A day on Radio Dublin from 1978

A day on Radio Dublin from 1978
Radio Dublin sticker (courtesy DX Archive).

This unique recording is of an entire day’s programming on Radio Dublin from Monday 20th February 1978, including some DJs who would go on to become household names on local and national radio. Starting just after 8am, DJ Sarge comments on the cold weather and heavy snow outside. He is followed at 9.30 by Gerry Campbell and at 1pm by James Dillon. DJ Sylvie takes over at 4pm and the Mike Eastwood request show begins at 6pm. Denis Murray is on from 8-10pm and the night’s programming is completed by John Clarke from 10pm until midnight.

Radio Dublin had been broadcasting continuously since January 1978 and built up a loyal listenership across Dublin. This recording contains plenty of ads, some pre-recorded and some read live by DJs, and various segments of the day are sponsored by different businesses. The station’s iconic ‘253’ jingles are heard regularly also, an early branding exercise by Irish pirate radio. A separate recording of part of the James Dillon show, undated but also from February 1978, is heard below.

James Dillon show from February 1978.

Two months later, James Dillon led a walk-out of most Radio Dublin staff following allegations that station owner Eamonn Cooke was involved in child abuse. Dillon formed a breakaway station, the Big D, which lasted until 1982. Radio Dublin closed down permanently in 2002 following Cooke’s conviction for sexually abusing children. He was jailed in 2003 and again in 2007 and died in 2016 while on temporary release. If you require support with this issue, you can contact the organisation One in Four.

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

Aircheck: closedown of KISS FM (102.7)

Aircheck: closedown of KISS FM (102.7)
KISS FM sticker courtesy of DX Archive.

KISS FM was one of the many sister stations to Radio Nova, broadcasting from September 1982 to January 1984. Chris Cary set up the station to absorb additional advertising revenue from Nova and experiment with local radio for Dublin. The station was closed down along with Nova on the 18th of May 1983 and did not return until the 30th of September. In January 1984 RTÉ jammed the signals of both Nova and KISS when it was granted permission by Minister Ted Nealon to test broadcast on 88.2 and 102.7 FM and 819 kHz AM. Cary closed KISS at midnight on the 15th of January 1984 as the jamming worsened and laid off staff, some of whom were members of the National Union of Journalists. This sparked a bitter and extended industrial relations dispute which eventually contributed to the demise of Nova in 1986.

KISS FM was known for its lavish competitions, offering listeners prizes ranging from £102.70 to £5,000 in cash for correctly identifying three songs played in a row. One such competition occurred on the 29th of March 1983 when the station gave away £5,000. The giveaway would be repeated by Nova on the 31st of August 1983, when a prize of £6,000 was offered, putting enormous pressure on the Dublin telephone system. There were even bigger problems with the network when Nova gave away another £5,000 over a year later, on the 29th of September 1984.

This recording was made mostly on the final day, 15th of January 1984, is airchecked and not in linear order. It begins with Denis Murray presenting his final rock show and chatting with fellow presenters Chris Barry and Stephanie McAllister. News at midnight is read by David Malone and the Radio Nova news jingle is heard as KISS passes into the history books and Nova is broadcast on 102.7. Mike Moran is then heard on the Nova overnight and then the tape stops and picks up with Chris Barry signing off and handing over to Denis Murray earlier in the evening. The recording continues with airchecks of Denis Murray apparently from the 14th of January on his second last show. We also hear idents for KISS FM Weekend, part of Al Dunne’s final show, Bernie Jameson on news and Geraldine Nugent reading community news. Community news is not something associated with the Nova network, but KISS FM was an experimental station.

Our archive also includes interviews with Tom Hardy and Denis Murray about their involvement in KISS FM and other stations. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Interview: Denis Murray (Big D/KISS FM (102.7)/Radio Nova/KISS FM Monaghan)

Interview: Denis Murray (Big D/KISS FM (102.7)/Radio Nova/KISS FM Monaghan)
A sticker for the KISS FM on 102.7 set up by Chris Cary, where Dennis Murray worked from 1982-84. Courtesy DX Archive.

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

John Walsh interviewed Denis Murray about his pirate radio past including the early days of Big D, Radio Nova, KISS FM (102.7) in Dublin and another KISS FM (103.7) in Monaghan.