Charity fundraising weekend on KISS FM

Charity fundraising weekend on KISS FM
KISS FM flyer (courtesy Ian Biggar).

Over the St. Patrick’s weekend 1986, Dublin station KISS FM (1985-1986) organised a charity fundraiser for the Irish Society for Autistic Children. Listeners were invited to pledge £1 or more and station DJs collected money on the streets of Dublin near the KISS FM studios in Foley Street in the north inner city. The highlight of the weekend was a disco dancing marathon at the nearby North Star Hotel.

This airchecked recording includes live links with station manager David Baker from the city centre, using what seems to be first generation of mobile telephony in Ireland. David refers to the imminent arrival of an outside broadcasting unit from Radio West in Mullingar but for the moment, listeners have to tolerate telephonic audio quality. There are links with the disco event in the nearby North Star Hotel, presumably using an FM or VHF link, and plenty of interactions with listeners. Other voices heard are Colm Mooney, Gareth Scully, Bryan Lambert, Clem Francis, Suzanne Duffy, Keith Shanley and Rachel Walsh (aka Fionnuala Sweeney, who went on to bigger pirates and eventually RTÉ and CNN). The recording also includes occasional snippets from Radio Nova, which would close down a few days later.

Charity fundraising weekend on KISS FM
Foley Street today – KISS FM was in a building left of the tree, long since demolished (photo John Walsh).

The tape was made on Sunday 16th March 1986, presumably from KISS FM’s main transmitter on 104.1 FM although no frequency is logged. It is from the Anoraks Ireland Collection.

Pop-up community radio: Radio Ringsend

Pop-up community radio: Radio Ringsend
Al O’Rourke with local kids on Radio Ringsend, c. 1986 (photo courtesy of Dave Reddy).

Radio Ringsend was another popular temporary community station set up by Dave Reddy’s Community Broadcasting Co-operative (CBC) in the 1980s. The model for all CBC stations was to come on air to coincide with a summer festival, get local people on air and report on events and competitions. The first time Radio Ringsend broadcast was during the Ringsend and District Community Festival in 1982 and the station continued each year until the summer of 1988.

Pop-up community radio: Radio Ringsend
L-R Victor Ryan, Mick Nugent and Al O’Rourke at Radio Ringsend (photo courtesy of Dave Reddy).

This recording is of Mick Nugent from 1630-1715 on 17th July 1984. Promos and ads feature the voices of David Baker and Bryan Lambert who were well-known names on the Dublin pirate scene and would go on to work on licensed radio. There are plenty of requests of the ‘madly in love’ type with some running to several pages and featuring lots of interesting nicknames. Clearly this was the station of choice for the local kids! Dave Reddy remembers one competition generating 68 calls in one minute on the station’s sole phone line which would often be borrowed from a neighbouring business.

Pop-up community radio: Radio Ringsend
Flyer about Radio Ringsend 1986 (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

In 1982, Radio Ringsend was located in the premises of what is now ABEC Glass. They then moved to Con O’Donoghue’s shop, now the local Spar and subsequently to Sally O’Brien’s pub which is now known as the Shipwright Guesthouse. The station’s final venue was the Irishtown Foodstore beside the Irishtown Pharmacy.  

Pop-up community radio: Radio Ringsend
The late Paul Doyle on Radio Ringsend in 1988 (photo courtesy of Dave Reddy). Paul died in 2020.

In 1984, Radio Ringsend broadcast on 257 metres (1161 kHz) and 103.4 FM. The original transmitter was stolen that year but a new one was built by John Thewlis and operated on either 1512 or 1530 kHz from summer 1985 onwards. Output was about 100 watts but the signal travelled well by day given the frequency. In later years when FM coverage improved, the AM rig was left in Sandymount and linked to the FM signals of the various CBC stations. Mick Nugent would operate another pop-up station, Glasnevin North Community Radio, in 1986.

Pop-up community radio: Radio Ringsend
The AM transmitter used by all CBC stations in later years (photo courtesy of Dave Reddy).

This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin. Thanks to Dave Reddy for additional information.