tramore

Stuart Clark on ABC Tramore
Stuart Clark in the ABC caravan in 1983 (courtesy DX Archive).

This is a recording of another of the founders of Waterford super-pirate ABC on the occasion of its 40th anniversary in March 2022. Stuart Clark was one of four English DJs with experience of the offshore or pirate scene who came to Ireland in early 1982 planning to set up a station somewhere in the southeast. The others were Andy Ellis, Clive Derek and Kevin Turner, who had previous local experience on Suirside Radio, and the four began testing from Tramore near Waterford City on March 1st 1982, with ABC launched two days later.

Stuart Clark on ABC Tramore
A view of the caravan and mast from 1982 (courtesy Brian Kennedy).

Part 1 of the recording above runs from 0749-0836 on 31st March 1982 and includes news ‘from Dublin’at 0800 which is in fact a recording of the 0730 RTÉ bulletin! Most pirates based their news directly on RTÉ and some occasionally rebroadcast bulletins but as the scene became more professional, ABC and other stations went on to develop respectable news services of their own. Part 2 below runs from 0849-0928 and includes Stuart himself reading the news. Both were made from 729 kHz AM in Waterford City and signal strength is fair as the receiver was at the edge of the small coverage area.

Part 2 from 0849.

After ABC, Stuart went on to work with other Irish pirates such as Hits 954 in Limerick. He has remained a close watcher of the pirate and radio scene over the years and is currently deputy editor of Hot Press magazine. Another ABC DJ, Steve Silby, shared his memories in the Radio Blaa Blaa book:

I don’t think ABC had a ‘mission’. It started on a wing and a prayer and stayed that way until the end, but behind it was a force of talented broadcasters who kept the show on the road no matter what. There were lots of technical firsts – live broadcasts from surrounding towns and one particular live broadcast direct from a roller coaster! In many ways ABC was different from most other stations in the country. It was a pirate run initially by imported radio fanatics who had deep links to UK commercial radio with stations like Radio Caroline and Laser 558 that had turned European broadcasting on its head – and all this knowledge was brought to Waterford City. Most of the time ABC sounded bloody great.

Thanks to Ian Biggar and DX Archive for the recording and to Brian Kennedy, author of Radio Blaa Blaa, for permission to use the quotation and photo.