Jason Maine on Radio Nova

Jason Maine on Radio Nova
Cover of Nova advertising brochure from 1984 (courtesy DX Archive).

In the summer of 1984, things were looking up for Radio Nova following the end of RTÉ’s relentless jamming of the station for the early part of the year. A public backlash led to the jamming being called off but although the obstacles to reception of Nova had been removed, storm clouds were gathering due to a bitter industrial relations dispute with journalists laid off by Chris Cary.

This tape is of Jason Maine’s evening programme as heard in the English midlands around this time. It was recorded from the high-power transmitter on 738 kHz AM, which had recently become the only AM frequency following the end of the jamming. The weather forecast contains reference to the northwest of England as Nova was targetting that area at the time.

The recording features good skywave reception with fading and occasional co-channel interference from the Spanish station on the same frequency. It was made on Monday 28th May 1984 from 2141-2211 and is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Drivetime on Sunshine Radio

Drivetime on Sunshine Radio
Sunshine Radio badge (photo by Brian Greene).

This recording of Sunshine Radio from the autumn of 1983 features the final part of the drivetime show Sunshine in the Afternoon with Paul Kavanagh. It begins with a music sweep followed by a super-set from the Hollies. Solar Energy with David Dennehy is to follow after the news at 8pm. Despite Sunshine’s commercial success, it is interesting to note that there is no commercial break in the half-hour recording.

The tape was made on 24th August 1983 between 1917 and 1947 from either 100.5 or 101.5 FM (only the announced frequency of 101 FM is mentioned on the label). It is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Radio Skywave International was a 1980s shortwave station broadcasting from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Radio Nova evening service ‘Super Nova’

Radio Nova evening service 'Super Nova'
Close-up of Nova flyer from the period on 828 kHz (courtesy DX Archive).

Not long after returning to the air following the raid of May 1983, Radio Nova began splitting its evening service between the main output on 828 kHz AM and specialist programmes on 88.2 FM, under the ‘Super Nova’ banner. The Nova offshoot station KISS FM was a casualty of the raid and didn’t return until later in the year but Super Nova helped absorb additional advertising over the summer and early autumn. This recording from that time begins with Colm Hayes winding up his drivetime show and telling listeners that the service will split after the 1900 news: current affairs show Dublin Today on AM and Denis Murray’s Rock Show on FM. News is read by Sybil Fennell and commercial breaks include the high-level agency adverts associated with Nova. There’s also mention of the station’s £6,000 giveaway that would be won at the end of August. The beginning of the Rock Show is heard after the news.  

The recording was made on 24th August 1983 between 1845 and 1915 from 88.2 FM. It is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Radio Skywave International was a 1980s shortwave station broadcasting from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 (14 December 1983)

Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin Channel 2 (14 December 1983)
Radio Dublin Channel 2 studio (courtesy Gerard Roe).

The recording of Gerard Roe’s popular FRC programme on Radio Dublin Channel 2 was made at Christmas 1983, at the end of a dramatic year for Irish pirate radio due to a clampdown by the authorities. The programme includes a report about the recent raid on and closure of Community Radio 257 and the confiscation of equipment from Nova Television, Chris Cary’s shortlived experiment that rocked the media world. Ger says there was no need for Nova to enter the television market and reads a letter from Sunshine Radio boss Robbie Robinson who condemned the move as irresponsible. The show also contains archive recordings of Southside Radio from 1979 and KELO from 1981. There is an advert for Anoraks Ireland voiced by Kieran Murray.

The recording was made on 14th December 1983 from 98.7 FM between 2003-2100 and contains some edits. Radio Dublin Channel 2 also broadcast on 1152 kHz AM, announcing 260 metres. The tape is from the Skywaves Collection. Radio Skywave International was a 1980s shortwave station broadcasting from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Listeners complain on Radio Dublin following 1983 raids

Listeners complain on Radio Dublin following 1983 raids
A march on 27th May 1983 following the raids on pirate radio (courtesy Joe King).

Following the raids by the Department of Posts and Telegraphs on the large Dublin stations Radio Nova and Sunshine Radio, fear spread through the pirate radio world in Dublin and further afield. Many stations closed temporarily as a precaution and Radio Leinster left the airwaves for good. It was expected that the long-running Radio Dublin in Inchicore would be the next to be raided and the premises and equipment were secured as a precaution. During Thursday 19th May, the date of Radio Nova’s official closedown, Radio Dublin opened its phone lines and studios to listeners concerned that they were to lose their favourite pirate stations.

This recording of that afternoon captures both the growing sense of panic among the pirates and the deep loyalty of listeners to Radio Dublin. First up is DJ Damien McCloskey who chats to other DJs and listeners both in studio and by phone, all of whom express their anger at the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. A protest march to support local radio is announced for the following week and there are references to the demise of Radio Leinster and the forthcoming Nova closedown. There are plenty of technical glitches and the Department is accused of jamming the phone lines preventing listeners from getting through. At 4pm Seán Day (Murphy) takes over and continues in the same style.

Audio quality is fair with some cassette degradation and wobble. The recording was made on 19th May 1983 from 1188 kHz, announcing 253 metres, and there is ample use of the iconic Radio Dublin 253 jingle package and station theme ‘I Like It’ by the Da Band. Radio Dublin was not on FM that day, probably as a precaution against removal of transmission equipment.  Part 1 of the recording above begins at 1510 and Part 2 below at 1608 but there are minor edits in both.

Part 2 from 1608 with Seán Day

The recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Radio Skywave International was a 1980s shortwave station from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.