Overnight radio is almost always automated these days and while many pirates also put out tapes in the early hours or closed down for the night, a sizable number of stations ran live programming around the clock. One such station was the Cork super-pirate ERI (1982-1988). This is a recording of part of a live overnight show on ERI from 1985. Tony Ashford (Ciaran Brannelly) is on the long graveyard shift playing music through the night until 6am.
Emer Lucey (Lucy Potter Coogan) is heard every hour with ‘ERI News Review’, a pre-recorded bulletin of the main stories from the previous day. The recording was made from 96.7 FM and runs from 0145-0240 on Wednesday 23rd October 1985. ERI also broadcast on 1305 kHz (announcing 225 metres) and could be heard over a large area.
This recording of County Sound is from 101 FM on the 23rd or 24th of July 1988 and features Ciaran Wilson (Brannelly) on air. Charley Anderson of the Irish reggae group Century Steel Band, who are in town for Galway Race Week, is in studio and livens up proceedings. Century Steel Band’s version of the popular ballad ‘The Fields of Athenry’ is played and there’s a competition for listeners to win a 12-inch by the band.
Evidence of the success of County Sound is provided by the large number of adverts, many voiced by Jon Richards, now of Galway Bay FM, who was the overnight presenter. A temporary offshoot of County Sound, Tuam Festival Radio, is also mentioned. Thanks to Ciaran Brannelly for this donation.
Over the coming days we’ll bring you recordings of the popular Galway station County Sound which broadcast first from Tuam and then Galway City in 1987 and 1988. This recording is from 1607-1707 on the 3rd of April 1988, Easter Sunday, and features Ciaran Wilson (Brannelly) on air. Ciaran interviews Dave West of the Coventry band The Bonediggers who were busking in Galway at the time, as well as the band manager Gerard Joyce who is Irish. The programme contains an interesting discussion of the independent Irish and UK music scene and focuses on the challenges of being a band from the English midlands when so much of the scene is based in London. There are references to the importance of radio play for small bands of the 1980s attempting to break through. The Bonediggers also express their desire to meet the Galway singer Mary Coughlan, who was enjoying national success at the time.
County Sound broadcast on 101 FM to Galway and also had transmitters covering the county on 96.4 and Ballinasloe on 95.8. We thank Ciaran Brannelly for his donation of this recording.