Panel: Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB)

Panel: Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB)
BLB car sticker (courtesy DX Archive)

Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB) was a pioneer in Irish community radio and spent almost ten years on air from 1979 to 1988. Based in the north Wicklow town, it focused on local speech content and specialist music in contrast with other stations broadcasting pop music. BLB’s innovative approach inspired other stations in Ireland and it also attracted interest in community radio circles abroad. The station broadcast on AM (837 kHz and later 657) and FM and could be heard well beyond Bray in its later years. You can read more about BLB here.

This fascinating panel discussion features three founding members of BLB: Mark Quinn, Michael Gray and Doug Bel-Maguire. The interviewer is Eolann Aitken.

Interview: Kildare pirates

Despite its proximity to Dublin, Kildare had its own pirate stations down the years, including Radio Cill Dara (Naas) and KLB Community Radio (Newbridge). In this interview, Liam Kett and Anthony McAllister recall their involvement in both stations as well as a stint spent at Radio Dublin.

Radio Cill Dara broadcast from 1978-1983 on AM only (270m/1107 kHz). KLB was on air from 1983-1988 and broadcast on both AM (1224 kHz) and FM.

Liam and Anthony recall in the early years that there were fall-back transmitters and premises across the county in the case of raids. They also tell us that high-profile current RTÉ broadcasters Ray D’Arcy and Ronan Collins both cut their teeth in the Kildare stations. Liam Kett is now a presenter on the local Kildare station KFM. The interviewer is Eolann Aitken.

Promo: ‘Shout to the Top’ on Bray Local Broadcasting

Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB) was one of the leading community broadcasters of the 1980s and put out a strong signal on 657 kHz AM from Bray in Co. Wicklow. In this promo from 1987 which includes the voice of Minister for Communications Jim Mitchell, BLB extols the virtues of community radio in anticipation of the new licences. Although many of those involved in BLB were behind the licensed Horizon Radio in 1989, that station was to merge with another more commercially-focused broadcaster in Wicklow and community radio proper was not licensed until the mid 1990s. You can read more about Horizon Radio on the Wireless Flirt blog.

Panel: Liam de Siún, Roger Lloyd, Ian Biggar, Eddie Bohan and Dr Don Moore

Panel:  Liam de Siún, Roger Lloyd, Ian Biggar, Eddie Bohan and Dr Don Moore
QSL from Westside Radio International on its final day in 1988 (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era.

Here we present a great panel of anoraks chatting to Dónal Greene: Liam de Siún (BLB), Roger Lloyd (aka Prince Terry of Radio Dublin and Westside Radio International), Ian Biggar (DX Archive), Eddie Bohan (Irish Broadcasting Hall of Fame) and Dr Don Moore (Westside Radio International and ARD).